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eHam Forums => MARS => Topic started by: KF5ER on October 27, 2012, 06:16:51 AM



Title: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KF5ER on October 27, 2012, 06:16:51 AM
Mars was once a very good thing, helped out guys overseas with phone
patches, Mars Grams, etc. Actually had a mission with the military.
Those days are over with.  No actual need for Mars now with all the
modern communications.  It is slowly, a little at the time, being dropped
by all the services.  Day may come when its needed again, but I doubt it.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: NK7Z on October 27, 2012, 06:42:02 AM
Mars was once a very good thing, helped out guys overseas with phone
patches, Mars Grams, etc. Actually had a mission with the military.
Those days are over with.  No actual need for Mars now with all the
modern communications.  It is slowly, a little at the time, being dropped
by all the services.  Day may come when its needed again, but I doubt it.


I hope you are wrong... 


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KH6DC on December 01, 2012, 08:59:32 PM
I'm an Army MARS member and activity is dead here in Hawaii.  THe last tsunami warning last month, no MARS net was activiate.  I joined the local Civil Defense nets.  In the last 5-6 years, we've had several tsunami, earthquake and hurricane warnings with the same story - no MARS net so I joined the Civil Defense nets.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: AD4U on December 03, 2012, 05:45:52 AM
As someone who ran lots of phone patches for military, south pole, and other services in the 1960's and early 1970's, I definitely do not see the need or the demand for that any longer. 

Ditto for all the "traffic nets".  While I rarely listen to traffic nets, when I do, I never hear them passing any meaningful "traffic".  Most of them have just turned into social meetings on the air, which is perfectly OK.

Dick  AD4U



Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: K5DHL on December 06, 2012, 08:53:32 AM
I joined MARS in June, 2012 right after I got my General License, which was probably too soon (i.e. a mistake).  I had been active on 2m with analog and DStar, but had no HF radio or experience, no antennas, tuners, etc etc etc.   So it has taken me a little time to put all that together, except now my 6 month "/t" training status is up (I finished all my basic training reqs, except for air time).....  NTL, due to the delay in my HF expertise (& lack of gen HF exp & equip),  I withdrew my MARS membership, although I am still getting all the emails, etc.  I don't know if I have been officially removed or had my status changed to "leave of absence." - either is ok with me.  

The leadership here in Oklahoma was very nice and courteous,   but I did detect (I think) a little pressure on them to get an active group all wrapped and qualified....     During this process I noticed a new "m.o." being preaching from MARS leadership about being a comm support operation for not just the DOD branch, but to FEMA, local fire, police, etc,   which is probably a good thing, but it does overlap with many of the other ham emergency ops groups that are already plugged into the local emergency needs - maybe better plugged in....

In Oklahoma there are a lot of hams, but very few MARS volunteers, & I don't quite know why.    Seems MARS has a hard time recruiting people and maybe a hard time retaining them, & I have some thoughts, but nothing verifiable.

If I was retired I'd love to spend more time with my radios & with MARS.   However I am still employed, and still have many other commitements that get in the way of my hobby.....  so a lot of compromises take place, which does get in the way of doing MARS nets & such.....


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KA0P on December 06, 2012, 05:24:14 PM
Understand your frustration, they probably should have recommended not applying till you had your hf station set up. The 6 months goes by fast. Not sure what service Mars you joined, I am a long time AF MARS member, also not retired, and right now just making the minimum time to stay active. I am in the St. Louis area and in the late 70s /early 80s we had upwards of 25 local members. Now we have 2. Of course at that time we were allowed VHF only MARS activity, and had a bunch of repeaters around- every major city. MARS has changed several times during my tenure, but the main ingredient is that it needs active people. I have seen long time members not doing much, and I have seen new members, such as yourself who assume active roles- ncs, leadership positions, etc soon after completing their training. Of course I have noted the more time you have available, the better chance for that.
I would say, after you get your hf set up and running give it another shot. And make sure you have a fairly decent antenna. I have seen a lot of folks get discouraged because the ncs cant hear them, or they cant hear the nets.

I am not sure where you are at in OK. I get to the OKC area a couple times a year. I used to bring along a handheld and there was a repeater at Tinker, but there was only the guy who set it up who was on, but I have not heard it lately. Also used to check in to a CAP VHF net but  haven't heard it lately.  The last 2 trips this fall I just had my VX8 with me and about only did APRS.

I am a member of the W5PAA group even though I don't live there.
73, and good luck
Dave 


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W1MSG on January 03, 2013, 11:32:12 PM
Mars was once a very good thing, helped out guys overseas with phone
patches, Mars Grams, etc. Actually had a mission with the military.
Those days are over with.  No actual need for Mars now with all the
modern communications.  It is slowly, a little at the time, being dropped
by all the services.  Day may come when its needed again, but I doubt it.


I think you hit the nail right on the head, I used a MARS station once when I was stationed in Korea in 1979. While in Iraq 2006/2007 I used a locally purchased cell phone or did VOIP when I had internet. The MARS program will surely die a slow death as budgets get cut as they serve no real purpose any longer. I joined Army MARS while still on active Duty in 2011, but quit shortly after when I realized it had no actual purpose and the way they do things is quite antiquated .


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: K1ZJH on January 07, 2013, 11:23:51 AM
Technology changes. I remember when I used to belong to VHF traffic nets (Post Office Net) to handle radio grams. I think I still have some ARRL Radiograms stored in the cellar.  The sad thing is if the need ever arises, there will be no one there to pick up the pieces. What does it cost to keep the MARS program active? Backup plans are always good practice.

Pete


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W1MSG on January 08, 2013, 01:06:56 AM
Its not so much what it costs, but what it does. It does absolutely nothing for the Military, the days of phone patches and Marsgrams are long gone. The military has enough redundant systems and backups that using civilian run stations just wont ever happen. Especially since everything is now encrypted and secure.

Now the MARS folks seem to think they will get used when a local Governement requests them, kind of like ARES. I doubt the Military will be willing to spend money to mobilize civilian volunteers to support anything. Possibly a new organization under FEMA, or something along those lines, but trying to continue on with a MARS program is just futile in my opinion.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: K0CBA on January 16, 2013, 10:52:23 PM
In 1982 while on active duty on Guam I sent a note home to my wife just for giggles....it hasn't arrived yet.

Should I keep waiting?


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: WB9QEL on January 29, 2013, 05:03:23 PM
I sent a MARSGRAM to my sister from Germany when I was on my way to Desert Storm.  She never did get that.  Kinda important at the time.  Just sayin.  Epic fail!! 


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: NK7Z on January 30, 2013, 05:33:23 AM
In 1982 while on active duty on Guam I sent a note home to my wife just for giggles....it hasn't arrived yet.

Should I keep waiting?

Do you remember the message number?  :)


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: AC2EU on January 30, 2013, 03:19:12 PM
I'm new to relatively Ham radio, but don't you have to jump through serious hoops to get in MARS ? There was some AR service that you had to swear your life and allegiance to Homeland Security or some such nonsense. They had the forms there and everything... Once I heard that, I wanted nothing to do with it.

Also, I've noticed that the NTS seems to be waning as well. Here locally , they pass messages back and forth to friends and each other, but when it gets complicated, nobody wants to deal with it. I sent a message to a ham buddy in the Midwest on FD to help the club, but my buddy never got it.

Video killed the radio star and it seems the cell phone killed NTS  :o


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KB9ZB on February 01, 2013, 09:11:54 AM
MARS has changed will continue to change as the needs of those we serve  change. There are several programs in the works, on that was just announced is from Chief Navy MARS. SHARES has growing pains, it started out simple and grew. As it got bigger some aspects became complicated, there is a group that has found ways to get it back to the basics. Some Parts of the program are Agency driven, and those parts can’t be changed so easily. MARS has gone back to the basics ECOM, but since 9/11 the whole concept of ECOM has changed. Since no one really knows what the structure of a nationwide ECOM plan should be, we are in a state of constant change.
   Ask ARES where they stand in the scheme of things, they are running into the issues as MARS, just on a smaller scale with larger issues. I predict that this will even itself out and the services for volunteer radio communications will still be needed for years to come. What form this will take and how it will be integrated into the larger picture is anyone’s guess. I can see two issues that will plague any volunteer communications group, age. We need folks who are young enough to go to emergency sites and work. We will also need a group that can be at a safe site outside the area and some that can be at home.  The last we have the first we may not, that is our Achilles heel.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W8NSI on February 06, 2013, 08:52:58 PM
Mars was once a very good thing, helped out guys overseas with phone
patches, Mars Grams, etc. Actually had a mission with the military.
Those days are over with.  No actual need for Mars now with all the
modern communications.  It is slowly, a little at the time, being dropped
by all the services.  Day may come when its needed again, but I doubt it.


From the tone of your message, I would hazard a guess that you were once a member of one of the 3 MARS branches???

The MARS programs are leaner. We do not have the equipment programs anymore. NAVY MARS Does still have phone patch nets. Because of the easy access to email, health and welfare traffic has gone away.
But I have heard the same sour grapes you express about the hams in ECOMM because of the internet and cell phones and all sorts of things... WRONG! When all the modern methods fail the hams are there. And guess what, MARS members are also hams. DOD has recognized this. MARS is no longer Military Affiliated Radio Service but Military AUXILIARY Radio Service. There is a difference.

73 de w8nsi/nnn0uzw jim


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KK4LOZ on February 20, 2013, 04:54:16 PM
^^^^ Bump ^^^^

I know I'm late to the party here, but I'll offer my .02 anyway.

MARS is what first drew my interest to ham radio.  During my first WESTPAC cruise (1985) I got a Red Cross message that my grandmother in Pennsylvania had passed away.  I had to send a MARS message back home.  I didn't know what that was but I played along.  As I finished writing out the message, the radioman helping me asked if there was anything else I wanted to add.  I was just being a wise guy and I said, "Yeah, send cake rolls".  Two months later I get a large care package.  In it were 6 boxes of Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls.  .....Oh, the chocolate was all melted, but we enjoyed them just the same.  :)

It wasn't until after that cruise that I discovered my message had been passed word for word in very short order and that they'd read my words at my grandmother's eulogy.

...Fast forward some 7 years later and I'm in a naval dental clinic where someone has left a copy of QST in the waiting room.  On the cover is an article header that got my attention, "Voices from MARS".  I put that copy of QST in my back pocket and took it home, where the dream of a new and expensive hobby took root.  I recall that day fondly.   The wife,.....not so much.   >:(


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: WB4TJH on February 24, 2013, 05:10:30 PM
I belonged to Army MARS in the 70s and 80s, and even then it was yawn city. Today, it's as dead as the planet Mars.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W5BPP on March 26, 2013, 12:10:00 PM
OK, I got 2 Cents worth also.....
I joined Mars to expand my understanding and HF radio uses for EMCOM. I would recommend Mars for anyone wanting to expand their HF communications knowledge. Mars uses several digital modes, and you can become proficient in their use. Mars also allows uses of digital modes and speeds that are not yet allowed on the Ham bands. I some instances Mars uses HF with digital encryption to transfer messages. Especially for supported agencies. Mars uses HF frequencies outside of the Ham bands, allowing for more usable frequencies available in the event of a major disaster event when some Ham frequencies are very crowded and congested. While it is true the advent of the internet and cell phones have circumvented some of the need for HF communications, It is also true in a major event the loss of cell and internet connections can adversely effect their use. This is when Mars operations can and does assist our supported agencies, using HF, to relay email and messages to stations many miles away that are connected to the cell and internet services.  The Mars mission has been changed from it early years, but its far from death! If you are interested, contact a Mars member and ask some questions! I think you will be somewhat surprised at our current mission objectives.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: K7KEY on April 20, 2013, 07:37:04 PM
Now the MARS folks seem to think they will get used when a local Governement requests them, kind of like ARES. I doubt the Military will be willing to spend money to mobilize civilian volunteers to support anything. Possibly a new organization under FEMA, or something along those lines. . .

