How To Join USAF MARS
There are several personal and station considerations to examine before
attempting to join USAF MARS.
- You will be required to participate in and complete an on-the-air training
session. In Region Four of USAF MARS, which includes Texas, Oklahoma,
Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi, the training net is conducted as two
identical sessions on Saturdays and Sundays, as trainees require. (See the Region 4 Net schedule) You
will have six months to complete the training session, and be required to
demonstrate proficiency in traffic handling on the air with the training
- Once training is completed, you will be required to participate at least
twelve (12) hours in each calendar quarter.
- Do you presently have on-the-air digital capability? This is interpreted
to mean existing HF/VHF packet capability.
- Can your radio equipment operate on the following frequencies: 3370 kHz,
4466 kHz and 7302 kHz?
- If your equipment cannot operate on the above frequencies, would you be
willing to modify or obtain equipment that will operate on the frequencies
listed above? (Technical information is available for many equipment
conversions. In general, solid-state equipment consisting of a general
coverage receiver and an amateur band only transmitter is actually easiest to
convert to MARS coverage.)
- If your equipment will operate on the frequencies above, or you are
willing to obtain suitable equipment, do you have antennas that will function
on those frequencies?
- Do you wish to become a skilled communicator with skills in traffic
handling and emergency communications?
As an Air Force affiliate MARS member station, you will be asked to do the
- Maintain a complete set of USAF MARS MODS (Mars Operating Directives)
which are issued to you upon entry to the program. Monitor/Copy and maintain a
copy of the MARS broadcast which is transmitted as needed, and available on
administrative nets, BBS's and evening traffic nets. The latest broadcast is
available on the web and a complete
file for several years is also available at that site.
- Comply with the provisions of USAF MARS MODS and other air force
directives governing MARS operations.
- Maintain an operational high frequency (HF) radio station and actively
support USAF MARS HF communications requirements.
- Participate for a minimum of 12 hours each calendar quarter. Six of the 12
hours must be earned on the primary HF net assignment assigned by the
responsible SMD (State Mars Director).
- Maintain a current amateur license and keep the SMD apprised of all
changes that effect membership status, such as change in station location,
station capability, telephone or address changes, license upgrades and e-mail
- Give technical help, library maintenance, construction and experimentation
support to the MARS program.
- Provide operations, maintenance, or administrative support to military
installation MARS directors (IMD's) when requested.
- Avoid, while operating on MARS frequencies, any deliberate action or
conduct which would reflect unfavorably upon the individual members or USAF
- Attend and contribute to MARS meetings and conferences.
Membership requirements for USAF MARS
- Minimum age of applicant is 14 years. Applicants under age 18 must have
consent of parent or guardian.
- Applicant must be a citizen of the United States, or lawfully admitted to
the US for permanent residency under the provisions of Title 18, United States
Code, Chapter 12, and reside within the borders of the US, its territories, or
possessions. Otherwise the applicant (member) may live in an area under an
overseas military command's jurisdiction.
- Applicants must hold a valid Amateur Radio operators license issued by the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Novice class licensees approved for
MARS membership must upgrade to technician or higher class within one year
from the initial approval date.
- An applicant must have an operational HF radio station capable of
operating on (or which can be modified to operate on) at least two MARS
frequencies assigned by MARS officials. (For operation in within Region Four,
it is suggested that the HF radio equipment and antennas be operable at 3370
kHz, 4466kHz and 7302 kHz).
- An applicant must possess digital capability at the time the application
is submitted. This is interpreted to mean on-the-air capability for HF/VHF
Applying for membership in the USAF MARS program
If you are interested in applying for membership in the USAF MARS program and
meet the requirements above, contact the appropriate local Installation Mars
Director (IMD) or State Mars Director (SMD). Include:
1. Fill out the AF MARS Application Form.
2. Your postal address (on the form) so that the necessary documents may be
snail-mailed to you.
In other Region 4 areas, contact:
SMD-TX, SMD-OK, SMD-LA, SMD-MS, SMD-AR
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This page updated 1/13/2005 - AFF4I