Updated June 13, 2017

Crossband with the other MARS

May 13, 2017

     To mark the 66th annual Armed Forces Day (AFD), the US Army, Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard conducted the traditional military/amateur radio communication tests on May 13. Armed Forces Day was May 20, but the Crossband Military-Amateur Radio event was scheduled to avoid conflicts with those attending Hamvention.

     Andy Parcel, KE5KOF, made several contacts with stations of the Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) from Ken Good Park in Carrollton. Operating under the club call, KB5A, Andy logged:

AAZ, Ft Huachuca, Arizona

ABH, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii

WAR, Pentagon, Washington DC

ADB, Camp Foster, Okinawa Japan

NIIW, USS Midway, San Diego

NWMC, USS LST-325, Evansville, Indiana

NWKJ, USS Yorktown, Charleston, South Carolina

     The objective was to test two-way communication between radio amateurs and military stations (authorized under §97.111 of the Amateur Service rules), using SSB voice, CW, and the opportunity for participating hams to use more modern military modes, such as MIL-STD Serial PSK and Automatic Link Establishment (ALE). MARS is a program sponsored by the Department of Defense and uses Amateur Radio operators to contribute to the mission of the DOD.

     “Twenty-meter voice was wide open and we expect to receive QSLs in a few weeks,” according to Andy. Thanks go to Kevin Grantham, N5KRG, Dale Finley, KB5NFT, Dale Hiatt, KC5MAY, and Paul Martel, N1NEC, for help with setup and operations.

Bug-Out - Updated!

May 11, 2017

     Tom Yenny, K5LOL, presented his variety of “ultimate go bags” at the May meeting. In the interest of being prepared for anything, Tom walked us through designing and stocking a bag (or bags) that can help you or your family get through an emergency.

     He pointed out that it’s not enough to gather a bunch of gear. You should create, review and practice an emergency plan for your whole family.

     Tom said you can spend a lot of money on your sack of stuff, but there’s a video on YouTube that shows how to assemble a kit for under $100. You can download a PDF and an audio file of Tom’s presentation from the links below.

Windy State Parks on the Air - Update!


April 8, 2017

     After taking last year off, MARS hams again converged on the Johnson Branch Unit of Ray Roberts Lake State Park. The wind gusting in excess of 30 mph threatened to modify our antennas and radiation patterns, but amateur ingenuity overcame the challenge.

     About 30 hams and guests were on hand to help raise masts, assemble beams, and secure the guy lines. Rigs worked 10m to 40m using digital and phone. An AREDN™ node was set up as well. As always, lunch and dinner were the highlights of the event.

     As in 2015, the objective was to contact as many of the state parks as possible, as well as other hams around the world. Log master David Gilpin, K5GIL, reports 35 total QSOs—16 with Texas Parks—for a total score of 212 points! MARS placed 7th overall.

     Many thanks to Liz Brown, K5EMB, and Steve Darrah, KD5YPB, for organizing the outing, to Dale Hiatt, KC5MAY, for the excellent food, and to all the others who helped make Texas State Parks on the Air a success.

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