Legionnaires will honor their fellow veterans in a special on-the-air tribute on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
Members of The American Legion Amateur Radio Club (TALARC) will operate on the short wave bands from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m., using the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) specially-issued radio call sign – W9L. Any ham radio operators who contact the station are eligible to receive an attractive full-color commemorative certificate.
"Our purpose is to underscore the importance of Veterans Day via the amateur radio community, to salute the men and women who have served our country honorably in uniform, and to recognize the contributions of so many military personnel who served as radio technicians, engineers and members of MARS (Military Affiliate Radio System), passing messages from war zones, at sea and other overseas locations to loved ones back home," said Marty Justis – call sign W9WMJ – president of TALARC. "Were it not for MARS members and radio amateurs back home who relayed radio messages to family and friends in those pre-Internet and pre-email days, hearing the voice of a loved one would have been impossible. It truly meant a lot to us."
Many Americans who received calls from a family member serving in Korea or Vietnam may remember having to constantly say "Over" when they stopped talking on the phone with the relaying ham radio station. That was necessary to let the relay operator know to switch his transmitter off and his receiver on to hear the overseas serviceperson's voice.
"While the Internet has changed much of that, amateur radio today still assists communities in many ways, primarily serving as the quickest and most effective means of communications ‘when all else fails,'" Justis said. "Today, many of The American Legion Amateur Radio Club's 1,500 members are committed to emergency preparedness as well as promoting the hobby, art and science of amateur radio to young and old alike."
Today, there are more than 700,000 federally licensed amateur radio operators in the United States, adding to the worldwide total of 2.6 million. Any ham operator from around the world may contact the TALARC headquarters station and receive the special certificate.
Free membership in The American Legion Amateur Radio Club is available to all FCC-licensed Legionnaires, members of the American Legion Auxiliary, and Sons of The American Legion. Individuals can find out more about TALARC at www.legion.org/hamradio . Click on the "Join TALARC" button to become a member, or on the many resource tabs to find out how to obtain an amateur radio license.
Ham radio operators wishing to contact Special Event Station W9L on Veterans Day should tune to 20 meters – 14.275 MHz USB +/- 5 KHz, IRLP Node 4816, or in Central Indiana to 146.46 MHz simplex or the 145.17 MHz repeater in Hamilton County. After working W9L, send a 9x12 inch self-addressed-stamped-envelope to The American Legion Amateur Radio Club, 700 N. Pennsylvania Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204.
"Anyone who has a shortwave radio – even unlicensed listeners – are welcome to listen in, send us a short report of who you heard in at least two contacts, and send in your certificate request," Justis said. "It's a great way to find out more about amateur radio, more about The American Legion Amateur Radio Club, and one more way to honor our service men and women on Veterans Day."