A two-day emergency exercise including both the Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) and the ARRL's Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) is being termed a success, the ARRL Letter reports, especially with regard to cooperation between the two groups.
The exercise in early November was built around a scenario of a massive solar flare disrupting communication systems across the United States. MARS stations were asked to make contact with amateur stations in as many US counties as possible. In all, according to Army MARS Program Manager Paul English, WD8DBY, contact was made with 26% of all counties by MARS members using primarily NVIS (near-vertical incidence skywave) on HF as well as VHF and UHF repeaters.
The purpose of the exercise, English said, was to exchange usable information from the local level to the national level in a crisis, adding that success is possible "only through … cooperation among MARS and the larger amateur radio community."