Why MARC should come back

This post is to invite you to post a reply here – indicating your reasons for wanting the MSFC Amateur Radio Club to start up again… In order to proceed we need to have a show of hands, to gauge the level of support we might find in the MSFC/RSA community. If you have not yet read the “Read This First” and the “Welcome to MARS” articles as linked at the top of the page, please visit those and then come back to this on the Front Page.

In years gone by, interest and support for MARC became less and less – until it made no sense to continue. The only way it can come back is if enough hams speak up here and now, and we build a good case to justify the administrative overhead of such a re-start. The paperwork including the budget request needs to be submitted by the end of September – so we have to act quickly. Click on the “Comments” link at the top or bottom of this article, and fill in the text box below. Your email address is required, but it will not be posted. All comments will be moderated.

Please indicate your name, callsign, and affiliation (NASA/Army/Civil Servant/Contractor/etc), a brief statement to indicate your support, and a few reasons you would like to see the club return to MSFC.

Thanks /;^)
Alan Sieg – WB5RMG
email: via wa4nzd(at)somenet(dot)net

28 responses to “Why MARC should come back

  1. This is Alan – WB5RMG (NASA Contractor).

    I am (obviously) willing to support a new MARC with time, talent, and $ as may be required to help get this club back on it’s feet.

    This club will have value for :
    1. continuing the MSFC tradition in ham radio
    2. a group of like-minded experimenters
    3. educational outreach to new hams and students
    4. preserve historical WA4NZD materials
    5. help provide emergency communication

    Count me in ..!.. Please join us and comment here to indicate your support.
    (Be sure to also tell your friends and co-workers about this !)

  2. Philip Hahn – KI4VUP (NASA civil servant)

    I’m interested in helping get MARC back up and running as well.

    Three reasons:
    1. To learn from other more experianced hams.
    2. To utilize a prime location with a variety of antennas and capabilities. Especially when some of us are stuck with covenants and HOA’s.
    3. To work special events and as Alan mentioned preserve (and continue!) the history of the club.

    Keep me in the loop and I’ll do what I can to help!

    phil, KI4VUP

  3. Daniel Crock

    I would like to participate in MARC activities. I would like to see the MARC equipment used to talk to the ISS and Shutle Missions. Also, to be part of Emergency Operations communications during disasters affecting MSFC or other Centers. I would also like to see MARC operations include HAM operations that would maintain contacts the world over, to maintain expertise in the realm of HF operations, needed during disasters. The interest at MARC could also enhance any member’s expertise in communications that would translate directly into better performance in related jobs at MSFC.

  4. John Howard

    I am also very interested in getting this club back on it’s feet. When we tried this a year or so ago, the response was limited. Scott, Dusty Alan and I spent a good portion of our lunch breaks at the club location putting it back in working order. Unfortunately we were all contractors and therefore didn’t really have a say about the clubs future. It would be a shame to see this club not be brought back online because it has a rich history here in Huntsville with the ties it has had with different NASA programs over the years. I don’t write as eloquently as some of these other guys but we really do need this club back on the air. I am ready to devote my time and what little money I have to make sure this club is revived.

  5. John Howard

    Forgot to leave my callsign in the message. KI4WLY General Class.

  6. Bill Adams KB4NEI

    I have driven past the station multiple times and thought how blessed NASA is to have this fine facility. I did not know it was in trouble.

    I see the station and the club as important for 3 reasons:

    1) Public Relations and Education. Having a solid teresterial base to track orbital objects can be used to feature up coming hams in space with educational groups anywhere in the valley via the WWW, or some RF repeater hookup. You could have an operator at the station keeping links up while your PR face is with the kids in their home room with a HT or a computer hookup.

    2) Public Service. Our organization on base has a very good fixed station but “what if”. What if the front of base is off limits due to some chemical spill on the rail lines or some other incident. We would love to have an MOU with MARS to use their station deep in NASA as a backup to our communications center. Having multiple good staitons on base is the right thing to do. Training and working togather would garuntee that RSA and NASA hams are ready to be brothers when all else fails.

    3) A place to run special events and get out the PR word of the great technology and experiments coming from the hams of RSA and NASA. I always assumed that a strong club existed for NASA personnel. If one does not then it needs this and perhaps you could open it up to anyone who works on the base. You might get more donatiosn and support that way.

