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Author Topic: What does MARS do these days?  (Read 2884 times)
N8QGC
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« on: May 28, 2004, 02:24:17 PM »

Hello all,

My name is John N8QGC located in Flat Rock, Michigan.  Small little town about 15 miles or so south of Detroit.

Just a question or two really, I have poured over the information made availiable here and elsewhere on M.A.R.S. and have a rough idea of what it is that M.A.R.S. does but I'd like some specifics if I can get them.  Here's the thing, I'm considering applying to ARMY MARS here in Michigan but I don't want to be part of an organization just for the sake of having a neat long callsign.  

I feel that M.A.R.S. is no where near what it used to be in terms of supporting troops directly, of course I could be very wrong here, I'm counting on you all to let me know.  I only say this as I have a friend who is currently serving in Iraq in the ARMY and is a ham, and has no clue what M.A.R.S. is or does.  Says they all use cell phones or email now.

So my question more to the point, what is it that you actually do now?

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W3JKS
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« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2004, 06:03:40 PM »

You are right, MARSgrams are a secondary mission these days.  Very few of them these days, as the advent of Internet access in the field has largely supplanted MARSgrams.  We still do some phone patch, on occasion.

The focus has been emergency communications for a number of years, primarily to support Federal customers.  Some states MARS programs have signed MOUs with their National Guard to provide direct support - I negotiated one last year while I was Delaware's Army MARS Director.  Army MARS received a national MOU with the US Army Reserve Command (USARC) a few weeks ago which allows the formation of Army MARS support teams for Army Reserve units.  I have been seconded to the 311th Theatre Signal Command (Reserve) and the 261st Signal Brigade (DE Army Guard) for the past year working on a variety of Signal issues.  In previous years, I have performed various radio projects for other Federal agencies such as the Department of State.

In this year's Grecian Firebolt exercise, the Army's largest comm exercise, the HF and SINCGARS Net Control Station equipment and the majority of the operators are being provided by Army MARS, with some Air Force MARS members also participating in the deployment.

Other MOUs are in the making over the next six months or so.  It is an exciting time if you are motivated, have good operating and technical skills and get hooked up with a customer agency.  Like many things in life, it is a matter of making the commitment.

Give me a shout if you have any specific questions.

73,
john
AAT3BF/AAM3O/AAA9AC
Army MARS Automation Coordinator
Emergency Ops Officer, Eastern Area
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KL0S
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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2004, 11:08:42 AM »

The service's MARS programs have seen a significant refocusing of their priorities in the last few years. Morale and Welfare message support for servicemen overseas, once the mainstay of MARS operations, has decreased significantly with the advent of inexpensive telephone calling cards and e-mail/internet access for soldiers serving overseas. But for those soldiers deployed to areas of the world where these facilities are not available the MARS program may be their only expeditious means of maintaining contact with home. Today emergency situation reporting and communications support to the services during natural and man-made disasters and a new expanding role in Homeland Security are now the most visible and evolving driving forces for MARS.

To those hams interested in a more structured and rewarding way to assist in the security and well being of our nation and in providing support to the servicemen and women of our armed forces I'd recommend joining MARS.

Dino KLØS/AAT3BE
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N8QGC
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2004, 09:01:27 AM »

Ok fellas fair enough.  

I think that this is a worth while endevour and I'll be sending my application now.

73 de John N8QGC
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N8QGC
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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2004, 09:05:45 AM »

Thanks to all who have sent me info on this topic.

I've joined and am proud to be a part of an organization that I believe is worth while.

73 de John N8QGC/AAR5TX/T
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N3ZKP
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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2004, 03:20:46 PM »

John,

Congratulations! Too bad you didn't join Navy-Marine Corps MARS. Our call sign prefixes are easier to remember. All of them start with NNN. Smiley

Besides, in the directed nets, we get to drop the prefix and just use the suffix.

