COMEX 16-4, from 30 October through 1 November 2016 — the final COMEX of 2016 — ushered in a new approach to MARS participation in a simulated nation-wide communications outage. Nationally, both Air Force and Army MARS members self-activated over a 48-hour period to provide contingency communications support to the Department of Defense. The DOD coordinated with FEMA to activate a high power HF broadcast on 60 meters from both an east coast military station and the Fort Huachuca HF Gateway station.
After these broadcasts, MARS members were tasked with contacting amateur radio operators to collect county information both on 60 meters and other ham bands. The amateur radio community rose to the occasion, demonstrating an effective collaboration between hams and MARS members.
Other tasks followed over the two-day period, and Region 6 members met the challenge, successfully completing the tasks and applying their skill and knowledge under realistic conditions to support the MARS mission during the exercise.
The Region 6 and Texas Army MARS leadership thank all MARS members for their outstanding support during the exercise and express appreciation and gratitude to the many amateur radio operators who supported this cooperative effort.