About US Air Force MARS

What is MARS?

Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) operators provide contingent radio communications for our US Department of Defense customers.

For more information:


Why join MARS?

Many Amateur Radio Operators find that MARS helps them become better radio operators, and contribute to their communities, state, region, and nation.

  • Learn advanced operating procedures
  • Improve your net operating skills (transferrable to other nets)
  • Create and send encrypted messages (on MARS, not amateur frequencies)
  • Use advanced operating modes, like PACTOR 4, M110A, MT63-2KL
  • Join a community to learn from (and share what you know)
  • Practice in daily/weekly nets and periodic communications exercises
  • Contribute to our clients’ success

What are the membership requirements?

Air Force MARS welcomes new members.  Here is a partial list of the requirements:

  • US Citizen or permanent resident
  • At least 18 years old
  • Amateur Radio Operator License (any class)
  • Modern (frequency stable) HF radio and antenna suitable for 3-10 MHZ operations over a multi-state area
    • MARS bands are outside of the amateur bands, so you will need to “open up” your radio to operate on them.  Radio manufacturers may require a copy of MARS license to perform that modification or provide that information.
  • Be familiar with digital programs and modes like Winlink Express, fldigi, PSK-31, etc.  We use digital modes for almost all of our traffic.
    • Requires an external sound card, cables, and a program (e.g., fldigi).
      • Internal PC sound cards are typically not adequate
      • Newer radios may have a sound card built in
  • Ability and motivation to learn new skills, and participate on the air.
  • Prior military experience is not a requirement.

I’m ready to learn more

Contact us

This site is dedicated to Region 10 Air Force MARS.  It is not approved by US Air Force or US Department of Defense.

I want to contribute

We incur expenses (several hundred dollars per year) to register this domain, host website, pay for DropBox Plus, print brochures, reserve booth space at events, and more.  You help defray those expenses when you click the link below to donate.  Thanks for considering.  (This is a hobby, not a 501(c)(3) organization, non-profit, nor for-profit business.)