MARS was a neat program... I was radio maint in USAF and got badly
damaged for a wile in a car accident ( I was a passenger) .. since I
cold not lift all the heavy modulators for GRC 27 and GRT-3 transmitters
I wet to MARS Station TDY and got to operate Collins KWM2s and of course
maintained them as that maint part was what I did before anyway.
When I got there our call was AG6LU and it changed to AGA6LU
We passed a lot of messages between families and those stationed
overseas... many times we were the only quick contact to a family member
in 'Nam. It was touching to have guys when they would come home on leave
would make a point to drop by an thank us.
Gateway stations like AGA6MA at March Air Force base ran picked up our
local traffic and handled getting it to 'Nam and the ret of South East
Asia. They had teletype machines also...
When I stated at MARS Station it was the NCOIC, another operator and
me... the operator shipped out to England... then after a while... the
NCOIC shipped to Alaska! This left me in charge (whee! I was NCOIC!)
eventually I got another operator in.
The MARS station also was the 'THE' HF communications link for the base
in time of war and would have to go to the com center and get the
authentication word envelopes from the safe.
Barry Goldwater was MARS also, but was affiliated with ARMY MARS, they
had their own nets.
He had a wonderful station that was set up in the Pool House next to the
main house and had a staff of volunteers to man the station there. A
first class operation and they passed a lot of traffic to South East
Eventually we got more operators in and a fellow of NCO rank that could
take over for me and I was head back up soft of and it was back to the
transmitter site. I was sorry to go.. It felt good to use the radio to
help folks out... not that the control tower radios were not needed but
the work in the MARS program had a more personal feel to it!
wow... I feel an urge now that I FINALLY have my Amateur license to get
a KWM-2 in my older years!