Oscar Oscar Romeo is a lot easier to say than Alpha Alpha Romeo Five Tango Xray. <gg>

Lon - NNN0OOR
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W3JKS
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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2004, 05:50:20 PM »

Welcome aboard, John!

de John, AAT3BF/AAM3O/AAA9AC
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KC0LET
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« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2004, 11:04:26 PM »

Welcome aboard from another new Army MARS op.

de Evan, AAR7IS/T
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N8QGC
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« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2004, 12:00:30 PM »

Lon,

Thanks for what I'd assume to be your tongue and cheek reply to my post.

I looked at all branches of MARS, ultimately what drove me to volunteer for ARMY MARS was that my family has a history of duty in the ARMY.  I can not serve due to some medical conditions I have so I felt this was my chance to serve as others in my family have.

Regards,
John
AAR5TX/T  
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N3ZKP
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« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2004, 11:13:29 PM »

John:

<< Thanks for what I'd assume to be your tongue and cheek reply to my post. >>

It was only halfway into my cheek. <gg>

Again, congratulations. My son is career, active duty Navy and he would have arranged for me to be keelhauled if I had picked any other branch. Smiley

Now matter what the branch, traditions are important to keep up.

Lon
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KC5SAS
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« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2004, 12:33:21 PM »

The July 2004 issue of QST has a great article on MARS caled "MARS Invades Belize". It's the story from Darrel, KG4LWQ who is a Lieutenant Colonel with the 73rd Field Hospital in St Petersburg, FL and was recently deployed to Belize with his reserve unit. He was able to get a MARS callsign and radio equiptment in time for the deployment and the article tells of the postitives and few negatives of operating a MARS station from Central America. Check it out.
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WR8D
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« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2004, 05:56:31 PM »

It very rewarding, especially around the holidays for me to get to pass on to a family a message from a son or daughter or maybe a dad to his family. I'm ok, love you, i'll be home soon. They're there, so we can be here simple as that. Anytime you see a service man or woman give them a respectful nod or a smile or even a kind word. God Bless them, and this great nation we're all apart of.
73
John WR8D AFA2UY Airforce Mars Wv region 2.
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WB6LNH
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« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2004, 10:29:33 AM »

I have been in Navy Mars (notice I did not say Navy Marine Corps Mars) for over 30 yrs, and in fact served on Active duty by MOS (military occupational specialty) to NAVMARCORMARS...  Pers call sign is
NNN0IRA that call was give in recognition for special circumstances in RVN..  I have seen MARS go from a intergral part of Marine Corps Comminications assets to nothing and then get dropped by USMC and all Mars stations de activated including my former stations at San Diego, Camp Pendleton, MCB 29 Palms....  There is no Marine Corps participation other than maybe isolated guy or two now.   The NC region traffic net now consists  of passing admin traffic occaisionaly.
At the height of operations at Camp Pendleton NNN0MPN we handeled 36000 Marsgrams per month from Pacific station to relay into MARSTELSYS via a station that had 12 Marines on active duty and 46 acres of antennas and 35 Collins S-Lines with five on line at any time  five full three curtained rhombic antennas and over a dozen Henry 4k Ultra linears.  to ZERO and the station being dismantled and all equip disposed of.
Hate to see it become extinct but that is the way it is.   I can not say about Army/Air Force, but NAVMARCORMARS is on life support
Ira Jones WB6LNH/NNN0IRA  USMC RETIRED
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KG6UNU
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« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2004, 10:15:06 PM »

Is there any activity in so cal and where can i get info locally? I think our collage ARC might benifit from joining. Dana, Int-Chair Cal State Uni Northridge ARC (wb6tam) Email: swall68@aol.com
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N3ZKP
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Posts: 2008




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« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2004, 11:53:33 AM »

Check out the Navy-Marine Corps MARS web page at www.navymars.org.

There is a lot of activity in Southern California.

Lon - NNN0OOR / NNN0GAW ONE
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