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Author Topic: Slow lingering death of MARS.  (Read 804911 times)
N8PVW
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Posts: 14




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« Reply #135 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 Web sites way out of date and absolutely no response to inquires about anything.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.
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WB2MVM
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« Reply #136 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If this is true (please confirm), that may explain both the outdated, AF MARS website, as well as the unresponsiveness to your inquiries.
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NK7Z
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« Reply #137 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. 
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Thanks,
Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
N8PVW
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Posts: 14




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« Reply #138 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.
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KA0P
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« Reply #139 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
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WD8DBY
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« Reply #140 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 
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N8PVW
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« Reply #141 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.
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KA0P
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« Reply #142 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
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N9VMO
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« Reply #143 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/

Hope this isn't too late and it helps.

Joe
AFR5C
AFMARS Region 5 Director
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N8PVW
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« Reply #144 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.
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N8PVW
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« Reply #145 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.
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KA0P
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Posts: 25




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« Reply #146 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.
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N9VMO
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« Reply #147 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.
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KD8M
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« Reply #148 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!! 

 Wink
KD8M - Army MARS

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