Sorry that this sounds cynical, but the way the DOD and other D's of the Federal Government operate these days, they might be required by Congress to spend more by just contracting it out to "friends of the family".


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W7KKK on May 03, 2013, 06:24:07 AM
I have to agree that MARS is not needed like it was before.
I too ran phone patches from Fort Huachuca, AZ as a casual operator while stationed at the fort at a radio op and radio operator instructor. My NCOIC had something to do with the station and had me sit in at times to give the regular ops some time off. That was in the late 1960s.
It was needed and desired then and I felt useful doing what we did.
Many years later, after getting my ham ticket back from my days as a Novice, I found that the MARS station was active and I was again living in the Fort Huachuca area. I found out that a local club member was involved with the station and I went out to visit the station and found it is true in that "you cannot go home again".
Wow had things changed! It was just not the same at all other than the same building.
With improvements in communications technology on all fronts MARS and ham radio for that matter is more or less a dying breed.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: AE7VA on May 11, 2013, 06:51:06 PM
Check out the Army MARS FaceBook page.  They are quite active and post pictures of their HQ station and operating activities.



Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: WD8DBY on May 16, 2013, 08:04:26 PM
Come check us out:

https://www.facebook.com/HQArmyMARS


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KO3D on May 18, 2013, 08:39:38 AM
When I first mentioned getting licensed to my father, he immediately related going to a MARS station in Vietnam and talking to my mother. Obviously those days are past. I think MARS would be a natural pool of operators and frequencies for serious EMCOMM use, a step above the current ARES / RACES 2M clubs and their orange vested wannabes. Perhaps it needs to be transferred to FEMA and given a more current mission?




Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N6AJR on May 21, 2013, 12:12:53 PM
I remember making mars calls home from viet nam and korea, back in the late 1960's, and later I even passed a few messages as an air force mars guy,but now that is not necessary when you can call anyone world wide for free or next to nothing.  I remember when calling in and getting on the Goldwater net, the long distance call from arizona to your home was free because senator Barry Goldwater let MARS use his ORTS lines for free call  from mars.  Hello Ma, over..


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: K5DHL on March 21, 2014, 11:57:38 AM
To augment a previous thread entered a few months ago (from K5DHL)...  I now have a pretty good HF setup, a couple real nice radios (one for voice, & one for digital),  a nice vertical antenna + others strung among the forest,  tuners,  linears, etc.   .....  & I am not so inclinded to re-up my MARS association.   As I see it, the MARS organization is a semi-militarized organization of mostly civilian volunteers.   My previous experience in Oklahoma seems like some in leadership ranks tend to see and treat the MARS participants as lower level enlisted folks, with mandatory direction given or "else" scenarios..... - a mechanism that doesn't work well for volunteers (i.e. ya can't treat adult volunteers like privates, something many former NCO's don't easily comprehend).   I guess it's no wonder there are very few volunteers in Oklahoma.   The mandatory time on the NETs was not so enjoyable (even when I could only receive, since I couldn't get a decend SWR during my 6 month training period) but it became just a  "putting in the time" gig, instead of a genuine enjoyable ham radio experience.... and the information exchanged was nothing more than a "social" event with lots of QRM.   In conclusion I hope the MARS mission is successful, whatever that is, or morphs into....    If I felt I could genuinely contribute to viable organization for the benefit of Americans I would re-up in a heartbeat.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N4NYY on March 22, 2014, 04:00:44 PM
Mars was once a very good thing, helped out guys overseas with phone
patches, Mars Grams, etc. Actually had a mission with the military.
Those days are over with.  No actual need for Mars now with all the
modern communications.  It is slowly, a little at the time, being dropped
by all the services.  Day may come when its needed again, but I doubt it.


I hope you are wrong... 

I do not think he is. In fact, I was interested in learning this and doing some mars about 2009, and was already hearing that it was on the way out and dying. You have things like Skype and Facetime, which soldiers can literally have teleconference in real time with a computer or smart phone.

In my area, I do not know anyone at all doing MARS. And that says a lot.

I wish it were not true, but it appears so.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KG4RUL on March 23, 2014, 05:22:04 AM
What the MARS "programs" desperately need are to to become a single, MARS program with a single, command structure.  Currently, each of the three programs maintains billets for any particular function when there should be billets under a single point of control thereby eliminating a lot of waste both monetary and personnel.  A common training program can be established, again eliminating monetary and personnel waste.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: K7BPA on April 10, 2014, 10:24:14 PM
Unfortunately the OP is right about MARS.  About the only way MARS would be relevant again would be if there was a major world wide disaster, pretty much known as "The Big One".  Where common communication systems would fail and demand overwhelms availability.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W8NSI on April 15, 2014, 01:26:12 PM
I sent a MARSGRAM to my sister from Germany when I was on my way to Desert Storm.  She never did get that.  Kinda important at the time.  Just sayin.  Epic fail!! 

You might check and you will find that there are no guarantees of delivery. All MARS members are volunteers. If you want a guarantee go use a paid message service.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KA5PIU on June 02, 2014, 05:32:06 AM
Hello.

What is wrong with MARS, the AN/PRC-148.
This is a large form factor Walkie Talkie that covers 30 MHz to 512 MHz.
It does satellite communications directly.
It does AM and FM.
The newer JTRS even does some digital waveforms.
Everyone has one.
That is what is wrong.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KB4QAA on June 02, 2014, 08:22:51 PM
Your post makes no sense.  You fail to state how a PRC-148 relates to the decline of MARS.

-Do you think this radio is causing the decline of MARS?

or
-Do you think that MARS would be improved by using these $21,000 VHF/UHF radios?


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KD2DNZ on June 03, 2014, 06:10:13 AM
Say what? What does the Prc-148 have to do with the slow lingering death of MARS?


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: NK7Z on June 03, 2014, 08:16:57 AM
Hello.

What is wrong with MARS, the AN/PRC-148.
This is a large form factor Walkie Talkie that covers 30 MHz to 512 MHz.
It does satellite communications directly.
It does AM and FM.
The newer JTRS even does some digital waveforms.
Everyone has one.
That is what is wrong.

Huh?


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W6EM on June 03, 2014, 05:39:30 PM
Hello.

What is wrong with MARS, the AN/PRC-148.
This is a large form factor Walkie Talkie that covers 30 MHz to 512 MHz.
Ho-hum
Quote
It does satellite communications directly.
And, that would be via the Navy's 250MHz vicinity satellite repeater that the Argentine's surreptitiously use on occasion, not commercial Iridium and such.
Quote
It does AM and FM.
OK, it can talk to civilian and military AM aircraft gear.
But, it might not do narrow band FM, since most military use wide band FM.  No public safety.  But, could talk to marine, amateur or GMRS radios.
Quote

The newer JTRS even does some digital waveforms.
Won't do Pactor III or IV.
Quote
Everyone has one.
That is what is wrong.
Haven't convinced me.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: AF5DN on June 05, 2014, 02:13:25 PM
I thought MARS was a candy bar!

Of course I user Apple Fritter 5 DoNut for my call phonetics... LOL



Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KD8MJR on June 17, 2014, 01:52:25 AM
I believe that when some of you talk about the military having communications covered and the lack of encryption with MARS making it useless etc. I think your not considering disasters on a scale that our planet has not seen in modern history but is none the less a certainty at some point in the future.  I'm talking about asteroids, super volcanoes like Yosemite and plagues.
If there's one thing that's certain it's that low tech will be the glue that might hold things together when everything else gets crippled or overwhelmed.
I can only hope that those people who make the big choices see the importance of thousands of multiple independent stations spread across the globe. If we get hit with the big one, encryption and speed will not even be a priority.

I was in Jamaica when hurricane Gilbert hit with near 200 mph winds for about 12 hours.  When it left it left the country had no form of communication to the outside world except ham radio operators. The island was leveled, all three international satellite dishes destroyed, no phone, power or water.  It was only hams relaying the situation to various countries that started us getting what we needed. Most of those guys used dipoles and car batteries to keep the towns connected.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N0SYA on July 21, 2014, 08:18:18 AM
I thought MARS was a candy bar!

Of course I user Apple Fritter 5 DoNut for my call phonetics... LOL



Just try to find one, I haven't seen any in stores in years.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KC9YTJ on July 21, 2014, 10:54:00 AM
I thought MARS was a candy bar!

Of course I user Apple Fritter 5 DoNut for my call phonetics... LOL



Just try to find one, I haven't seen any in stores in years.

http://www.amazon.com/Mars-Chocolate-Bars-6-Count/dp/B000FNC60Y

 :D


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: WA1OEZ on July 21, 2014, 11:37:59 AM
MARS is far from dead.   Army MARS is currently relaying and creating encrypted traffic on Local, Regional, National and International levels.  Using voice and MIL-STD (Military Standard) digital modes, supporting the National Guard, the U.S. Army and other DoD components.  Using voice and digital together on multi-mode nets we are working with reserve and active duty units across the country.

Bob Mims
New England Director
Army MARS


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KG4RUL on July 21, 2014, 11:55:45 AM
MARS is far from dead.   Army MARS is currently relaying and creating encrypted traffic on Local, Regional, National and International levels.  Using voice and MIL-STD (Military Standard) digital modes, supporting the National Guard, the U.S. Army and other DoD components.  Using voice and digital together on multi-mode nets we are working with reserve and active duty units across the country.

Bob Mims
New England Director
Army MARS

Again "Army MARS is".  WHY is this not being done for all branches of MARS?  IF the three branches were merged, the whole organization would be leaner, more efficient and INTEROPERABLE!


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N0SYA on July 22, 2014, 06:09:16 AM
I thought MARS was a candy bar!

Of course I user Apple Fritter 5 DoNut for my call phonetics... LOL



Just try to find one, I haven't seen any in stores in years.

http://www.amazon.com/Mars-Chocolate-Bars-6-Count/dp/B000FNC60Y

 :D

Lol that's cheating.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N9AOP on July 22, 2014, 01:22:11 PM
I am an AMARS member and have been for many years.  Should all 3 branches merge?  Certainly.  Will they?  Not in the immediate future.  It's like the celibacy  in the Catholic church.  Will it change--yes but probably not in my lifetime.
Art


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W0XX on August 11, 2014, 10:51:58 AM
I use to belong to MARS and back "then" it was a very good thing.  Now, there are just so many avenues (via technology) to pass information back and forth I just don't see a real demand.  Good to keep up skill levels but I think the ranks are thinning.  There use to be hamfests and a MARS meeting I would attend and you would be taking home scads of surplus stuff and that was nice, but that too stopped years ago.

I don't see much need for traffic nets or hurricane nets or whatever they are called.  The last thing one needs is to be fiddling wiht radio during something like that, perhaps the aftermath, sure, but there is so much technology out there to do the same, faster and simpler....


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: K0CBA on September 09, 2014, 07:51:10 AM
Again "Army MARS is".  WHY is this not being done for all branches of MARS?  IF the three branches were merged, the whole organization would be leaner, more efficient and INTEROPERABLE!
[/quote]

Same reason(s) as why don't all the open repeaters in a given area use the same CTCSS tone to help avoid the 'Chinese fire drill' that traveler's and visitors encounter now???......I'll tell ya' why; cause it makes too damned much sense!!!


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KG4RUL on September 09, 2014, 02:19:09 PM
Again "Army MARS is".  WHY is this not being done for all branches of MARS?  IF the three branches were merged, the whole organization would be leaner, more efficient and INTEROPERABLE!

Same reason(s) as why don't all the open repeaters in a given area use the same CTCSS tone to help avoid the 'Chinese fire drill' that traveler's and visitors encounter now???......I'll tell ya' why; cause it makes too damned much sense!!!
[/quote]

I can't agree about the repeaters but, consolidating the commands make sense.  Of course it  threatens to break some rice bowls.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W4UXJ on September 14, 2014, 09:59:04 AM
I have some news for you.  We have a MARS repeater on a local mountain with emergency power and with an autopatch via the local landline (wires) to AT&T.  If and when we get hit by terrorists again, and I think that it will happen eventually, bombs set off by remote portable cell phone use will necessitate the complete shutdown of the local cell phone system for an indefinite period of time.  All the cell phone users will be very much surprised when the government does that to keep bombs from going off.  It may be months or years from now but it is coming .....  Meanwhile MARS will be here if power fails and if the cell system is down but the landlines are functional, we will be communicating when others are not!


