In celebration of the 63rd anniversary of Armed Forces Day (AFD), the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard are co-sponsoring the annual Military/Amateur Radio Cross band Communications Test. Although Armed Forces Day is traditionally celebrated on the third Saturday in May -- May 18 in 2013 -- the AFD Military/Amateur Cross band Communications Test will be conducted on May 11 to prevent conflict with the Dayton Hamvention®, scheduled for May 17-19.
The annual celebration features traditional military-to-amateur cross band communications SSB voice and Morse code tests. These tests give Amateur Radio operators and short wave listeners an opportunity to demonstrate their individual technical skills and to receive recognition from the appropriate military radio station for their proven expertise. QSL cards will be provided to stations making contact with the military stations.
Military-to-amateur cross band operations will take place on the dates and time in UTC on the frequencies listed for the Army, Air Force and Navy/Marine Corps and Coast Guard MARS stations. Voice contacts will include operations in single sideband voice (SSB); some stations will use CW to provide the opportunity to check in by Morse code. Depending on propagation and staffing, some stations may not operate the entire period. Participating military stations will transmit on selected military MARS frequencies and listen for Amateur Radio stations in the amateur bands. The military station operator will announce the specific amateur band frequency being monitored. Duration of each voice contact should be limited to 1-2 minutes. The annual Secretary of Defense message will be transmitted via digital modes, including RTTY, PACTOR, AMTOR, PSK-31, MFSK and MT63 from certain stations.
Check the MARS Armed Forces Cross band Test website for schedules and frequencies of participating military stations, including a list of stations that will be transmitting the annual Secretary of Defense message. Instructions on how to copy and submit the message are also included.