MARS - The Military Auxiliary Radio System - Tell me the Good, Bad, and Ugly

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KR5TX, Nov 7, 2020.

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  1. KR5TX

    KR5TX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have a budding interest in the The Military Auxiliary Radio System or MARS. For those of you that are, or have participated, tell me the Good, Bad, and Ugly about it.

    I know Navy MARS is gone but what about Army vs. Air Force MARS? How much time commitment? How much does it cost in extra equipment other than HF/VHF/UHF, if any?

    THANKS IN ADVANCE
     
    K4AGO likes this.
  2. N1VAU

    N1VAU XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Specifics of MARS are normally only discussed privately amongst MARS members and not on a public forum.

    It's kinda like Vegas ;)
     
    K0UO likes this.
  3. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    First rule of MARS: Don't talk about MARS. ;)
     
    N2UHC, W3SY, N1VAU and 1 other person like this.
  4. KR5TX

    KR5TX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    So, how does one know if that's something they would be interested in?

    Are there costs? How much time s involved? How are the two MARS services similar and how do they differ?

    I'm not asking about OPSEC issues.
     
  5. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Google gave me this:

    https://www.mars.af.mil/

    Dave
    W7UUU
     
    KA4DPO, WW0W and N1VAU like this.
  6. KE0GXN

    KE0GXN XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Not involved in MARS , but if I had to guess, that's the best outfit of them all right there! :D
     
  7. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Point being: Just use Google for a start. MARS folks are NOT going to discuss MARS in a public forum. It's against the rules, as I understand it.

    The OP needs to reach out to the two MARS organizations and use the appropriate protocols to learn about them.

    Dave
    W7UUU
     
    KA4DPO and WA9SVD like this.
  8. K4AGO

    K4AGO Ham Member QRZ Page

    It hasn't cost me anything as far as extra equipment. I did purchase a new TNC in the early 90's for MARS use; but, that was voluntary. It was in no way a requirement.
    I found Air Force MARS to be much more laid back than Army MARS. Army MARS vas very fast paced.

    Join whichever you want and participate in both. When I joined in 1994 the requirements were one hour a month. I participated in the net for an hour or two every night.

    In 1995 we were given $38,000.00 (Air Force value) transceiver if we wanted it. They were Raytheon transceivers (if memory serves me right) that were taken from jet fighters. We did have to drive to the base to pick them up and we did have to build a 400 Hz power supply (aircraft standard.) I was recovering from knee surgery and unable to drive; so, I did not accept the offer. Many of the members did.

    MARS equipment was not a gift. If you dropped out of MARS they could ask for the equipment to be returned; but, I never knew anyone who was asked to give the equipment back to the Govt.

    MARS is very regimented. They have rules and they pretty much demand that you follow the rules. During my initial training, I made a procedural (protocol) mistake. When corrected I responded "I understand, thank you sir" The training officer then said to me (on the air) if you understand it, do it. I guess he might have thought I was being a smart a$$, which I wasn't. I should have just responded "roger." Saying "I understand..." was my second mistake.

    Make no mistake, MARS is military and it is nothing less than military. If you don't like military protocol, procedure, chain of command, precision, etc. Don't join MARS.

    MARS is a different animal than it was in the early 90's. It is no longer phone and it is no longer goodwill messages from junior to Mom and Pop at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Internet and satellite phones do that more efficiently than radio ever did. MARS is digital. You will be required to use ALE. They want you to have an amplifier and they want you to have a phone patch. You will have to download, install and use various digital programs (at no cost to you.)

    Make no mistake, MARS is not WSJTX. If you want to be a MARS member, it will be a commitment; and, an investment of time. But, I cannot think of anything except maybe contesting, that will teach you discipline and technique, as well as MARS, does. Download the application and BE SURE you fill it out correctly as per the instructions.

    I don't mean to make it sound intole4rable. It is not. But MARS does expect discipline. It is not your local Tuesday evening net.

    Start here:
    https://www.mars.af.mil

    New Member guide.
    https://www.mars.af.mil/Portals/59/MARS Guide To New Membership.pdf
     
    NG2J, W2JKT, AD7SK and 4 others like this.
  9. K4AGO

    K4AGO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Dave, I have been an AF MARS member since 1994 (AFA2MJ). There is no rule against discussing joining MARS. There are rules against discussing procedures and protocol, frequencies, etc.

    But, you are entirely correct in saying google it and read the available information. Any questions the OP has will be answered as far as becoming a member. Other than that, he must be a member.

    https://www.mars.af.mil/Portals/59/MARS Guide To New Membership.pdf
     
    KO4PYL, KC2IEB and K0UO like this.
  10. KR5TX

    KR5TX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    THIS is exactly the kind of stuff I was looking for. THANK YOU.
     
    KF5KWO likes this.

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