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MARS Okays HF Transmission Methods Study for Propagation Failures


Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, September 17-19, US Army MARS national leadership approved a study of HF transmission methods for use in extreme propagation failures, and it invited nominations for an IT specialist to coordinate such a project. Program Officer Paul English, WD8DBY, who presided, addressed the need for an HF mode capable of high penetration through adverse conditions, such as an extreme solar event or other potentially catastrophic situation in which HF reception suddenly blacked out.

A leader, hearing no radio activity anywhere, would need to launch a beacon signal informing anyone who manages to hear it where an emergency net would be called up once propagation returned. Some discussion involved existing weak-signal digital modes such as JT65 and WSJT and possible limitations under disaster conditions with unstable power sources. The region directors voted to pursue a solution.

The Atlanta gathering of region directors and HQ staff adjourned after three days that included installation of a new headquarters training coordinator and preparation for a major national exercise November 3-5 with participation by Air Force and Navy-Marine Corps MARS members.

Army MARS Chief Stephen Klinefelter told attendees told that Army MARS is phasing in direct support of Army National Guard units on a nationwide basis. Speaking by videoconference from Army MARS Headquarters in Arizona, he said headquarters has begun setting up contacts with state National Guard organizations. Connecting Guard radio transmissions into the landline telephone system is expected to evolve in every state and eventually could involve all MARS members. MARS gained a lot of visibility for its handling of thousands of phone patches that allowed service personnel overseas during the Korean, Vietnam and Desert Storm operations to speak with their families stateside.

Kleinfelter said great progress has been made during the past 2 years to familiarize the defense establishment with MARS mission and capabilities but “we’re not there yet.” The 11 region directors also learned that that their management body is being made permanent, but with a slightly different name —MARS Governance Executive Group. — US Army MARS via Bill Sexton, N1IN





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