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N5INP on September 14, 2014, 05:03:06 PM
... bombs set off by remote portable cell phone use will necessitate the complete shutdown of the local cell phone system for an indefinite period of time.

Ridiculous!

There are way, way too many people and businesses and services who depend on cell phones for normal and emergency use, and do not have any other means of phone service, and it's only going to be more so as time goes on. There is no way, I repeat NO WAY, that the cell phone system will be shut down as you seem to believe in your conspiracy world of the imagination.  ::)


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W4KYR on September 15, 2014, 09:40:39 AM

Quote
the complete shutdown of the local cell phone system for an indefinite period of time.

Quote
There is no way, I repeat NO WAY, that the cell phone system will be shut down as you seem to believe in your conspiracy world of the imagination.


Cell Phone towers could be shut down for hours days, weeks due to a bad storm such as a tornado, hurricane or even an earthquake. An EMP burst of some type or a  "Carrington Effect" (solar flare) could wreak havoc or possibly shutdown 'conventional' communications for a long time as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859



Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N5INP on September 15, 2014, 09:59:43 AM
Cell Phone towers could be shut down for hours days, weeks due to a bad storm such as a tornado, hurricane or even an earthquake. An EMP burst of some type or a  "Carrington Effect" (solar flare) could wreak havoc or possibly shutdown 'conventional' communications for a long time as well.

So what? An asteroid can strike your house and destroy it. A plane can hit a building. Storms can cause outages yea. Sh*t happens all the time we have no control over. You think that's news to anyone?

You're mixing apples and oranges. He was talking about a deliberate shutdown of the cell phone system by the government because terrorists set off a bomb via a cell phone, then you switch gears and start rambling on about natural occurrences. The government ain't going to shut it down because too many people depend on it for communications, IRREGARDLESS OF WHAT SOME RANDOM NATURAL STORM MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT DO SOME DAY.

Besides, if the terrorists see that the government will shut down cell phone systems because they trigger a bomb via a cell phone guess what? They will then decide to do the same thing again, not because they can blow up something, but to specifically cause a shutdown of the cell phone network alone. Oh boy, yea we really want them to have that advantage huh?

Get a grip man. Stop being delusional and move on to more productive activities! :-\


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W4KYR on September 15, 2014, 12:16:29 PM
Cell Phone towers could be shut down for hours days, weeks due to a bad storm such as a tornado, hurricane or even an earthquake. An EMP burst of some type or a  "Carrington Effect" (solar flare) could wreak havoc or possibly shutdown 'conventional' communications for a long time as well.

So what? An asteroid can strike your house and destroy it. A plane can hit a building. Storms can cause outages yea. Sh*t happens all the time we have no control over. You think that's news to anyone?

You're mixing apples and oranges. He was talking about a deliberate shutdown of the cell phone system by the government because terrorists set off a bomb via a cell phone, then you switch gears and start rambling on about natural occurrences. The government ain't going to shut it down because too many people depend on it for communications, IRREGARDLESS OF WHAT SOME RANDOM NATURAL STORM MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT DO SOME DAY.

Besides, if the terrorists see that the government will shut down cell phone systems because they trigger a bomb via a cell phone guess what? They will then decide to do the same thing again, not because they can blow up something, but to specifically cause a shutdown of the cell phone network alone. Oh boy, yea we really want them to have that advantage huh?

Get a grip man. Stop being delusional and move on to more productive activities! :-\

?



Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W1MSG on September 16, 2014, 04:22:22 AM
I have some news for you.  We have a MARS repeater on a local mountain with emergency power and with an autopatch via the local landline (wires) to AT&T.  If and when we get hit by terrorists again, and I think that it will happen eventually, bombs set off by remote portable cell phone use will necessitate the complete shutdown of the local cell phone system for an indefinite period of time.  All the cell phone users will be very much surprised when the government does that to keep bombs from going off.  It may be months or years from now but it is coming .....  Meanwhile MARS will be here if power fails and if the cell system is down but the landlines are functional, we will be communicating when others are not!

First off turn the cell system off and they will use IR, Bluetooth, HAM Radio, or a number of other ways including command detonation. They change tactics like you change underwear. Been there, seen it and got blown up .. We had some of the best Jamming Equipment on all our trucks and it did not deter them one bit.

I would be more afraid of HAM Radio, cheap Chinese 2m rigs that could be used as a Trigger.  Wouldn't it be just grand to key up your MARS repeater and have a Dozen bombs go off in your local area.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: WI9MJ on September 16, 2014, 03:26:42 PM
The Cell system may not be turned off, but it can be prioritized to govt & public safety users in any sort of emergency. Which is why I have thought for years that amateur and MARS plan to take over health/welfare traffic. People still need to let their loved ones know they are all right.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KD8MJR on November 13, 2014, 01:28:23 PM

Lets hope that MARS is never needed, if it is needed that would mean a disaster of biblical proportions.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KC2QYM on December 04, 2014, 12:17:01 PM
Amazing how many EMCOMM puffers, and that includes MARSians think they are the keepers of sacred RF when the S--T hits the fan.  How many of you are going to mobilize for the greater good?  I bet you'll be hunkering down in your basements when the tables are turned, quietly counting your canned provisions, water, ammo, and maintain radio silence so your existence is not detected by rogue military operatives who will act independent of any central command and control. Your uniformed buddies will be the scavengers of your supplies in a worst case scenario and unless you're an idiot you've got to know this. MARS is a make believe marketing tool to convince HAMs that they're part of the extended military family of support.  The military has other plans for survival that don't include 'eyes wide shut' MARS players.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: WB2MVM on December 06, 2014, 07:39:34 PM
OK, a bit O/T & probably a dumb question, but I've gotta ask.

There's Air Force, Army & Navy/Marine Corps MARS.  But, is there a "Coast Guard MARS", or would Coast Guard fall under Navy/Marine Corps MARS' purview?


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: AK4SK on December 19, 2014, 06:50:18 AM
OK, a bit O/T & probably a dumb question, but I've gotta ask.

There's Air Force, Army & Navy/Marine Corps MARS.  But, is there a "Coast Guard MARS", or would Coast Guard fall under Navy/Marine Corps MARS' purview?

The Coast Guard does fall under Navy-Marine Corps MARS, or at least that is what's stated on the NMC MARS web page. I'm not sure if it's stated elsewhere, but you do not have to be a veteran of any service to be in any of the MARS organizations, likewise a Navy vet can be in Army MARS, etc.

The Coast Guard has this: http://www.w5cgc.org/, United States Coast Guard Amateur Radio Club. You have to be a current or former Coast Guardsmen to join. The Coast Guard Auxiliary is probably the closest thing that any of the services have for providing direct radio support to a branch of the military. I believe they stand watch at Coast Guard stations and man the radios at times.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: WB2MVM on December 19, 2014, 08:21:43 AM
Thank you AK4SK for your reply, I appreciate it! :D

I'm a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary & do radio comms for the USCG (see my profile @ QRZ.com) & what you said about the USCG Auxiliary regarding comms is spot-on (are you in USCG Auxiliary?)!

It's just that I recently heard about these different MARS groups & wondered if there was one for the Coast Guard.

Getting back on the original thread topic, I agree with some of the responders--assuming I read their responses correctly--in that it provided a great service to our military personnel "back in the days", but with tech advances in comms, it seems as if MARS will need to be repurposed/reorganized, in order to continue existing


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: AFA6MD on December 21, 2014, 09:00:38 PM
...
Getting back on the original thread topic, I agree with some of the responders--assuming I read their responses correctly--in that it provided a great service to our military personnel "back in the days", but with tech advances in comms, it seems as if MARS will need to be repurposed/reorganized, in order to continue existing

The tech advances in comms were what was hacked in the Sony Corporation... These so called advances have opened up so many vulnerabilities! ...and the U.S. and all it's Allies are under constant electronic attack at all levels: civilian, corporate and government.

Indeed, MARS has repurposed and reorganized as symbolized by it's change in status from an "Affiliate" to an "Auxilliary". Gone are the days of the Marsgram. We train in ACP126, ACP127, encryption...just like our professional military communicators. What you see in the freely available MARS training manuals is just a fraction of what we do.

Regret I know no details about the Coast Guard. But, for all those who want to do something else than 599: come join in on the fun - and challenge - that MARS is able to give you, while being of service to your community.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KC2QYM on December 24, 2014, 09:06:15 AM
If ever the proverbial biblical disaster strikes, the military has it's own directives and protocols to survive it.  They don't include tucking the MARSians under their wings as something they will use or need; except of course to confiscate your equipment and supplies.  Those MARSians that think that they're on the other side of survivability are delusional along with all the other EmComm geeks.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W9FIB on December 31, 2014, 03:53:39 PM
If ever the proverbial biblical disaster strikes, the military has it's own directives and protocols to survive it.  They don't include tucking the MARSians under their wings as something they will use or need; except of course to confiscate your equipment and supplies.  Those MARSians that think that they're on the other side of survivability are delusional along with all the other EmComm geeks.

Then don't participate, and don't read these threads. Then you won't hear from anyone that is interested and participates. Unless your an idiot, you have got to know this...as you put it earlier.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N9AOP on January 09, 2015, 02:21:15 PM
Why did the first person start this thread.  Last time I checked, we still have freedom of choice in the US of A.  If you think MARS is useless then find something else to do with your time.   On the other hand, these posts sure bring out the trolls.
Art


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W1MSG on January 10, 2015, 08:41:00 AM
Why did the first person start this thread.  Last time I checked, we still have freedom of choice in the US of A.  If you think MARS is useless then find something else to do with your time.   On the other hand, these posts sure bring out the trolls.
Art

For the very same reason you mention, is probably why the OP posted it. He probably isn't far off in his assessment as far as I am concerned. There needs to be opposing views for people to make informed decisions about whether they should join or not.

I was a member of Army MARS for a very short period. I was still on active duty at the time and was about a year out from my retirement. I did all of the Training including all the FEMA stuff which really had no bearing on current Military procedures or requirements. The radio procedures felt very antiquated to me, and if they ever happened to be on an official Military net no one would know what the heck they were saying. Not that it would ever happen as most military communications are encrypted using a hardware encryption algorithm. Phone patches and Mars Grams are all but forgotten with the only exception being an occasional phone patch for an Air Force Flight crew.
I couldn't participate in many of the nets as they were at times when I was at work or traveling to and from, it seemed to be geared more to the convenience of the retired group that seemed to make up the majority of members.

Today's MARS program is swaying more to the disaster relief and EMCOMM side of things and doesn't appear to be much different than the ARES programs already in place, with the exception being its a national/federal type entity, which really gives it no more or less credibility.

Technology has changed, MARS is still trying to cling to the past which there is no need. When I wanted to call home from Iraq during my last tour ( 2006/2007 )I just dialed on my Iraqi Cell Phone which worked fine for the most part. The times I was on a big base I could just do Skype via Satellite Internet. 

Creating a solution for a problem that doesn't exist is just that.

Anyway thats my take on it, if someone wants to get involved so be it, if they don't that's fine too, but to call someone a troll because they have opposing views of its usefulness just makes it look that much worse.

73

Craig, W1MSG
I Guess I'm a Troll too !


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: WB2MVM on January 10, 2015, 09:30:47 AM
Hi W1MSG!

"AMEN!" to you Craig!

While MARS' new purpose(s) is/are different from what it used to be, it's thanks to this new mission in EMCOMMS, that MARS continues to have a "raison d'être"--and from a practical viewpoint, that's a good thing!

Let's face it, despite the $$ that the DOD gets, they still have to do a certain amount of fiscal belt tightening. Therefore, if the armed forces can save $$ by having a certain amount/level of EMCOMMS outsourced to civilian voluteers, that'll do it for free......!

