A word or two from the Prez
"So, just what do you folks do?"
Now there's a question that could be leveled at anyone within The American Legion. It can, and often does come equally from veterans and the general public who are unfamiliar with our history and accomplishments; or worse, unfamiliar with our name: The American Legion. It's a question that, I suspect, some of you have gotten about The American Legion Amateur Radio Club. I sure have.
Simply stated, The American Legion Amateur Radio Club is an association of military veterans and family who share an interest in and are licensed as amateur radio operators. But more importantly, we are a nationwide volunteer unit that can and does aid community, state, and national emergency management officials during civil or natural disasters. Our strength is where we are also most visible – within the communities where we live.
In 2010, the Legion formally joined with the Department of Homeland Security to serve the nation today, helping to protect our citizens just as we have done in the past – and just as some are now doing – in the uniform of America's Armed Forces.
In considering the importance and effectiveness of the Legion in matters of national security, this question was raised: as members of the Armed Forces trained in vigilance and security, who would be more qualified citizens than veterans to assist in many homeland security activities? The question was answered, in part, by the National Executive Committee of the Legion when they, by resolution, urged Legion members, posts and departments to assist homeland security efforts in communities, for example, by developing emergency kits and plans; by remaining informed and assisting schools, workplaces and communities in developing emergency plans and checklists; and by cooperating with local councils of the Citizen Corps, Emergency Management, RACES, ARES and other community-based organizations. This is what we do. This is why The American Legion Amateur Radio Club was established. We exist to serve the community in every possible capacity, as ham operators, whether providing assistance with our voices on the air or our collective boots on the ground.
More information about who we are and what we do is within the brochure, "Amateur Radio and The American Legion." You can find it online, on the TALARC website at www.legion.org/hamradio , under Club Resources. And there's much more there in the way of information, as well.
From that site, you can engage other members on the Ham Radio Forum, a discussion page where shared ideas can help a local TALARC group grow or get started. Use the Forum to tell everyone what you and your ham operators are doing. The TALARC photo gallery is "thin" right now, so we'd sure like to have pictures of your activities to share with other members around the country. Send them to email@example.com  and we'll get them posted so we can draw attention to the good work of TALARC.
There are personal items that you, as a member, can obtain from American Legion Emblem Sales at National Headquarters. Those would be a TALARC polo shirt, embroidered with your name and callsign; and a TALARC pin for wearing on your Legion cap or coat lapel. They are available by clicking on the shirt or pin on the TALARC homepage at www.legion.org/hamradio  at the bottom. Both give opportunity to strike up discussion about the Legion, about TALARC and about just what it is that we do. Keep an eye out for a TALARC patch, too.
When the Club was given authorization to come into being in May of 2011, most of us at the national level had no idea it would grow to where it is now. Today, sixteen months later, we are 889 members strong. In TALARC membership, the top six Legion departments are: Ohio, 93; California, 62; Pennsylvania, 48; Florida and Indiana, 44; and Illinois, 43. Our experience indicates that growth comes from promotion at the department [state] level. Ohio has surged ahead in membership just in the last month as a result of a brief article in their department newsletter. Now there's an idea worth pursuing that can bring interested Legionnaires to The American Legion Amateur Radio Club and licensed amateurs to the Legion.
Next Special Event Station
In March of this year the Club hosted its first Special Event Station to commemorate the birthday of The American Legion. We experienced good participation, and we are planning to operate another on the occasion of Veterans Day, Sunday, November 11, 2012, from 1400 to 2130 Zulu. A SASE will bring the national headquarters station QSL card to all who make contact with TALARC during that scheduled event – both members and non-members. For more information on the Special Event Station and information about K9TAL's monthly nets, check www.legion.org/hamradio  regularly.
And speaking of nets, because of K9TAL limits, we are unable to reach some of the far corners of the nation – and some places in between – when working HF. We are in need of those with the amateur radio resources to act as HF Net Control on the second Saturday of the month. If you are "electronically able" (a Big Gun) and willing to take on the task, contact HF Net Manager Craig Roberts, W3CRR at firstname.lastname@example.org . And finally, for your information, both TALARC nets meet monthly the second Saturday of the month. Effective with the October nets, the HF frequency will move to 14.310; start time is 1700 Zulu. The IRLP Net on the Crossroads Reflector, node 9205, begins an hour later at 1800Z.
Marty Justis, W9WMJ