On February 21, contractor Tim Millea, AJ7UU, and MARS Volunteer Doug Smith embarked on the USNS Mercy from San Diego to Hawaii. Their mission during the first leg of the voyage has been to conduct Technician and General class Amateur Radio classes for more than a dozen military and civilian personnel crewing the Mercy; and to provide training in military HF communication procedures.
The pair has been providing two or three training classes a day for the crew, who take the classes following their work shifts. Classroom training has been interspersed with on-air activities in the ship’s Amateur Radio room. The Mercy is also utilizing the Weak Signal Propagation Reporting (WSPR) tool, using K6MRC.
On March 3, the Mercy is scheduled to dock in Hawaii, where the crew will pick up a group of local Volunteer Examiners to administer Technician and General license exams to the students.
After a weekend of shore leave, the Mercy crew will deploy on a humanitarian assistance exercise called “Pacific Partnership 18,” which will take them to a number of countries throughout the Pacific region. — Thanks to Robert Mims, WA1OEZ, Region 1 US Army MARS Director