From 30 October through 1 November, members of the Military Auxiliary Radio System will be conducting a quarterly Department of Defense Contingency Communications exercise. The purpose of this quarterly exercise is train on our ability to provide communications following a “very bad day” scenario when traditional forms of communications will likely be unavailable. While the simultaneous loss of all communications nation-wide is not likely, for training purposes, we are assuming there has been a massive nation-wide outage.
One of the objectives of this exercise is to continue the partnership with the amateur radio community to help provide information about local conditions and send this information to the Department of Defense to help understand what is happening around the United States.
During this exercise, we will use 60 meters, local VHF and UHF repeaters as well as HF NVIS amateur radio bands. Our goal is to have a conversation about the local conditions in and around your county. During the conversation, our operators will be asking basic questions such as the status of commercial power, public water systems, and road conditions. These will be person to person conversations…you don’t need to use any digital modes or know any special messaging formats.
To kick off this exercise, we are encouraging the amateur radio community to monitor 5,330.5KHz from 0300-0400 Hrs Zulu on 31 October. During this hour, we will be doing a high power voice broadcast from a military station on the east coast and alternate with a voice broadcast from the west coast. Amateur radio operators are encouraged to submit a reception report as indicated in the voice broadcast.
For the remainder of the exercise, MARS personnel will be calling for amateur radio operators on the 60 meter channels as well as using already established amateur radio nets on HF NVIS and VHF/UHF repeaters.
Amateur radio operators are also invited to attend the ARRL webinar scheduled for 25 Oct at 2000 hrs eastern time where Dave Stapchuk, Chief AF MARS, and the Army MARS Program Manager will give a presentation about the MARS program. Please register for the webinar here.
Additional information is on the U.S. Army MARS Facebook page.