Amateur Radio – MARS interoperability exercise (November 4-6)

Elements of the US Department of Defense (DOD) will conduct a “communications interoperability” training exercise November 4-6, once again simulating a “very bad day” scenario. Amateur Radio and MARS organizations will take part.

“This exercise will begin with a national massive coronal mass ejection event which will impact the national power grid as well as all forms of traditional communication, including landline telephone, cellphone, satellite, and Internet connectivity,” Army MARS Program Manager Paul English, WD8DBY, explained in an announcement.

During the exercise, a designated DOD Headquarters entity will request county-by-county status reports for the 3,143 US counties and county equivalents, to gain situational awareness and to determine the extent of impact of the scenario. Army and Air Force MARS organizations will work in conjunction with the Amateur Radio community, primarily on the 60-meter interoperability channels as well as on HF NVIS frequencies and local VHF and UHF, non-Internet linked Amateur Radio repeaters.

Again, this year, a military station on the east coast and the Fort Huachuca, Arizona, HF station will conduct a high-power broadcast on 60-meter channel 1 (5330.5 kHz) on Saturday from 0300 to 0315 UTC. New this year will be an informational broadcast on Sunday, on 13,483.5 kHz USB from 1600 to 1615 UTC. Amateur Radio operators should monitor these broadcasts for more information about the exercise and how they can participate in this communications exercise, English said.

“We want to continue building on the outstanding cooperative working relationship with the ARRL and the Amateur Radio community,” English said. “We want to expand the use of the 60-meter interop channels between the military and amateur community for emergency communications, and we hope the Amateur Radio community will give us some good feedback on the use of both the 5-MHz interop and the new 13-MHz broadcast channels as a means of information dissemination during a very bad day scenario. (Thanks Tom, N1CPE)

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MARS Exercise

MARS will be holding an exercise starting Sunday (7/23/17) at 11:00 a.m. through 8:00 p.m. on Thursday (7/27/17).

ARES and general amateur radio operators should expect that at some point during this period, MARS members may be tasked to obtain information from the Amateur Radio operators in our areas.  Most likely, this will be the same type of infrastructure reporting we have done in the past and is done on the Sunday morning WMA HF net. We will only be looking for real, actual conditions; nothing simulated.

MARS communicators might try to obtain this infromation duing various scheduled nets including NTS messages nets, club nets, etc. They may also try to obtain information via the various SKYWARN and ARES/RACES partnered repeaters.

In addition to infrastructure reports, MARS is often interested in relayed reports from the avaiation automated weather systems (ASOS). Report weather information from airport ATIS/ASOS stations that you can directly receive via radio. These stations broadcast continuously in the 120.000 – 138.000 MHz frequency range using amplitude modulation. Information from the ATIS should include airport, time, temperature, altimeter (barometer), wind, precipitation, and visibility.

A list of stations with their frequencies and a map can be found at:
A brief introduction to ATIS can be found at:
A more detailed introduction to ATIS/ASOS can be found at:
Marek Kozubal, KB1NCG
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ARES-NTS Forum, April 24, 2004

There were 12 attendees at the seminar and they were as follows: KB1EKN-Mark Duff Metro Boston ARES District Emergency Coordinator WQ1O-Frank Olaughlin Cape Cod ARES District Emergency Coordinator N1XTB-Philip McNamara Bridgewater ARES Team Member K9HI-Phil Temples Eastern Massachusetts ARRL Section Manager WA1IDA-Bob Salow Eastern Massachusetts Assistant Section Manager N1LKJ-Jim Ward …

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