What is MARS?
The Military Auxiliary Radio System is a Department of Defense
sponsored program, established as separate managed and operated
programs by the Army, Navy and Air Force. The program consists of
licensed amateur radio operators who are interested in military
communications. They contribute to the MARS mission providing
auxiliary or emergency communications on a local, national and
international basis as an adjunct to normal communications.
In November 1925, the Army Amateur Radio System (AARS) was formed by
a few dedicated pioneers in the United States Army Signal Corps.
This organization continued until the start of World War II when
operations were suspended. Army amateur radio was authorized to
resume operations in 1946 and the Army Amateur Radio System was
in 1962, the Navy-Marine Corps MARS program was launched making
MARS a joint service program.
- Provide Department of Defense sponsored emergency communications
on a local, national, and international basis as an adjunct to normal
- Provide auxiliary communications for military, civil, and/or
disaster officials during periods of emergency.
- Assist in effecting normal communications under emergency
- Create interest, and furnish a means of training members in
military communications procedures.
- Provide a potential reserve of trained radio communications
- Handle moral and quasi-official record and voice communications
traffic for Armed Forces and authorized U.S. Government civilian
personnel stationed throughout the world.
- Conduct an appropriate Amateur Radio program as a part of the
annual celebration of Armed Forces Day.
Eligibility to join MARS
Some of the requirements to participate in MARS are that the applicant must -
- Be 17 years of age or older.
- Be a United States Citizen or resident alien.
- Possess a valid amateur radio license issued by the Federal
Communications Commission or other competent U.S. authority.
- Possess a station capable of operating on MARS HF frequencies.
MARS members must agree to operate in accordance with the rules and
regulations governing MARS and participate on-the-air a minimum number
of hours, among other things.
Benefits of MARS Membership
- Add to the enjoyment of your amateur radio hobby through the
expended horizon of MARS.
- Become part of the Army, Navy-Marine Corps, or Air Force MARS
worldwide communications system. There are MARS stations around
the world and in the continental United States.
- Increase your communications skills and capabilities.
- Operate on specially assigned military radio frequencies in voice
and digital modes of communications.
- Join a group of dedicated fellow radio amateurs participating in
meaningful public service.
- Affiliate with the service branch of your choice and become part
of the professional military communications family.
- Gain a feeling of being associated with a military mission and
contributing to the welfare and preparedness of the nation.
- Participate in regulated, disciplined radio nets with structured
lines of organization and very specific operating rules.
MARS members stations meet periodically in scheduled networks on
military frequencies outside of the amateur bands.
Return to the MARS homepage.