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Author Topic: Slow lingering death of MARS.  (Read 858331 times)

Posts: 875

« Reply #90 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.

Posts: 36

« Reply #91 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?

Posts: 1927


« Reply #92 on: May 13, 2015, 12:09:09 AM »


For reviews and setups see:

Posts: 771

« Reply #93 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

73 and Aloha,
de Delwyn, KH6DC

Posts: 1

« Reply #94 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.


Posts: 1707

« Reply #95 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.”   

Posts: 435

« Reply #96 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!

Posts: 960

« Reply #97 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.


Posts: 120

« Reply #98 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.

Posts: 108

« Reply #99 on: May 30, 2016, 04:12:36 PM »

 Roll Eyes

Posts: 779

« Reply #100 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.

Posts: 164

« Reply #101 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!



Posts: 5080

« Reply #102 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.


“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”  (Mark Twain)

Posts: 164

« Reply #103 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...


Posts: 3288

« Reply #104 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.

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