73 de WB2MVM

P.S.: Is your call sign Chinese food? I ask because it contains "MSG".  ;D :D


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W1MSG on January 10, 2015, 06:33:43 PM
Hi W1MSG!

"AMEN!" to you Craig!

While MARS' new purpose(s) is/are different from what it used to be, it's thanks to this new mission in EMCOMMS, that MARS continues to have a "raison d'être"--and from a practical viewpoint, that's a good thing!

Let's face it, despite the $$ that the DOD gets, they still have to do a certain amount of fiscal belt tightening. Therefore, if the armed forces can save $$ by having a certain amount/level of EMCOMMS outsourced to civilian voluteers, that'll do it for free......!

73 de WB2MVM

P.S.: Is your call sign Chinese food? I ask because it contains "MSG".  ;D :D

Only if MSG gives you a headache as it does some folks.. But actually it is the abbreviation for Master Sergeant, which will also give you a head ache if you are a lower enlisted or a Lieutenant. ;->

Yup re purposing into the EMCOMM realm is about the only avenue available for MARS to be useful. Of course that is only if there are places that need it...

73

Craig, W1MSG 
MSG, USAMP Retired 


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: AFA6MD on January 11, 2015, 10:24:41 PM
Craig,

With all due respect, I kindly ask you to reexamine your hypothesis that MARS, or any other AUXCOMM group for that matter, is ever superfluous. What I will write here is not in any way or form criticism of you or others. It is just the same as your posts - a statement.

It always strikes me as odd that some people just go by the premise that the status quo will always exist. The memory of huge events is so often short lived. Remember Hurricane Katrina? Suddenly the entire infrastructure was down.

The commenters here on this thread on eHam often seem to live in a news vacuum, unperturbed by what is going on in the US and worldwide. Trained communicators were needed in WW2 and during the Cold War and we are in the middle of an ongoing crisis, most just don't realize it yet, or just don't want to acknowledge it.

I can only interpret their reaction as:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Displacement_(psychology) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Displacement_(psychology))
or else I would have to assume that they are ignorant as to the world around them.

Did you by any chance hear about the following?

This attack took place 13 hours after the Boston bombing back in April 2013.  Could this have been a sleeper cell that attacked their target before they were suppose to?  Could it be his cell saw the lone wolf attack in Boston, incorrectly thinking this was the beginning of the attack to bring down satin, so they attacked their assigned target.  Is it possible there are MANY such cell waiting for the correct GO signal to hit their targets across the US?

Attackers severed six AT&T fiber optic telecommunication lines in an underground vault before starting attack, over 100 "finger print free" shell casings found, used flashlight to signal.
http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_25072628/attack-pg-e-substation-sparks-concerns-about-possible (http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_25072628/attack-pg-e-substation-sparks-concerns-about-possible)
http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-grid-attack-20140211,0,7627269.story (http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-grid-attack-20140211,0,7627269.story)
http://www.ibtimes.com/power-plant-attacks-spark-research-groups-urge-feds-take-control-power-grid-security-1620642 (http://www.ibtimes.com/power-plant-attacks-spark-research-groups-urge-feds-take-control-power-grid-security-1620642)

Or do I need to remind of the Carrington Event?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859)

The list goes on and on! By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail (Benjamin Franklin).


Thus, I challenge you:
http://www.ushistory.org/documents/ask-not.htm (http://www.ushistory.org/documents/ask-not.htm)

And for all those who want to continue with their nay-saying and bickering:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_we_stand,_divided_we_fall (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_we_stand,_divided_we_fall)


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W1MSG on January 12, 2015, 04:09:37 AM
Craig,

With all due respect, I kindly ask you to reexamine your hypothesis that MARS, or any other AUXCOMM group for that matter, is ever superfluous. What I will write here is not in any way or form criticism of you or others. It is just the same as your posts - a statement.

It always strikes me as odd that some people just go by the premise that the status quo will always exist. The memory of huge events is so often short lived. Remember Hurricane Katrina? Suddenly the entire infrastructure was down.

The commenters here on this thread on eHam often seem to live in a news vacuum, unperturbed by what is going on in the US and worldwide. Trained communicators were needed in WW2 and during the Cold War and we are in the middle of an ongoing crisis, most just don't realize it yet, or just don't want to acknowledge it.

I can only interpret their reaction as:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Displacement_(psychology) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Displacement_(psychology))
or else I would have to assume that they are ignorant as to the world around them.

Did you by any chance hear about the following?

This attack took place 13 hours after the Boston bombing back in April 2013.  Could this have been a sleeper cell that attacked their target before they were suppose to?  Could it be his cell saw the lone wolf attack in Boston, incorrectly thinking this was the beginning of the attack to bring down satin, so they attacked their assigned target.  Is it possible there are MANY such cell waiting for the correct GO signal to hit their targets across the US?

Attackers severed six AT&T fiber optic telecommunication lines in an underground vault before starting attack, over 100 "finger print free" shell casings found, used flashlight to signal.
http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_25072628/attack-pg-e-substation-sparks-concerns-about-possible (http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_25072628/attack-pg-e-substation-sparks-concerns-about-possible)
http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-grid-attack-20140211,0,7627269.story (http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-grid-attack-20140211,0,7627269.story)
http://www.ibtimes.com/power-plant-attacks-spark-research-groups-urge-feds-take-control-power-grid-security-1620642 (http://www.ibtimes.com/power-plant-attacks-spark-research-groups-urge-feds-take-control-power-grid-security-1620642)

Or do I need to remind of the Carrington Event?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859)

The list goes on and on! By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail (Benjamin Franklin).


Thus, I challenge you:
http://www.ushistory.org/documents/ask-not.htm (http://www.ushistory.org/documents/ask-not.htm)

And for all those who want to continue with their nay-saying and bickering:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_we_stand,_divided_we_fall (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_we_stand,_divided_we_fall)

I really don't have a need to re examine anything as I was a member at one time and found it worthless. Again my opinion.

I haven't forgotten Katrina, I spent many long days walking in knee deep contaminated water searching houses and providing additional Law Enforcement to the areas that needed it. I don't recall any MARS/EMCOMM ops tagging along so we could communicate. Our radios seemed to work just fine. They did do a pretty good job keeping track of how many people were in the shelters, but we usually already had that info. 

I also don't live in a news vacuum and I am well aware of many different incidences that have taken place, but I also don't see the boogie man behind everything that happens. I also have first hand knowledge that our Emergency Services are more than prepared for contingency operations in the event of a catastrophic event, more so than a guy with an HF radio and batteries.

No need to challenge me, I think 32+ years of service to this Nation including combat tours is more than most, but it was my decision to do and I did it Proudly.

I am glad you found your niche in Amateur Radio with MARS, and its still Amateur Radio, as with out the License you couldn't participate. I still don't understand your need to hide behind a MARS Call sign on an Amateur Radio site, but I guess you don't want the Boogie Man tracking you down ..
I seriously doubt opposing views will cause Amateur Radio to divide and fall, after all it is the original Social Media and without opposing views what would anyone talk about.

My 2 cents worth, if its even worth that. If you enjoy it and believe its worth something then by all means have at it. But don't attempt to silence those who have a different opinion of it.

Cheers,

Craig, W1MSG




Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N9AOP on January 12, 2015, 10:28:54 AM
Craig,
I disagree and I will tell you why.  Anytime someone asks me about an organization i.e. ARES, MARS, RACES, MASONS, I suggest that they join and find out for themselves.  In regard to MARS, you will find about half of the responders say that it is necessary and an excellent program and the other half will say that it serves no purpose these days.  Same with ARES etc.

So the person with the question about joining may as well flip a coin.

Art, N9AOP


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W1MSG on January 12, 2015, 10:47:49 AM
Craig,
I disagree and I will tell you why.  Anytime someone asks me about an organization i.e. ARES, MARS, RACES, MASONS, I suggest that they join and find out for themselves.  In regard to MARS, you will find about half of the responders say that it is necessary and an excellent program and the other half will say that it serves no purpose these days.  Same with ARES etc.

So the person with the question about joining may as well flip a coin.

Art, N9AOP

You are dead on target Art. Flip a coin, join and find out for yourself.. Those that are members find it necessary, and those that aren't don't. I have been on both sides of the coin, and have my own informed opinions.

As I have stated, the Air Force MARS may serve a miniscule service providing phone patch to air crews but that's about as far as any Military usefulness goes in todays Military.

Again my opinions from my Military Service, and you know what they say about opinions......

73

Craig, W1MSG


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: AFA6MD on January 13, 2015, 12:21:32 AM
http://www.armystudyguide.com/content/news/Top_Military_News/army-mars-program-still-g.shtml (http://www.armystudyguide.com/content/news/Top_Military_News/army-mars-program-still-g.shtml)

 ;)


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KC2QYM on January 16, 2015, 08:33:46 AM
I listen to MARS nets above 75 meters on occasion.  Net control and operators back and forth.  Well it's boring to me but then I don't care for nets of any type.  That said, if there's something important these guys are doing if not to just keep in practice then all it seems just an extension of the amateur radio hobby. Perhaps it's the nostagia of a bygone era in amateur radio kept alive by obsolete operating techniques by guys using DoD supplied equipment.  Who knows.  Anyway I don't see the value in it except the public relations value where the DoD can claim that there is inclusion of the civilian sector for emergency communications support .  I think most of us realize that if things fall apart so will MARS.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: AFA6MD on January 16, 2015, 11:16:41 PM
Woa KC2QYM,

Where do you get your weak spirit from? Cultivate your mind! What do you stand for? What are your values? With that, you'll stop projecting your pessimism onto others.

The Elmers I've gained by joining MARS are for themselves already worth every routine task that comes about with any volunteer organization. And - routine is good if you want to be proficient.

73


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KC2QYM on January 19, 2015, 08:23:57 AM
In my opinion MARS is simply an extension of the amateur radio hobby.  That doesn't mean that hams should not participate in it.  I for one do not see it as a real value when things hit the skids.  We like to believe that we are preparing for some disaster by keeping at the ready when in reality, confusion reigns in the aftermath.  That's true historically.  The reconstitution of communications and the functionality of civil society in the aftermath of some unthinkable disaster will not happen as predicted.  Rather, small groups with local autonomy and control will form the way back.  Military and police authorities will be seen rather as the enemy than a power for good.  That's my opinion about it.  Others reading my opinion can weigh it against their own beliefs on the subject.  Not everyone is a blind follower af the majority opinion.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KH6WM on January 28, 2015, 06:17:35 PM

To all MARS folks, especially Navy:

The Chief, Navy Marine Corps (NMC) MARS was pulled from his job around 15 September of last year and not replaced. Since then there has been no word from higher headquarters as to what is going on. Of course, nothing of substance has come from the Chief's office since then, essentially leaving NMC MARS leaderless.

Rumor has it that Navy higher-ups are working to abolish NMC MARS or transfer its functions to DHS, FEMA or who knows ?

Has anyone gone to their Congress reps or tried dealing with the Department of Navy ?

Warren  NNN0BVB/KH6WM





Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KC2QYM on February 13, 2015, 07:46:33 AM
AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta from AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie. Who's in charge out there Sir?
AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie from AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta. Don't know lost contact with HQ...out
AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta from AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie. Well who's gonna issue orders of the day?
AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie from AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta. Don't know..wait one, need to get the soup off the stove
AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta from AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie.  BTW, any emergency traffic to pass?
AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie from AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta. Are you kiddin, we never have any emergency traffic, out.
AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta from AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie. Hey you're right so what the heck are we doing here?
AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie from AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta. Uhh stroking our egos and feeling all official and all that.
AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta from AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie. Yeah MARS used to be fun during the cold war...
AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie from AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta. Yeah..before satelitte phones, the internet.
AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta from AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie. The DoD used to give away radios and stuff.
AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie from AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta. Yeah, that's exactly why I joined..now they're a bunch of cheapskates


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KF5ER on February 15, 2015, 07:11:52 AM
Why did the first person start this thread.  Last time I checked, we still have freedom of choice in the US of A.  If you think MARS is useless then find something else to do with your time.   On the other hand, these posts sure bring out the trolls.
Art

I fail to see how the first post had anything to do with freedom of choice.  Just my opinion of the eventual fate
of what was once a very good program.  Time moves along, new replaces old.  As for trolls...you replied.. :-\


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: WB2MVM on February 15, 2015, 09:14:05 AM
Maybe we should rename this post, "The Slow Lingering Death of 'The Slow Lingering Death of MARS' Thread"! :P ;D


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W1MSG on February 15, 2015, 12:28:36 PM
http://www.armystudyguide.com/content/news/Top_Military_News/army-mars-program-still-g.shtml (http://www.armystudyguide.com/content/news/Top_Military_News/army-mars-program-still-g.shtml)

 ;)

Thanks for the 9 year old article link, I believe I was in Iraq at that time. I actually think I read it when it came out at my Remote Outpost via Satellite Internet.

