If you’re like me and have a ham radio for both hobby and emergency situations, you may want to consider opening up the radio. This would increase your coverage and in the event of a true emergency you will be able to transmit outside of those amateur bands. I have performed this on two of my radios including the Yaesu FT60 and the Yaesu VX8dr, but mods exist for many other brands. If you’re purchasing a new radio some of the online outlets will offer the MARS/CAP modification right from the store itself.
The service is usually performed for licensed operators from the Military Auxiliary Radio Service (MARS) or the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) – Most companies will not require proof to have the modification performed at purchase.
For me, this was beneficial to use during a search and rescue situation at hunting camp. We were not only using the local repeater to communicate across the mountain, but also communicating to teams using FRS, the central command center, and military aircraft to aid in the effort.
As a warning: perform this at your own risk and do NOT transmit outside of the amateur bands unless it’s an emergency.
Mars/Cap Mod on a Yaesu FT60r
MARS/CAP modification of a Yaesu VX8DR