Radio amateurs are invited to take part in the MARS exercise now under way until April 10 in support of the US Department of Defense. The five USB channelized 60-meter frequencies are available for interoperability (communication between services).
By convention, Channel 1 is designated the calling channel. This convention is established to train the amateur radio community to reach out on Channel 1 in times of national emergency for information from the federal government.
The amateur radio community utilizes 60 meters on a secondary basis with federal agencies.
This and similar 60 meter interoperability exercises are conducted during the first full week of each month. Air Force MARS has Sunday, 0501 UTC through Wednesday, 1701 UTC. Army MARS picks up Wednesday, 1701 UTC through Saturday, 0501 UTC. There is no service crossover.
The operating convention for MARS 60-meter interface with the amateur community designates Channel 1 as primary. For the purpose of this exercise, Air Force MARS phone operations will originate on Channel 1, digital and CW operations on Channel 2. If congestion occurs, either mode may direct their traffic to Channels 3 – 5. The only authorized digital modes are CW, M110A, Olivia, MT-63, MFSK-16, FT-8, and RTTY. M110A will likely have little or no use in this exercise.