73
 


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N6JSX on February 16, 2015, 08:32:29 AM
MARS needs to be totally re-scoped/re-purposed as the Vietnam era days are gone (prior to cell phones). Few of us today even have a home land-line. And with CW no longer deemed a valuable ability (that I still say is a gross FCC error) available communications modes are being redefined by the skills of your members.

MARS appears to be very slowly re-purposing to find a home within USA Govt Comm, now it looks like they are a very ancillary support to FEMA/HLS, but lastly our Military (except those units that are called for CONUS disaster support). MARS needs to be affiliated as a RACES organization to get FCC RACES protection for its members.

MARS needs to look at the big picture of how they can best support Govt comms when a national/regional disasters occur within the USA and how best they can fit in as well as how HIPA restrictions will affect comm traffic. They need to think out of the box, the what-if's, i.e. major Equake +9.5R, +F5 Hurricane, another major Mississippi flood, Solar EMP (or other) taking out regional electricity, Nuke reactor melt down --- what will be needed over a large geographical area of devastation that could be as short as a week to years. When one of these hits cell/phone/internet and electricity will be toast. The ONLY MARS stations will only be individual HAM stations on their own power! 

MARS needs to focus more on individual abilities to create a fully operational station not their rigid schedules/NETS that only weed out the working HAMs. Remember, the working HAMs earn the means to keep a station on the air. Oh and while MARS is at it - give credit to prior Service Technical training (USN Fire Control [RADAR/Guns/Missiles]) and Veteran HAMs that have gotten their BS & MS in a engineering program like EE/EET.

Otherwise MARS is just an organization of old-farts trying to fit into a bigger picture and being left behind.           


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: WB2MVM on February 16, 2015, 08:37:49 AM
AMEN & RIGHT ON N6JSX!!


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: K4PIH on February 16, 2015, 05:22:27 PM
This is right on target N6JSX I could not have said it better. I recently had a nostalgic relapse and signed up for MARS and even bought a new radio (needed on anyway). I remember back in the day when MARS served a purpose and was fun. Now, it's a playground for old mil types that want to relive their glory days on the radio. I actually participated in some training sessions only to find out that it was cut up into little fiefdoms and you had to do penance to get in. I was told I did not know how to operate a radio correctly, couldn’t format a message properly. The final straw was an email that I got saying that they were going to start practicing encryption with trans-lateral substitution where A was Z. A bunch of self –appointed self-important lids. I do SHARES for the federal government and wondered we didn’t interface more with MARS. Got it! Hey at least I got a new radio.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KC2QYM on February 17, 2015, 08:05:32 AM
When we hear about EnComm we always think of natural disasters such as weather, or fires, power/grid outages. train/plane crashes etc.  What we don't appear to talk about is issurrection, terrorism, and other interruptions to our civil society.  These threats are very real and perhaps Americans may unfortunately come to understand this again in a post 911 world.  So the question is, where the heck does MARS fit into these scenarios?  Think about the people who are engaged in MARS, how the DoD incorporates or fails to incorporate those resources and the folly of thinking that MARS can muster a coordinated network within the reality of chaos.  It's time to hang up your spurs Martians; you're in the same hole as the rest of us when the S--T hits the fan.  All your nets and traffic handling won't really help.  If marshall law is proclaimed, what role do you truly expect to play.  Would the regular military engage you in their security planning and enforcement activities.  I doubt it, you might even become a source of supplies for wandering military teams cut off from their own HQs in the confusion aftermath.  Who is going to depend on a self important bunch of hobbyists for their communication needs?  Those of you who were inspired by the movie 'Independence Day' when CW saves the day as a means of international communication between human forces to defeat the aliens are really living in Science Fiction.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N9AOP on February 17, 2015, 12:51:46 PM
A shares net can also be sort of like having a heart attack.  Been there, done that.
Art


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KC2WI on February 17, 2015, 07:06:04 PM
I've been a member of USAF MARS for about 10 years.

Yes the regular nets are fairly boring and little actual traffic is passed.  All the regular nets are just training nets. There is no requirement to check in to every net. The participation requirement for USAF MARS is 12 hours per quarter which is one hour a week.

There are periodic communications exercises which can get interesting. The push now is on developing more digital communications proficiency including interoperability with other government and military stations using the standard military modes. This is somewhat of a technical challenge to implement with ham equipment and computer/ sound card based modems.

The old MARS mission of providing welfare and morale messaging for the troops is gone. There is no need because of the general availability of Internet and cell phones for routine communications such as this.

There is still an active USAF MARS phone patch net that is used on a regular basis by the military, including some "morale" phone calls.

The MARS mission is now backup and supplemental communications support to military and other government agencies in times of emergency.

While the Internet, cell phones and satcom is generally available, there is still a lot of value in having an established trained group to provide backup and contingency communications using HF which does not rely on any infrastructure and also has members with stations scattered all across the US. The government spends very little on MARS so they are really getting a big bang for the buck.

While there are still 3 branches of MARS, there has been significant effort to standardize all operational procedures.  Generally speaking, most MARS nets are open to members of any branch. We regularly have Army and Navy-Marine members check in to our northeast region Air Force mars nets.

As a military communications auxiliary we follow the standard Allied Communications Procedures pretty closely. Whether or not some of these procedures are "antiquated" is something for the maintainers of these procedures to deal with.

MARS, like ARES/RACES, may not be super important in the grand scheme of emergency response. However it can't hurt to have a backup to other commercial and government systems and to have citizens who are engaged in emergency preparedness activities.

There are other people with other hobbies and somewhat specialized skill and knowledge and equipment who contribute to emergency response and public safety as volunteers. For example underwater rescue teams, search and rescue dog teams, etc. Why not amateur radio operators?

I would submit that MARS, or ARES, or RACES is at least as legitimate a focus for amateur radio 'hobbyists' as contesting, dxing, or anything else.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KC8VWM on February 20, 2015, 09:49:17 PM
Mission?...What mission? ...There is no mission.

The only mission is to exchange MARS callsigns with other MARS stations.



Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KH6DC on February 28, 2015, 04:14:50 PM
Mission?...What mission? ...There is no mission.

The only mission is to exchange MARS callsigns with other MARS stations.


The last bunch of natural disasters - hurricanes, tsunamis here in Hawaii no MARS nets were activated.  I participated in the RACES and SKYWARN nets but nothing heard from MARS so I'm wondering what is their mission, justifying someone's employment at Army NETCOM?  Also there's is no credibility when the Army MARS director is a contractor and not military or a government employee.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KC2QYM on March 02, 2015, 10:42:10 AM
AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta from AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie. Do you have the mission documents sir?  over
AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie from AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta. What mission documents do you mean?  over.
AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta from AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie. Well...the 'MISSION'!!, the reason we meet here every Monday night on this Net
AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie from AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta. Hell, I don't know about any freaken mission, we get on the net just to make sure our radios are working. Out
AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta from AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie.  OK, how about any traffic to pass?  over
AlphaAlphaAlphaninerEchoCharlie from AlphaAlphaAlpha4BravoBakerDelta. Where have you been boy? the last piece of traffic I passed was back in 1976, out.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KC0MXX on March 11, 2015, 06:09:39 PM
Lingering?  No.  Individually MARS is slowing just as is HAM and just as quickly.  Sure we have a mission, be ready.  I used MARS when I was stationed overseas back in the 80's, my mother loved it because the cost of the call was nowhere near what a regular call cost.  And as with anything worthwhile it must change with the times.  Stagnation is killing MARS faster than silent key's. 

But MARS is still there, in fact I just started up a 24x7 scanning station for the government agency I work for now.  We practice monthly, have quarterly exercises with military operators, and are always looking for bigger and better ways to get our traffic accross.  And as soon as I can get a new radio (always useful) I will be setting up a station for myself at home.  I cant buy all the stuff that I buy for my government station, but it certainly gives me ideas on what I want to buy in the future for myself.  AND I get to play with all kinds of cool stuff as a bonus. 

Ron


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KC2QYM on March 13, 2015, 07:53:08 AM
I would say that if the DoD really wanted to maintain a civilian MARS organization they would encourage participation through a radio provision program for MARS participants.  You don't get to keep the equipment but you can use it.  You sign an agreement in the form of a contract.  Those not interested are relegated to using their own gear.  This program will save MARS partcipants a bundle on providing dedicated radios during their participation.  Nothing like using real MilSpec equipment for the future 'MISSION'; whatever that is.  But no, those radios are going overseas to all sorts of foreign military aid programs leaving the 'important' ham radio MARS members begging.  Just what commitment does the DoD have to MARS again?


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N2OBM on March 14, 2015, 01:15:14 AM
Warren...I finely found the thread you were talking about....man what a bunch of chatter.

Let me see...MSG, is that USAMP as in Military Police?
This is MSG Bronson, Spectrum Manager, US Army Signal Corps.

I really hate to pit MOS against MOS, but with fresh retirement orders in hand...what the hell.

What did you think MARS was about? What were YOUR expectations? When I went to PLDC they taught us how to research topics in FMs, TMs and ARs. When I found out about MARS early in my Signal career....SCORE!

1. Last minute tasking, no assigned frequencies...one call to State MARS Director and G2G. Just radio silence during the regular scheduled training net. I promise. With crypto in our radios....several comments about 'static'....ooops. Good training for the MARS ops! Work through it...'send all after....over' (for the poster that is an alpha sierra sierra you can kilo mike alpha, let me pull down my Viet greens...er BDUs...er DCUs...er ACUs) Did you ever serve, Sir? And I use that term loosely.   

MARS, I will not limit to Army as I have leveraged all three services in my career, is the Swiss Army knife of COMMS for COMMANDERS to press into service if they know how. That is if they are advised by someone who can think.

MARSGRAMS, EMCOMM, Weather Spotting....is any of that in the front of AR 25-6? Mission Statement? Purpose?

Old FM 22-100 'Principles'? Deploy your Unit with it's means. Use of available systems. Seek self improvement.

Let me digress and not pick MSG, although I feel he did not smell the coffee. My opinion as he has his.

Have any of you researched the Purpose and Mission Statement of MARS? It has changed a little. MARGRAMS were a 'training' tool, not the base purpose of MARS.

For the longest time I used to recite that MARS was a service (communications) to provide adjunct communications for the Commander. That is, the back up, to the back up, way down on the PACE plan...but there for the Commander to leverage and have C2.

For those advanced 'Radio Experts' out there, try downloading the NITA Redbook.
Control F> MARS, SHARES and scroll through the Footnotes.
Half of the Folks that discuss 'authoritatively' about radio topics don't even know this Publication exists. Seek self improvement...if not, and you want to run your mouth....make sure your feet are clean.

Here is how I leverage Army MARS.....TODAY.

