Monday, April 8, 2013

Looking to MARS

Recently, I've been looking into Mars. I find it very fascinating, with a whole world of possibilities. And for the record, I'm not talking about the red planet, I'm talking about the Military Axillary Radio System. This is a system by which the US military uses licensed Amateur Radio operators to assist in backup communications.

It is possible that you've heard of MARS, even though you might realize it. For those of you who lived through the Vienam war, and other early wars of the Cold War, you might have heard of a MARSGRAM. Back in the day before most war fighters had internet access, there was still a desire to send quick messages to loved ones. Well, the MARS service allowed for sending and receiving quick messages to the millitary fighter, if they could be reached.

Why my interest in it? Simply put, I have a lot of military family. Both of my grandparents served, my dad and brother are currently in, and overall, I have a tremendous respect for them, and would like to help them out. In addition, I spend some time as a military contractor, which helped me to respect the military more. This would be a small thing that I could do to help them out. My brother is currently stationed on an Air Craft Carrier, and I've got to admit, it seems really cool to me that I might be able to make contact with the ship that he's on someday!

How does MARS work? Essentially, the first step is to get an Amateur Radio license. Even though MARS operates outside of the Ham bands, they are close enough that knowledge of Ham radio can help the process, and it starts to show an interest in radios in general that will need to help the organization grow.

In order to join, you need to be 18 or older, a US Citizen, have a amateur radio license, and have equipment which can talk on a MARS frequency. The exact frequencies aren't public, but the range I've seen quoted (From this source) is 4000 - 4050 Khz and 7300 - 7400 Khz. In other words, ~75m, and ~40m.

Bottom line is, this is almost certainly something that I will be doing when I get my HF station up and running. It sounds like a lot of fun, and could potentially provide a very useful service to the community.

No comments:

Post a Comment