    Thanks WB5RMG for the notification of this web site.

  7. I would like to express that for one I am behind the station renewal. I would donate HF radio’s of needed, they are old but work. I assisted last year in the cleanup and restoral and was able to put up an 80 meter dipole for the new hams to use at first. after the inventory I wanted to replace the rotor and coax on the beams but the NASA red tape came into play and we needed a crew of tower personnel to conduct such work while on center. We are in great need of civil servants to sign up for the office positions and be the host to one of the oldest agencies amateur radio clubs. Thanks again to Alan, great job again….

  8. Just to keep everybody up to date may have a possible officer…..keep your fingers crossed

  9. As others have stated,I am also very interested in getting this club back on it’s feet. I am new to the world of Amateur Radio and have wanted to get involved in Amateur Radio for years. My efforts surrounding the Mobile Emergency Operations Vehicles (CRR-DRR) have re-energized my efforts to get involved. We do need to have a place that members of the Emergency Response teams can practice what they need to be able to support a disaster. MARC is the perfect place and also will provide the opportunity to meet and practice with the people that would be providing emergency support during an event. Also, having the MARC Repeater back online will also provide opportunities to perform emergency exercises with the CRR-DRR vehicles.
    Let us all pull together and move forward in getting the club re-activated. I have other members of my group that are willing to help.

  10. John Reynolds

    (John Reynolds – N5AYD – Army contractor)
    I am glad to see you guys trying to get this club going again. I enjoyed using the facility when I first settled into working on post and had no set up at home. As the government is trying to revitalize its aging workforce, a facility like the MARC station can build friendships and encourage activity from the new younger employees that are limited in operating otherwise. In particular I remember January VHF contests, the ATV uplink project, and talking to the kids at JHS 22 in NYC. The club also helped with triathlons on post.

  11. Dr. Wil Robertson – AI4QT (NASA Contractor)
    As many of you know, NASA has a vested interest in education. Our agency provides education outreach to encourage students to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). NASA realizes that every student may not be inclined to pursue STEM careers, nevertheless, it is hoped that through the NASA education outreach, every student will become aware of the contribution that STEM provides in improving our lives here on earth.

    Even the 21st century, Amateur Radio can still be a catalyst to inspire young people to appreciate technology in understanding physics, mathematics, space science, even geography.

    We have on many occasions hosted high school students and teachers on tours of Marshall Space Flight Center. What an interesting possibility to showcase a working amateur radio station as part of a Marshall tour for students. Some of our Marshall amateur radio operators could share with the students stories of how so many of us acquired an interest in science, engineering and mathematics through our interest in ham radio as a hobby.

  12. Greg Sarratt – W4OZK – ARRL Southeastern Division Director
    I am not currently available to participate in the MARC, but I hope to see this effort bring this club back to life.
    I do personally support this action and may be able to join your club in the future if circumstances allow.
    There is a need to both preserve the legacy of Amateur Radio at MSFC, and forge the way into the future.

  13. (Ron Shaffer – W4VM – Army contractor / repeater trustee)
    I think bringing MARC back is wonderful thing to do ! There is so much capability already there which we have not lost. I am teaching a Technician class currently at Dynetics. New Hams like these will be glad to know of efforts such as this and may well be some of the fresh blood needed. The 147.10 Repeater system also provides a great place to rally club members for drive time discussion !

  14. Kenneth Swords

    I would like to have the station back on line to provide amateur radio capability for NASA civil servants and contractors. Some of these operators might not have the means to operate a radio at their homes weather financial or space required for antennas. This station would be used to build interest in Amateur Radio which the hobby needs. This would be a means of training for Sky Warn and other emergency situations that include the NASA community and surrounding areas. This station would provide a club for fellow radio operators to meet and discuss topics of interest like FCC law changes, antenna design, operator procedures, electronic circuit design or repair etc.
    Thank you
    Kenneth Swords N5HNW

  15. (Carl Ellis – NASA contractor)
    I have had my license for several years. But I still need to learn a lot on how to use my radio and understand offsets. It would be great to have people to draw from who have been in the sport for a long time.

  16. Brian Wingfield, KO4FV

    (Army contractor) I would certainly be interested in participating and supporting the club if allowed to do so.