2. Two Combatant Commands under the Stafford Act are REQUIRED to have Defense Coordination Officers that will 'process' requests from State or US Possession(s) governments before asking the Commander (NORTHCOM and PACOM) to utilize Title 10 assets (active duty; pick a service and I apologize the CG doesn't count as they are now DHS). DCO/DCEs work close with FEMA. My Unit has the DCO as an assigned 'Directorate'. Guess what is their PACE plan? MARS radios, PACTOR modems, NET Plans and two Signal Soldiers that have been trained. Guess what Spectrum Manager has frequency requests poised addressed to the NTIA and FCC if assignments are not available in the affected area? (Do not confuse this with HA/DR which is when we assist other countries; USAID)

Did you know that the Army has more watercraft than the Navy?

3. Guess who has the MARS NETPLAN information putzing around the Pacific?
Yes, I admit...waaaayyyy down in the PACE Plan....but use of available systems.

4. In the past...(ok, dating myself)...PRC-127s using the AF MARS repeater at McChord AFB to relay convoy stats to the Battalion HQs on Ft. Lewis when we went to Yakima Firing Center via I-90.

We tried to use the pay phone at the gas station, but other customers got bent that we were always on it.

'Prepper' gibberish and 45 antennas on the 'Whacker Mobile' not required. I am not trying to impress anyone. There is just so much misinformation and misconception about MARS.

If any of you want to pick up on any topic other than being a hateful Troll, please>

n2obm@hotmail.com




Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W1MSG on March 15, 2015, 06:27:13 AM
N2OBM .. No problems picking on me LOL and yes its USAMP's  Military Police..

I really wasn't sure what to expect from MARS, I completed all the training and all I needed to do was play NET Control a couple of times to be blessed, however the times of the NETS was not remotely possible due to work.

It seems MARS is shifting more to the EMCOMM side instead of the old Health and Welfare they use to provide back in the day. I called home several times via the MARS station at Camp Humphries Korea in 1980. In 2007 I was able to call home on prepaid minutes on my Iraqi Cell Phone, and it actually worked pretty well.

I have said before in other posts, Give it a try and see if its something you like. I tried it and didn't care for it, I also dont care for any of the EMCOMM stuff. Probably because of my LEO background and my expose to some of the Whackers I see at most of the local HAM Fests  ;D

There are even people who have posted in this Thread that are not what they say they are, just google some names and see what comes up, one is even Famous on some of the Stolen Valor sites..

Anyway, like I said no problem picking on me, MOS vs MOS is always fun as is Service vs Service or Leg vs Airborne !

73
Craig
W1MSG


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KC2QYM on March 16, 2015, 09:58:11 AM
Appears that commander Cody, skymarshall of the universe swooped down from the eagle's nest to boot us in the butt.  A little upgrade in creative writing skills would help.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N2OBM on March 16, 2015, 06:50:58 PM
Appears that commander Cody, skymarshall of the universe swooped down from the eagle's nest to boot us in the butt.  A little upgrade in creative writing skills would help.

What is up Peter? Seems your pretty bored in NJ. 'Sky Warn' net not keeping you busy?
How are things in your world? No lids, kids or Space Cadets? Does that apply at the Senior Center? You are trying to beat we Martians pretty good. Or are your just trolling?
OBM


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: NK7Z on May 13, 2015, 12:09:09 AM
RIP Navy MARS


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KH6DC on May 25, 2015, 01:02:49 PM
I just resigned from the Army MARS program.  El Nino is here in the Pacific Ocean so it looks like an active hurricane season though we had 3 to contend with last year.  I'll be on the SKYWARN and Civil Defense nets like last year.

73, KH6DC


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KG7GDC on June 10, 2015, 10:27:49 AM
The fate of MARS or ARES or any volunteer Amateur/Auxiliary civilian radio service lies in the hands of participants. Participants, unfortunately, have opinions and perceptions which govern what and how they express their action. And, it is action that upholds or denies, creation, continuation, support and value of volunteers.
 People/Participants are the backbone and when discontent is expressed; well, I ask you, What happens to continuity?
Volunteer radio service, whether for emergencies or just communication, will continue to survive as long as there are volunteers willing to service. To generalize the extinction of a particular service is to, not only acknowledge the good service volunteers provide, but also your unwillingness to participate, innovate and graduate to the next level of volunteer public radio service.
Yes, it is true that entities such as MARS may go away but only to be replaced by the next generation. My advice is this. Do not condemn MARS, but instead participate in a manner that values the volunteers, their service and the growth of their mission, so if they are needed they will be here and ready. No matter what form they take.
Although I am new to the radio, I do know what it is like to be unsupported as a volunteer. I believe we all need a reminder now and then that it is volunteers that protect this country and our way of life and disrespect is a sure fire way to destroy a valued resource.

KG7GDC/AG


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W6EM on June 10, 2015, 08:08:09 PM
First, volunteerism is motivated by purpose.  Demonstrated purpose, not hypothetical, “this is our mission” stuff plastered in a few bureaucratic paragraphs.  The rubber meets the road when real, tangible, understandable, worthwhile results occur.  When organizations like today’s MARS have inflated missions that have no obvious, visible results, then it is all dreamland.

Oh, claims of accomplishments made by contractors to continue to justify their paid positions have the look and feel of the advertisements that they are.  For example, simply making a series of contacts to a station in the Middle East is no big deal.  Not too long ago there was a boastful release in ARRL media about MARS having made such a contact or message transmission.

While I realize you’re new, during the Vietnam War there were thousands upon thousands of messages and phone patches to and from service personnel over there through many MARS members stateside.  Without doubt, the greatest individual testament to that effort was from the late Senator Barry Goldwater, K7UGA (AFA7UGA?) Routine MARS activity for Barry, both from Washington and Arizona.  Did that motivate MARS members and non-MARS members to want to serve those who serve and their families?  You bet.  It motivated the Hell out of me.  I was a teenager and I wanted to join and help out.  I did as long as I could.

The disrespect you’re concerned with begins with the MARS organization itself.  If it respected its members, it would allow them to communicate freely on nets once official net messages and roll has been called.  Today, as I am told, it’s more like “shut up” until another roll call.  No personal communications, exchanges, etc., permitted.  What a way to make the time spent seem boring and a waste of time.  Training while on the air?  How can that happen if everybody must just sit there, shut up and say nothing?

Volunteers are “paid” with praise and recognition.  How can you thank someone for checking into a net if nothing can be said but “roger, out?”

I would venture to say that there are thousands who would love to help those in the military.  If health and welfare traffic isn’t needed anymore, then how about able ham volunteers teaching basic communications to regular, reserve or national guard troops?  It would save contractor expenditures.  Oops, the contractors won’t pass that traffic.  It’s career-threatening.

If you treat people like excrement, then when you really need them, they won’t be there.  They’ll resign to find something else to do to help make a difference, like ARES or RACES or CAP or the Coast Guard Auxiliary.  Like the fellow said in the post before you.  If you want to judge how good a volunteer program is, look at its attrition rate.  The best method I can think of in how to measure how well it is being managed.  And please, no lame excuses about membership database errors.

Let me finish with a short course in “good citizenry,” by saying what it isn’t.  It isn’t failing to criticize out of “respect.”  If we don’t critically examine and speak up about what our government institutions and employees do, then we have failed as citizens.  It is our responsibility as Americans to do just that.  And, if you think it’s disrespectful to do that, then, perhaps, you need to relocate to a totalitarian country, full of folks who say nothing out of “respect.”   


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KAPT4560 on June 17, 2015, 03:05:55 PM
 The internal Harris/RF Communications e-times newsletter this week had an article of the recent MARS QRPx contest. We are very proud of the professionals and their gear (our PRC-138 and AN/PRC-150 Falcon II MPs).
 I tried to find our article on Google, but found the announcement on the MARS Facebook page instead.
 Well done guys!
 https://www.facebook.com/notes/army-military-auxiliary-radio-system-mars/qrpx-winners/835518463195261


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KC4MOP on June 23, 2015, 08:06:55 AM
I quit MARS after only being part of it for 2 mos. I respect what they are trying to do, when major comm systems are interrupted by Mother Nature or Mankind. The Government would likely try to have some sort of continuity in case there is a major hiccup. The likelihood of a Ham station being on the air with solar power would help. No QRO power.
The problem I had, was the endless documentation and rules and paperwork and achievements that had to be maintained to be a part of MARS. And the "bulletins" would read like it was coming out of an old teletype machine...." NNNNN" etc etc. The long header, etc, etc. They were utilizing some sort of digital transmissions to pass messages, which is a good thing when voice comm might be severely degraded.
It wasn't like the mid/late '90's when I was a part of MARS.
And YES!! MARS was the only way to go to get messages to and from the troops in Viet Nam and elsewhere. Today the internet is everywhere and everyone has a SMART phone.

Fred


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: WX4O on July 07, 2015, 08:33:34 PM
I was a Navy then Army MARS member for about 20 years. It has deteriorated enough to be more or less a waste now.
Little real traffic. Pretty much the same as NTS nets. Check ins. Net reports. Not much else. The hobby is slowly 'graying away'.
I hope ham radio doesn't quit being fun, or get shut down.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KF5ER on May 30, 2016, 04:12:36 PM
 ::)


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N9AOP on May 31, 2016, 09:47:29 AM
This thread was started 4 years ago and --oh my goodness- MARS is still alive and well.  It has been repurposed and changed from what it was even two years ago.  If you don't like what it is that we do, go and find some other radio interest unless complaining all the time makes you mellow.
Art


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KB0TXC on June 22, 2016, 05:20:07 AM
Once I get my antenna farm growing well, I might consider joining to be there "just in case". Of course the military has state of the art digital coms, and those will only become faster, better and more secure with every passing week.

The only fly in that ointment is that those coms depend upon microprocessors as does my rigs. (I still have a tube station, though haven't used it in years.) Silicon based, yes, even hardened silicon based technology. Mother nature in the form of the sun does have a way of screwing with electronics, even if only once in a hundred years. There was once a case in the late 19th century where a solar flare of epic magnitude slammed into old mother Terra and the telegraph ops suddenly realized that they were sending and receiving messages without batteries in the loop. Think what would happen to that super duper all mode SDR handheld that the soldiers carry!

It is doubtful that this will ever happen in our tenure on this world, but if it does, there are those with trusty dusty old tube rigs and even dustier radio-gram pads that will be there to help out.

I hope it never happens!

Best,

Joe KB0TXC


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KD8MJR on June 22, 2016, 02:41:38 PM
My brother in law works for a satellite company and this subject came up.  He told me that with the rise of world wide fiber optic the need for Satellite communication had fallen to near zero.  He said that right now they have tons of satellite bandwidth that is just sitting there idle, if the military or anyone else needed it for an emergency it would be available at very low prices, so my take away from that is that unless it is something on a scale that wipes out Fiber and Satellite communications totally, that's the only way MARS would ever become useful again.   If that happened I think communicating over my ham radio is going to be the last thing on my mind.

73s
Rob


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KB0TXC on June 23, 2016, 05:31:44 AM
The good thing about fiber is that it is unaffected by things like EMP and solar disturbances. However, the end points where the electronics are located are vulnerable to such things. Unless they are installed in the old Bell System carrier bunkers with their 24 inch reinforced concrete and Faraday cages, I suspect that the electronic side of fiber will suffer.

I also suspect that my Icom rigs will become really fancy door stops. However, the old rebuilt Heathkit stuff that is hard to tune and not all that sensitive might be all that there is. I certainly hope this never happens, but I do live in the outback, and would not need to "bug out" like my city cousins would. I guess that I would have to crank up the generator and get on the air to see what is going on. I suspect that the same old nonsense on 40 would still be going as if nothing in the world was any different...



Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KB4QAA on June 23, 2016, 11:50:55 AM
All this blather about EMP and Solar surges.

We are at very low risk of any nuclear EMP event.  There isn't a hostile nation that has the capability to make one against the US.

Good EMP protection is good lightning protection.  Beside, if there is ever an actual nuke strike, the last thing you should be worrying about is being on the air!

Solar surges are NOT EMP, they are slow onset, relatively long duration and induce voltages in long lines.

Good solar surge protection is good electrical line protection.  Protect your power sources and this should have little if any chance of affecting SS radios.



Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KB4QAA on June 23, 2016, 12:04:09 PM
May I also point out that in 1992 the Navy and USAF closed their EMP testing facilities, EMPRESS II, and TRESTLE, respectively.

This shows that they are confident that present engineering practices and devices are satisfactory for EMP threat.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KB0TXC on June 24, 2016, 05:17:06 AM
I might respectfully reply that there *are* rogue nations that have semi reliable rockets and small nukes... just the thing for EMP. No real damage to the ground or people, just electronics and corneas of the unlucky souls that happen to be looking at the wrong spot and the wrong time...

Best,

Joe KB0TXC


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W0AEW on June 24, 2016, 07:36:03 AM
The biggest threat to America is our fatty diet, road accidents, and ignorance of history and other cultures.  ;)


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W3JKS on July 01, 2016, 10:56:05 AM
The biggest threat to America is our fatty diet, road accidents, and ignorance of history and other cultures.  ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GU0d8kpybVg


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: ZENKI on July 03, 2016, 01:39:40 AM
No the Illuminati and the Lizard Alien race!

The biggest threat to America is our fatty diet, road accidents, and ignorance of history and other cultures.  ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GU0d8kpybVg



Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KB4QAA on July 18, 2016, 12:08:12 PM
I might respectfully reply that there *are* rogue nations that have semi reliable rockets and small nukes... just the thing for EMP. No real damage to the ground or people, just electronics and corneas of the unlucky souls that happen to be looking at the wrong spot and the wrong time...

Best,

Joe KB0TXC
Only rogue nation with nukes is N. Korea.   Largest demonstrated yield: 7kt.  Not much EMP more than 5 or 10 miles.   Small bomb = small EMP.  And EMP suffers from LOS and ground attenuation issues just like RF above UHF.



Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N2SUB on September 15, 2016, 10:15:53 AM
I guess I have a unique perspective since I have been away for a while.  In the 90s I was an officer in NJ/DE region of Navy/Marine Corp MARS.  We passed mars grams and ship reports, etc, and I set up and was responsible for the NJ/DE digital switch, which received and sent HF and VHF traffic unattended.  Our mission was to move traffic from here to there, and we were pretty good at it.

At the beginning of the year, I joined Army MARS since I found out NAVMARCOR was no more.  In the basic training manual, it states that one of the main missions of MARS is to act as a means of secure communication in the event of a DOS (Denial of Service) event.  If the internet and/or email communications were lost, MARS would be able to provide a secondary means of secure communication.  Digital comms are generally in a mode that is unique to the military, and messages are encrypted or in some cases double-encrypted.  Passing encrypted traffic serves 2 purposes - it prevents a third party from intercepting the message, and it allows any MARS station to pass classified information without a military clearance (providing it is encrypted with a key that is not known by the station).  To me, that's a pretty important mission.  With all of the hacking in the news these days, MARS can be called into action at any time for no apparent reason in order to pass secure information between government agencies and the military.    MARSGRAMS are a thing of the past, but that doesn't mean MARS is obsolete.  It's a different world, and MARS has a new goal.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: K2CMH on September 15, 2016, 10:46:14 AM
What is the functional difference between Army Mars (http://www.usarmymars.org) and USAF Mars (https://afmars-msn.org)?


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N1EN on September 16, 2016, 07:26:09 AM
What is the functional difference between Army Mars (http://www.usarmymars.org) and USAF Mars (https://afmars-msn.org)?

The precise details may vary from region to region, but the differences are small and dwindling.

As a practical matter, the differences are the individuals in the chain of command, callsign prefix and structure, and when/where your "home" nets are.

There is still a difference in "flavor" betwen Army and Air Force MARS, but that's understandable given inertia and having different rosters...and that precise difference might vary in different parts of the country.  A potential member looking closely at the two MARS services might find one or the other more to their own preference because of that.

(Disclaimer: the above assumes that not much has changed in the month or so since I withdrew, due to an impending move taking me off the air.)


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: K2CMH on September 16, 2016, 07:40:22 AM
Thanks for the information.  The Army Mars site has a lot of information, however the USAF site has next to none, so it is hard to compare the two.  

Which one were you a member of?



Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N9VMO on September 16, 2016, 11:00:40 PM
Thanks for the information.  The Army Mars site has a lot of information, however the USAF site has next to none, so it is hard to compare the two.  

Which one were you a member of?



The Army MARS site has more info than the AF site due to the differences in the services.

The AMARS site you provided the link to is the National site and as such has all of the info that a prospective member (and also current members) might be looking for.  Also, AMARS policy is that the site you found, is THE only website for AMARS.  There are no Regional, State or "specialized net" sites to be found.  Sort of a "one stop shop".

On the other hand, the AF site you found, is for the specialized Mission Support Net (MSN) site.  The MSN site is really only for current AFMARS members and for the MSN folks.  AFMARS doesn't have the policy like the AMARS does, so some of the different Regions have their own site where prospective members can get more info and maybe even apply.  Here in Region 5, our website address is http://afmars-5-mil.us/ (http://afmars-5-mil.us/).  There might not be a lot of info on the front page for non-members, but once you become a member, there is a whole host of info.

I hope this has helped clear the air somewhat.  If you have further questions, feel free to contact me.

Joe
AFR5C
AFMARS Region 5 Director


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N1EN on September 17, 2016, 05:27:37 AM
Thanks for the information.  The Army Mars site has a lot of information, however the USAF site has next to none, so it is hard to compare the two.  

Which one were you a member of?

I was in Navy, and then transitioned to Army when Navy started to sunset.

The decision for me between Army and Air Force was easy: I still work, and the local Army nets were at times that fit better with my schedule, while the Air Force local net I could most often make was on a frequency that was problematic for my station.  While it's OK for stations of one MARS service to check into the other service's nets (and an increasing number of nets are "joint"), there is still an expectation of a certain level of participation in your home nets.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W8QZ on December 01, 2016, 05:24:49 AM
Slightly off-topic: I am disappointed to read several comments in the early part of this thread about messages that never got delivered, nor (apparently) serviced back as 'undeliverable'. Sounds to me like a serious lack of training for one (or some) of the hams involved - that you NEVER dead-end a message. Either deliver it, or send a service message back to the originator!
This needs to be stressed to those few who still handle 'hamgrams', as a basic ethical principle of traffic handling.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KF5ER on June 02, 2017, 04:12:29 PM
Thanks for the information.  The Army Mars site has a lot of information, however the USAF site has next to none, so it is hard to compare the two.  

Which one were you a member of?

I was in Navy, and then transitioned to Army when Navy started to sunset.

The decision for me between Army and Air Force was easy: I still work, and the local Army nets were at times that fit better with my schedule, while the Air Force local net I could most often make was on a frequency that was problematic for my station.  While it's OK for stations of one MARS service to check into the other service's nets (and an increasing number of nets are "joint"), there is still an expectation of a certain level of participation in your home nets.

In the Navy...Joined got a call, joined three sessions on 40 meters, listened mostly and lost interest in Mars.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KC4ZGP on June 08, 2017, 05:06:00 AM

Well known fact known to only a few, the US Air Force invented M.A.R.S.

Radio didn't become useful until the National Security act of 1947 which made the U.S.
Army, Navy and Marine Corps their own independent branches. They were all under the
USAF before then.

B.T.W. George Washington crossed the Potomac in his F-111 or was it an F-104. I can't
remember. I sometimes get my facts mixed up.

Off to 160 meters phone.

Kraus


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: WD8DBY on June 16, 2017, 07:48:50 AM

Well known fact known to only a few, the US Air Force invented M.A.R.S.

Radio didn't become useful until the National Security act of 1947 which made the U.S.
Army, Navy and Marine Corps their own independent branches. They were all under the
USAF before then.

B.T.W. George Washington crossed the Potomac in his F-111 or was it an F-104. I can't
remember. I sometimes get my facts mixed up.

Off to 160 meters phone.

Kraus

Kraus, I hope you enjoyed your time on 160 meters.  But to set the record straight:

US Army was established on June 14, 1775
US Navy established on October 13, 1775
US Marine Corps established November 10, 1775

You are correct that the US Air Force was created as a separate branch in 1947...prior to that it was called the Army Air Corps and was actually started by the Army Signal Corps.

As for radio, radio use began as early as 1912 in the armed services and was widely used throughout WWI and WWII.

Hope you have a great radio day!

v/r

Paul


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KD8M on July 01, 2017, 06:42:09 PM
Interesting discussion all-over-the-map.

How many people know that MARS deployed in support of Hurricane Katrina?  Natural disaster, comms flooded / broken / etc.  Message traffic was flying.  In the same vein, the ARES / RACES guys and just plain ol' hams deployed themselves.  They set up outside of shelters and people came to send a MARS gram (MARS telegram, ARRL gram, etc) to their loved ones to let them the that they were okay for now.

Wonder what will happen when "the big one" hits California?  Hmm-m-m-m

All that aside, MARS still exists, and still meets on the air regularly.  I will guess there are about 30 people per average population state.  They pass information, and messages, much as they would do in a National Emergency.  The bands suck rather spectacularly right now but they will get the message through. 

For those that complained about the reams of regulation . . . .  :(   Yes, darn it.  They are still using old formats that were originally developed for message centers, etc.  There are no message centers anymore, but MARS clings to their Routing Indicators (RIs) like glue.  Sigh. 

MARS is becoming DoD MARS, though.  One service, one communications corps.  This is a good thing. 

I leave you with a thought.  Why does this site exist?  www.netc.com

Why do people that have radioactive seeds implanted, for cancer, have to carry an ID?  Why are they pulled over by Border Patrol???


Google "suitcase nuke", and follow some links.  What do you know about Electro Magnetic Pulse?  (EMP)?
     (Good discussion https://www.quora.com/How-does-an-EMP-electromagnetic-pulse-work-and-what-is-it-effects-Explain-in-details )

We have all kinds of lovely solid state electronics that run the switching stations, the electric grid, all communications.  Just think of what will happen if terrorists do manage to nuke somewhere.   Who will be left?   Go watch Terminator again . . . .


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: NK7Z on July 01, 2017, 07:17:00 PM
I leave you with a thought.  Why does this site exist?  www.netc.com
See:
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread982505/pg1
for a hint as to why.

It's just some guy that is fascinated with the subject like all of us...  Not a Government site by any means...


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W9FIB on July 02, 2017, 04:06:41 AM
Interesting discussion all-over-the-map.

The more I read this, the more I pictured Rod Serling standing there and the theme music of "The Twilight Zone" began to play in my head.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: K1LEM on July 06, 2017, 12:13:49 PM


 When I was a kid I had the MARS call AA1LEM. I never like military discipline and the NETS I did hear were well supervised and obeyed protocol. To my chagrin about two years ago I heard these guys talking about cars, the weather and horses..
Its was a MARS net. never would that have ever been permitted in 1965!

Its just a way for these guys to rag chew outside the ham frequencies!


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: WB2MVM on July 06, 2017, 12:54:46 PM
O! M! G!
I swear, whoever initially entitled this thread, "Slow, Lingering Death of MARS," must've been prophetic!
No one seems to be letting MARS die, consequently, it's death is going slowly & it's lingering!
:-[ :-\ :o >:(


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N9AOP on July 07, 2017, 11:35:40 AM
MARS is alive and well.  Just what is it that makes you think we are in a lingering demise?
Art


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: WB2MVM on July 07, 2017, 12:10:32 PM
Um.....Gee, Art/N9AOP!

Ya don't suppose maybe you should be addressing the question, to the person who initially entitled the thread, don't ya?!

After all, the person who initially entitled it, is the one who used the words, "lingering," and, "demise," to describe MARS (DERP)!



Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W3JKS on July 08, 2017, 10:15:32 AM
I always thought he was referring to the membership, which is unfortunately true.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N9AOP on July 08, 2017, 01:21:32 PM
Sorry guys, I forgot to address to the original poster.  As far as the membership, this organization is no different than any other volunteer group be it your church or EOC in that the percentage of volunteers shrinks every year.  Even in the local soup kitchen, to keep a qualified staff you need to give them some type of stipend.  Look at it this way, if MARS paid its members or gave them expensive military radio equipment, there would be a ton of folks knocking at the door to get in and unfortunately a lot of them would be wasters.
Art


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N8AUC on July 09, 2017, 10:02:50 AM
Sorry guys, I forgot to address to the original poster.  As far as the membership, this organization is no different than any other volunteer group be it your church or EOC in that the percentage of volunteers shrinks every year.  Even in the local soup kitchen, to keep a qualified staff you need to give them some type of stipend.  Look at it this way, if MARS paid its members or gave them expensive military radio equipment, there would be a ton of folks knocking at the door to get in and unfortunately a lot of them would be wasters.
Art
I was in Army MARS many years ago, but moved out of the area and resigned as a result. Never did get back in. But I have no doubt it is still viable.

There were stories told back then about MARS members being able to get military surplus gear. But I never saw it happen. I still wonder if that ever really happened or was just urban legend.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: AA4PB on July 09, 2017, 12:18:55 PM
Yes, MARS members used to be able to get military surplus gear on a "permanent loan" basis. It had to be turned back in when you left MARS although some times they wouldn't take it back. What I saw in the 1970's wasn't late model equipment in good condition, it was things like old teletype machines, equipment racks, etc. It helped to be located near a military base where you could go pick up the equipment.

I think it eventually became an administrative headache that wasn't worth the hassle.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: K0UA on July 18, 2017, 04:10:19 PM
Sorry guys, I forgot to address to the original poster.  As far as the membership, this organization is no different than any other volunteer group be it your church or EOC in that the percentage of volunteers shrinks every year.  Even in the local soup kitchen, to keep a qualified staff you need to give them some type of stipend.  Look at it this way, if MARS paid its members or gave them expensive military radio equipment, there would be a ton of folks knocking at the door to get in and unfortunately a lot of them would be wasters.
Art
I was in Army MARS many years ago, but moved out of the area and resigned as a result. Never did get back in. But I have no doubt it is still viable.

There were stories told back then about MARS members being able to get military surplus gear. But I never saw it happen. I still wonder if that ever really happened or was just urban legend.


Back in the 70's I knew many MARS members that had literally tons of milsurp gear.  It was real.  I don't remember any of it really being worth all that much, but I saw a lot of boatanchors at guys houses and in storage.  Of course things like racks and desks can be useful. They were all built heck for stout that is for sure.  In my area at that time all three branches of MARS were represented, but the Air Force was the most numerous, with dozens of members in the Springfield Mo, area alone.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: W6EM on July 18, 2017, 07:50:22 PM
////////
I was in Army MARS many years ago, but moved out of the area and resigned as a result. Never did get back in. But I have no doubt it is still viable.

There were stories told back then about MARS members being able to get military surplus gear. But I never saw it happen. I still wonder if that ever really happened or was just urban legend.

Believe me, it happened.  And, it was a big part of participation "rewards" back in the 1960s through the 1990s.  When in AF in the 1960s, everything from receivers, transmitters, and lots of tubes, etc., were issued from designated warehouses.  In norcal, it was at McClellan AFB.  I remember getting a VHF receiver, a multimeter, spare parts and pieces.  A lot of it was expendable and not in the accounted-for inventory.  After college, I belonged to Army for about a decade.  80's to 00.  Lots of teletype machines, receivers, transmitters, amplifiers and miscellaneous gear.  It, however, at that time, as accounted for and had to be turned in.  The "warehouse" in CenCal Army was the director's garage in Santa Clara.  I was the tech manual coordinator for a time and had boxes upon boxes of manuals for all sorts of gear.  Did that for a few years, then passed it all to someone else.  Manuals were loaned from the library.  At one time, I had a nice R-390, which I turned back in when I moved.

Yes, that was a big incentive for many.  And, it supported the huge message traffic system in place to support deployed service personnel.

Fun times, when many had a more direct recognition for service to those who served.




Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: WB4M on August 02, 2017, 10:40:46 PM
When I was overseas those MARS ops had racks of beautiful Collins equipment.  I wasn't a ham then and it all looked to be sooo complicated!


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N8PVW on August 07, 2017, 07:18:20 AM
Army MARS has a nice website with lots of info including how to join. Air Force Mars seems to be a dead entity. Web sites way out of date and absolutely no response to inquires about anything. And asking about membership---forget about it. I've been trying to contact anyone in Florida with info. It looks like AF Mars has no activity at all in Florida or it is a very closely guarded secret.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: WB2MVM on August 07, 2017, 09:10:15 AM
N8PVW,

I may be wrong, but it's my understanding that a few years ago, both AF & Navy/Marine Corps MARS, were dissolved as entities, and consolidated into Army MARS.

If this is true (please confirm), that may explain both the outdated, AF MARS website, as well as the unresponsiveness to your inquiries.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: NK7Z on August 07, 2017, 10:55:30 AM
Navy was dissolved a few years ago, but Army was still going strong a year or so ago, Army has been running normally  the entire time. 


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N8PVW on August 08, 2017, 06:21:29 AM
Thanks for the replies anyhow. I really don't know what is going on with AF Mars. Army is still going strong. I tried sending an E-mail to Scott AFB it bounced back. There are a few websites with some more or less recent activity but no one replies to enquires. I was a CAP operator for over 35 yrs but retired  some time ago from that organization. I'm getting ready to retire soon and was looking to add to my "radio experience". In other words boredom setting in. maybe I will hear from the Army guys.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KA0P on August 08, 2017, 07:33:53 AM
AF MARS is still active and much activity is joint with Army MARS
Membership is not very large anymore. AF does not fund any websites so any you see are funded by members if there are enough to support it. I first got involved in MARS as a teenager with a Heath DX60/Drake 2B and a 6 channel vhf rig. Nowadays with the digital and computer requirements don't see how a young person on a budget could get involved


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: WD8DBY on August 08, 2017, 08:37:16 AM
AF MARS is still active and much activity is joint with Army MARS
Membership is not very large anymore. AF does not fund any websites so any you see are funded by members if there are enough to support it. I first got involved in MARS as a teenager with a Heath DX60/Drake 2B and a 6 channel vhf rig. Nowadays with the digital and computer requirements don't see how a young person on a budget could get involved

AF and Army MARS are both still very active...each service hovers around 1200 members each which has remained fairly constant over the past few years.  The majority of our activity is joint supporting DOD headquarters during quarterly contingency communication training exercises.  We just completed exercise 17-3 during which we trained with the DHS SHARES program and a number of telecom industry partners operating on the SHARES network.  We also had several state national guard units participate in the training.

The phone patch net is also joint operation.  The phone patch net consists of approximately 25 highly trained volunteers who monitor designated HF frequencies providing operational and morale phone patch support to both air and ground units.  The phone patch net manager is doing some really creative things...net operators now use a home grown software suite that allows the members to communicate on a chat line, monitor propagation, monitor on-line SDR receivers for better coverage, log all the phone patch activity, and look up DSN telephone numbers.     

MARS members support a series of US NORTHCOM sponsored homeland defense exercises called Vital Connections.  Run three times a year, these exercises bring together various federal, DOD, state, county, local and auxiliary communication entities to conduct interoperability communication exercises.  For 2017, we supported an exercise in Wisconsin and are in the final planning for exercises in Colorado, and Iowa.  Next year's exercises are being planned for Oregon, Montana, and VA/MD (subject to change).

Our last DOD contingency communications exercise is coming the first weekend of November.  During this exercise, we will again make heavy use of the 60 Meter channels to contact amateur radio stations across the US.  We will also do the high power broadcasts on 60 meters and are looking at also doing a broadcast on a higher frequency during the day. 

We will do media announcements as well as other posts to try to get the word out. 

Regarding equipment costs...as with nearly any hobby or interest, it will cost money to participate.  However today, I think you will find very few people who do not have at least one computer, tablet, smartphone, etc.  The software required to operate the military standard and encrypted digital modes is provided free of charge (developed by some very talented programmers who do it for free) and interfaces with the radio equipment either direct via USB if your radio is so equipped or via an interface box.

v/r

Paul
Chief Army MARS 


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N8PVW on August 09, 2017, 09:01:10 AM
Thanks to everyone who replied. I am very familiar with the MARS program. 35 yrs as a CAP op and have been a SHARES operator since the program was conceived. I monitor the nets and get all of the e-mails from SHARES HQ through my agency. So you would think it would not be so hard to find an AF MARS director in my own state. Wrong!!! I was going with the Air Force side because of of my CAP service since it's all Air Force. But evidently it's not to be. So I sent an application to the ARMY side and will wait to see what happens. if they need me I will serve if not I will find some other way. The Coast Guard Aux. now has a fine radio communications program. I would just go back and re join CAP. I love that group. I came up through the cadet program. But they really don't have a communications program anymore. So thanks folks. 73's and i'll see you on the air somewhere.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KA0P on August 09, 2017, 01:44:24 PM
Which CAP wing are you in ? I have been involved in CAP comm for 20 years now. We have region HF net weekday morning, 2 wing HF net each weeknight and national HF net 3 times each day. We have been involved in national  DOD exercise as they occur. Have older Micom 2 and Johnson series vhf.  Might contact your wing DC if you are willing to be active and erect HF antenna for more info.
I am also in AF MARS but not as active in it anymore as I have given CAP priority and only realistically have time for 1 emergency service anyway


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N9VMO on August 09, 2017, 05:44:17 PM
Army MARS has a nice website with lots of info including how to join. Air Force Mars seems to be a dead entity. Web sites way out of date and absolutely no response to inquires about anything. And asking about membership---forget about it. I've been trying to contact anyone in Florida with info. It looks like AF Mars has no activity at all in Florida or it is a very closely guarded secret.

Well this post will teach me to check this forum on a daily basis.

AFMARS is certainly not dead especially in FL and it really isn't a well guarded secret.

The Region 4 website is alive and well and regularly updated.  The URL is http://afmarsse.org/ (http://afmarsse.org/)

Hope this isn't too late and it helps.

Joe
AFR5C
AFMARS Region 5 Director


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N8PVW on August 10, 2017, 08:41:09 AM
KA0P
           I'm in Florida wing. Been here 25 yrs. As  said 35 yrs in CAP. My wife and kids also heavily involved. I was the wing DC for a time. But some things happened with our wing and CAP in general that we just could not tolerate so in spite of the love and dedication we had for the group it was time to leave. You are probably very aware that activity and the ability  to participate in CAP and other such orgs as well is all about location, location ,location. I don't need any equipment. I  have enough to equip a CAP unit of Group level. I have both amateur and NTIA compliant commercial rigs and can operate anywhere, anytime and on any band and frequency. So that is not an issue. As a federal employee I am very involved in SHARES. I love CAP. I grew up in CAP. Started as a cadet in 1965. But in my area they still have a "good ol boy problem". But you never know.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N8PVW on August 10, 2017, 08:42:38 AM
N9VMO

          Thanks for the link. For some reason my browser kept taking me to an old defunct Region 4 website. This is very helpful.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KA0P on August 10, 2017, 09:43:43 AM
N8PVW

Understand     By the way Air Force MARS just released a current new MARS Operating Instruction  (MOI) today. Hopefully you will be able to get info you need. You sound well qualified and should have no problem. Privacy act issues seem to have slowed the access to info which is why contact info is spotty at times.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: N9VMO on August 10, 2017, 09:33:34 PM
N9VMO

          Thanks for the link. For some reason my browser kept taking me to an old defunct Region 4 website. This is very helpful.

Understandable, a lot of the new region sites are either not in the Google search library or are so far down the list that no one ever gets to them and give up.


Title: RE: Slow lingering death of MARS.
Post by: KD8M on November 29, 2017, 06:07:05 AM
N9VMO

          Thanks for the link. For some reason my browser kept taking me to an old defunct Region 4 website. This is very helpful.

Understandable, a lot of the new region sites are either not in the Google search library or are so far down the list that no one ever gets to them and give up.

N8VMO . . .  Don't go AF.  Go Army!! 

 ;)
KD8M - Army MARS