The annual Armed Forces Day Crossband Communications Test set for Saturday and Sunday, May 9-10, will offer Amateur Radio operators a chance to try their hand at using more modern military communications modes, such as MIL-STD Serial PSK. Also new this year is the inclusion of a crossband Automatic Link Establishment (ALE) test. The Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard cosponsor the joint military/Amateur Radio event which this year marks the 65th Armed Forces Day and the 90th anniversary of the Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS). Armed Forces Day 2015 falls on May 16, but the crossband test is held on the earlier weekend to accommodate those visiting Dayton Hamvention May 15-17.
The annual event is a unique opportunity to test two-way communication between Amateur Radio and military stations. It features the traditional military-to-amateur crossband SSB voice, CW, MT63, and AMTOR FEC, plus MIL-STD Serial PSK and ALE, both new this year.
This annual event gives Amateur Radio operators and shortwave listeners (SWLs) an opportunity to demonstrate their technical skills, and to receive recognition from the appropriate military radio station. QSL cards will be provided to all stations that make contact with the military stations.
Hams may use ALE Individual Call selective calling to connect with a military station, for voice communication. Amateur stations with ALE capability can contact a military station directly on specific half-duplex crossband channels. 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.
Those interested in trying the MIL-STD Serial PSK mode can download the free MS-DMT software. A complete list of participating military stations, operating modes, and times of operation is on the US Army MARS website and on its Facebook page.