  17. Scott KJ4MFW NASA Contractor

    I think it would be a great thing to start this club up again. I am a fairly new General Ham and have been interested in participating in the MSFC club. I moved here from JSC, and was involved with several of their radio events and thought it was great. However, since moving to HSV, I have upgraded to a General license and think I could help out with more activities… Let me know what I can do to help.


  18. Willie Hendrix

    Well, why not. I helped do it once before, why not wake it up again. Hi Don.

  19. Craig McClure

    Craig McClure, KJ4LAA, NASA Contractor
    Up until a few weeks ago I was not aware there was an Amateur Radio Club at MSFC/RSA. This is a great opportunity to reinvigorate interest the club and as well as spark interest in Amateur Radio itself. Ham Radio is probably the most important communications backup in the event of a disaster. That alone should be reason enough to bring this club back on its feet.
    I am willing and able to provide my time and support to bring the MARC “back on-line”.

  20. I found a listing for the clubs old 440MHZ repeater pair as available.
    WA4NZD – 442.825 -no response as of 6/1997-Worth looking into.

  21. As a DoD Civil Servant, I would love to participate in the group to help bring the historic station back to life. I’m retired Army and have worked with MARS operations in a few of my army assignments around the world, which I enjoyed. My emergency experience could help.

    My interest is to help this group in anyway I can. I have an big interest in some of the voip systems repeaters such as Asterisk and home brew D-Star compatible systems that may be of interest to the group. I also have an interest in HF systems and the types operations that can be accomplish. So, if the small group call DARPA can contribute to bringing this Historic Club black to life please don’t hesitate to call or e-mail. We will be glad to help. 73

    Will / W4WWM

  22. Art Davis/ N4UC

    Man, what happened to all the nice Collins gear we had in there 20 years ago? Is the KT-34XA still up on the tower? Years ago we were in line to possibly get the 3 element 40 meter beam that was taken down at the Comm building (4207), but I guess that fell through. Back when Ed Stluka (W4QAU) and Ed Clark (K4KFH) were alive, we had a great working relationship with Evelyn Garrison, USA Sales Mgr for ICOM, who donated a truckload of ICOM HF and V/UHF gear to the club station as well as the discovery learning lab over here in 4487, and Space and Rocket Center. That relationship kinda peaked the year that the ARRL National Convention was held here. Most of the past movers and shakers in the club have since passed away and I guess with them went the motivation. But there are still plenty of hams around here in the labs who I’m sure would like to see the station revived. No matter how nasty it has gotten, it’s still a site better than when it was in the trailer on the hill behind the motorpool!
    73, Art

  23. Hello All,

    I’m an Army Contractor working on Redstone. I spend a lot of time at Test Area 3 which is a short ride to the Ham Club building. I hope to make it to the Thursday meeting at 1530. In 2006 I looked up the club and after calling the base operator then being redirected to the Military Police I was able to locate the club building!!! At the time I was told the HF gear was stolen and club didn’t exist. Anyway, glad to see the club doors open.

    Clint KF6AAQ

  24. Brandon KJ4UPP

    Hello everyone,

    I’m also interested in joining up. I actually knew nothing of MARC until I heard someone on the 147.240 repeater mention it. A little research got me to this site.

    I’m Technician licensed and still new to the hobby. MARS would be something I’d be really interested in.

    Brandon KJ4UPP

  25. Angelo Perez

    Ok, well when are they meetings, I have been trying to catch someone there for a while.

    Retired Army, AMCOM LAR.
    Ran the Hanau Germany MARS station for a while in 1991.

  26. Pingback: 2010 in review | MSFC Amateur Radio Station

  27. The last time I was at the club station was at least 4 years ago, probably more like 5. At that time there was an ICOM 781 out there with a nice HF beam whose rotator didn’t work. Still made a few contacts using that old 781, which is a marvelous rig. I hope it’s still there. I’d be thrilled to see our club up and running again and maybe we could work special event stations (digital, SSB, CW, whatever) for upcoming NASA missions and also to commemorate previous ones.

    73 to all and Happy New Year!
    Raf (AI4RA)

  28. Kris KE4AHR

    Willing to do what ever I can to help. My first non-ham contact was at WA4NZD to KB5CWP aboard Shuttle Discovery.

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