How can I join Air Force MARS?

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
  • 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.
To learn more:

United States Air Force MARS Recruiting Effort In Alaska, Oregon, Washington and Idaho

Region 10 AF MARS has initiated an intensive recruiting effort to gain new MARS members.

USAF MARS provides contingency radio communications support to U.S. government operations as directed by and coordinated within the Department of Defense. This includes support to civil authorities at all levels, in fulfillment of DoD responsibilities under DoD Directive (DoDD) 5113.13.

In support of our DoD mission, USAF MARS recruits and trains interested amateur radio operators who meet certain eligibility requirements. MARS is an extremely rewarding program, allowing operators to support the women and men of our armed services. Because AFMARS is a dynamic volunteer organization with the mission of supporting multiple agencies and organizations through the Department of Defense during situations of national emergencies, membership is an honorable contribution to our nation’s well being.

There are many specialties in USAF MARS, including, SSB networks, digital networks and special networks such as the MARSRADIO network, wherein MARS operators handle calls daily from military aircraft in flight and ships at sea to land based numbers when other assets are unavailable.

For further information, interested persons may call toll free (888)778-6277. You will be connected to recorded information about eligibility requirements, station capabilities and ongoing participation requirements.

You may also send email to and request further information.

Thank you.