[AARA] Annual Armed Forces Day Cross-Band Communications Test Set for May 14

Herman Campbell Kn5grk at lusfiber.net
Tue May 3 19:46:26 CDT 2016


The US Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard will cosponsor the Armed 
Forces Day Military/Amateur Radio *Cross-Band Communications Test* 
<http://www.usarmymars.org/home/announcements> on Saturday, May 14, 
2016. The event gets under way at 1200 UTC, with activity continuing 
throughout the day. Some military stations may not operate for the 
entire period.

“New for Armed Forces Day this year, military stations and Amateur Radio 
operators are authorized to directly communicate on the 60 meter 
interoperability channels,” US Army MARS Program Manager Paul English, 
WD8DBY, pointed out.

This year marks the 66th Armed Forces Day (*AFD* 
<http://afd.defense.gov/>) observance, a week later than the radio 
event. Armed Forces Day is observed this year on May 21, but the 
Military/Amateur Radio Cross-Band Communications Test is held earlier in 
order to avoid conflicting with Dayton *Hamvention* 

The annual communications exercise is an opportunity to test two-way 
communication between amateur and military communicators and features 
traditional military-to-amateur cross-band SSB and CW communication and 
offers an opportunity for radio amateurs to utilize modern military 
communications modes such as MIL-STD serial PSK and automatic link 
establishment (ALE). These tests give Amateur Radio operators and 
shortwave listeners (SWLs) a chance and a challenge to demonstrate 
individual technical skills, and to receive recognition from military 
radio stations. QSL cards will be provided to stations that contact 
military stations during this event. The *complete announcement* 
<http://www.usarmymars.org/home/announcements> of stations, times, and 
frequencies— subject to change — is available on the US Army MARS website.

Participating military stations will transmit on selected military 
frequencies and listen for Amateur Radio stations on selected amateur 
frequencies, which the military station operator will announce. Contacts 
should be limited to a minute or two, so all participants get a chance. 
Some stations will operate on Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) 
frequencies; others will use CW.

Amateur Stations with automatic link establishment (*ALE* 
<http://hflink.net/>) capability can contact military stations on 
specific half-duplex cross-band channels established for this purpose. 
Military stations will scan and receive certain Amateur HFLINK ALE 
frequencies, and transmit on the corresponding military ALE frequency. 
Military stations will also transmit ALE station identification 
(soundings) on each military frequency at 30 to 90-minute intervals.

The traditional Secretary of Defense message will be transmitted via 
Military Standard radio teletype modes, described in MIL-STD 188-110A/B. 
Reception of serial PSK will provide a technical challenge to amateur 
stations to receive the broadcasts using a high symbol rate serial PSK 
waveform not utilized in Amateur Radio, but found in all modern military 
equipment. See the complete schedule for details. Additional 
transmissions will use wide-shift FSK (RTTY), as this mode represents a 
baseline in interoperability common in all radio services. Most RTTY 
programs can be set to decode this mode. To accommodate amateurs some 
stations will transmit the Secretary of Defense message using common ham 
radio modes such as RTTY, PACTOR, AMTOR, PSK31, MFSK and MT63.

Transcripts of the received text should be submitted “as received,” 
without attempting to correct possible transmission errors. Provide 
time, frequency and call sign of the military station copied, including 
the submitter’s name, call sign, and address (with ZIP code). This 
information should appear on the paper containing the test message.

Stations copying the Secretary of Defense message from Army and Navy 
stations should send their entries to Armed Forces Day Celebration, 
Commander Netcom, ATTN: NETC-ITSMD, Bldg 90549 Jim Ave, Fort Huachuca, 
AZ 85613-7070.

Stations copying Secretary of Defense message from Air Force stations, 
should send entries to Armed Forces Day Celebration, 38CYRS/Chief AF 
MARS, 203W Losey St, Room 1200, Scott AFB, IL 62225.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do 
not necessarily reflect the views of the ARRL, ARES or the Louisiana 
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