A few words from the Prez . . .
New Year, New Leadership, New Enthusiasm!
A new administrative year is about to get underway within The American Legion. Department conventions have elected new leaders for the 2013-2014 term. By month's end, the Legion's 95th National Convention will have convened and adjourned at Houston, with new national officers in position and ready to serve our great organization. With these new leaders come new ideas and new enthusiasm at the post/squadron/unit, district, department and national levels of The American Legion Family. As a TALARC member, you might want to acquaint yourself with the new leaders in your post and department, then acquaint them with the Legion's Amateur Radio Club and what it can do for a post and the community it serves. Some ideas for local projects are down the page.
And speaking of the National Convention: if you plan to attend the August 23-29 event, be sure to stop by the National Headquarters offices, located in the George R. Brown Convention Center, Hall E, Level One. There, in the Media Services area, you can visit with TALARC VP Craig Roberts, W3CRR (HF Net Manager), and Membership Chairman Joe March, KJ9M. Bill Sloan, NZ9S, TALARC Secretary and IRLP Net Manager, will be in the Internal Affairs area, and Howard Trace, TALARC Archivist, can be found in the Headquarters offices as well. PS: Be sure to pick up a TALARC lapel pin from the Emblem Sales store in Hall B, Level One.
Nets – Local, Regional and National
With the Legion's amateur radio club more than 1,400 strong, we encourage members to conduct regional or local nets. There are already a number around the country that operate weekly or less frequently to pass along club, emcomm, and other important information while enjoying the camaraderie of fellow TALARC members on the air.
You don't need clearance from Legion HQ to do this, just enthusiasm and a passion for amateur radio and The American Legion. However, if you do conduct a net[s], we would sure like to hear about it and post your activity on the TALARC website. To help you get started, we can make available copies of our monthly national net announcements, which will provide guidance on procedure and content. Email your request to K9TAL@legion.org .
The National HF Net is beginning to see greater participation among membership, but we are still in need of assistant net control operators, particularly in the South and Southwest. If you have the desire and the equipment, contact HF Net Manager Craig Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org .
SPECIAL NOTE: Due to travel responsibilities of National HQ staff, IRLP operations will be suspended for September. This will not affect operations of the HF Net, which is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 14.
The American Legion has renewed its affiliation with FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. A new Post Disaster Preparedness and Response Guide will be out soon, and will include information about TALARC and amateur radio operations during disasters. It will be available on the TALARC website.
National Disaster Preparedness Month
September marks the annual observance of National Disaster Preparedness Month. Here are some suggested Legion post activities for TALARC members to consider:
Conduct a technician licensing class at your post
• Plan a one-day disaster preparedness open house – invite local first responders with equipment displays, the National Guard, and local ARES/RACES/EMA folks to set up booths outside your post
• Hold a disaster preparedness night, inviting members and local residents to learn how to pack their own 72-hour survival kits
• Ask the local Boy Scout troop to give a program about survival techniques
• Use the DHS/FEMA toolkit to localize news releases, advisories, letters to the editor, and radio/TV PSAs; use your TALARC /post information when seeking media coverage and support. You can get info at http://www.ready.gov/ 
• Host weekly programs during September, inviting presentations from your local emergency management director, RACES officer, National Weather Service meteorologists, police and fire spokespersons with tips about weathering local disasters; invite veterans and the general public
• Consider signing up post members for a local Community Emergency Response Teams [CERT] course/unit (http://www.fema.gov/community-emergency-response-teams )
• Hold a mini-field day at your post or other public location for the purpose of promoting amateur radio
• When All Else Fails: provide brochures and info about obtaining an amateur radio license and
promote the idea through local media. ARRL has a plethora of brochures available.
There are many other activities that can be done with the combined creativity of your post. It's good PR for the Legion, for TALARC, for preparedness and, certainly, for community relations.
Marty Justis, W9WMJ