Department of Defense Exercise With Amateur Radio Participation, October 2020

As written by Tom Kinahan N1CPE and posted on the NE Division website:

For almost the whole month of October, (now through October 26) the Department of Defense is conducting a series of exercises that will train the connection of MARS members to the Amateur Radio Service.

There are opportunities for hams to participate in this exercise.

1) Every day at noon local time, there will be a net on 60 meters channel 1 (5.3305 MHz USB) to have checkins from hams. The NCS will ask for your callsign, city and state. As the month moves on, there may be other unplanned requests.

2) Familiarize yourself with the METAR which is transmitted on VHF AM from all major and some less major airports as weather information for pilots. See if you can transcribe the weather information. They speak fast, and usually in mumbles. This is valuable information to the DoD in times of communication outage. Contact me for additional details.

3) There will be ICS-213 messages originating in MARS for certain ARRL and other local ham radio leaders refiled into the NTS system for delivery. NTS nets may carry these messages. Be ready to copy these messages and deliver them, by checking in to your local NTS net.

If you have any questions, please let me know!

 

[Tom Kinahan is the Army MARS Region 1 Executive Officer. He can be contacted at: tom.kinahan@verizon.net]

MARS Announces HF Skills Exercise

As part of a Nationwide HF Skills Exercise for MARS Members and Amateur Radio Operators the Chief of ARMY MARS and the Chief of Air force MARS have announced an exercise for July 20-24, 2020.

Amateur Radio Operators are encouraged to participate in Daily 60 Meter Nets on Channel 1 (5330.5 KHz USB Dial) at 1200 and 2000 local times (Noon and 8pm Eastern time).

Amateur Radio stations will be asked for real life Infrastructure failure issues, and possibly other information to be relayed to MARS stations on that channel. Reports of no issues are just as important as reports of any issues. Be prepared to provide information to help the MARS station determine your FIPS code. Your Zip code is the easiest way to communicate that.

Please join us, and have some fun!

See the ARRL Website story on this for more details:
http://www.arrl.org/news/mars-announces-hf-skills-exercise

Tom Kinahan N1CPE
ARMY MARS Region One Executive Officer-Software/Automation Officer

MARS Thanks Amateur Radio Operators for their support of MARS Exercise 19-4

Tom Kinahan N1CPE of Army MARS writes:

Thank you to all of the Amateur radio operators who supported and participated in Exercise 19-4. Below is a message from ARMY MARS headquarters that I have been asked to relay:

P 181700Z NOV 2019
FM NETC G3-5 CUOPS HQ ARMY MARS FHU AZ
TO UHXWWW/ALL MARS STATIONS
BT
UNCLAS
EXER/COMEX 19-4//
MSGID/GENADMIN/NETC G3-5 CUOPS HQ ARMY MARS FHU AZ/416//
SUBJ/OPERATIONS UPDATE - ENDEX//
POC/DAVID MCGINNIS/CTR/NETC G3-5 CUOPS HF-MARS/FT HUACHUCA, AZ/-//

GENTEXT/REMARKS/Effective 18 NOV 2359Z, COMEX 19-4 is concluded. Complete all pending actions, recall all personnel and recover/rehab equipment. MARS members, please remind each other to complete the After Action Survey at www.dodmars.org and pass this message along to your partners in the Amateur Radio Service (ARS) along with our thanks for their support.

The -19 Series of exercises intentionally provided opportunities for MARS leaders and members to adapt to new situations with increasing complexity and unknown variables. You were presented with a variety of new tasks, information products, and coordination requirements. Anticipating conditions in a real incident, you were not read-in-to new requirements prior to the exercise. With no time to train up we required you to adapt existing Tactics, Techniques and Procedures. We continue to see more resilience when you are faced with uncertainty. Expect more challenges from us in 2020.

Looking into 2020, we ask all MARS members and ARS operators to continue working on long term emergency power capabilities, long distance HF radio capabilities, and building one-on-one relationships in your community. Continue to shift normal operations from day-time to night time hours. Amatuers and MARS members operating in the ARS are encouraged to continue practicing using the MIL-188-110 Serial PSK mode on the 60 Meters channels where it is permitted. This mode is important because it provides a means of digital interoperability with government stations that are not able to use ARS digital modes.

Thank you for all your good work in COMEX 19-4, and enjoy a well deserved rest over the holiday season.//

BT
#0417

MARS Exercise Continued Instructions for November 16

Tom Kinahan N1CPE of Army MARS has issued new instructions for the on-going MARS exercise.  On November 16, 2019 at 10:00 PM EST or (17 NOV 2019) 0300Z will be the 60 Meter broadcast on channel 1 (5330.5 kHz) in voice and digital M110A from Department of Defense stations.

If you have this capability, check it out, and follow the directions contained in the message (probably to report reception).

This is part of a method for Department of Defense to communicate directly with Amateur Radio stations for broadcast and 2-way information exchange.

Latest MARS Exercise Instructions

MARSAt this time, we are being asked to reach out to amateurs and capture the following information. There may be MARS operators gathering this sort of information using their amateur callsigns on amateur frequencies, or on 60 meters using their MARS callsigns looking for Amateurs station reports.

  • Status of 50KW AM broadcast stations: This is for all of the stations in this category in New England. Are they on the air? Need county and city of reporting station.
  • Ping Time to 8.8.8.8. Bring up a command prompt and ping that IP address. The result is an average ping time. Report that, ISP name, town.
  • Grid Status: Report power voltage, frequency, power company name, city and county
  • Dialtone: Provider name, Local, Long Distance, type (landline, VOIP) city and county
  • NOAA Weather broadcasts on about 162 MHz: Report which frequencies that you can hear reports on, City and county you are located in.
  • Infrastructure reports: Any known failures of infrastructure: Water, power communications, broadcast, hospital, sewage etc, City and County.

The exercise culminates next Saturday night with a 60 meter broadcast.

The exercise takes a hiatus on Monday November 11, in honor of Veterans Day, and resumes on Tuesday.

Nationwide MARS COMEX (Comms. Exercise) Oct 24 – 26

MARS stations will be operating from Oct 22-26, but the participation of Amateur Radio Operators is expected on Oct 24-26.

Here is a link to the national ARRL story on it:
http://www.arrl.org/news/mars-members-to-support-defense-department-radio-communication-readiness-exercise

As part of this COMEX, MARS members will reach out to amateur radio operators (on the 24-26) for any information on real life infrastructure failures. We have been practicing this sort of reporting as part of both Western and Eastern Mass ARES nets. If there are any know local failures of infrastructure, defined as Power, Water, Medical, Sanitation, Communications or Transportation, just let the MARS operator know with information on your county name, or your zip code (which is easy to determine county name with).

MARS Operators will use non-internet connected VHF/UHF repeaters as well as 60 meter channel 1 in our area, to gather these reports.

Amateur Radio operators are asked to monitor 60-meter channel 1 (5,330.5 kHz, USB) at 0001 UTC (8:01pm ET) on October 24, for a high-power broadcast of updated information regarding this exercise and how the Amateur Radio community can participate.

Questions about this local to the Western and Eastern Mass ARRL sections can be directed towards me.

Thanks,
Tom Kinahan N1CPE