Members of The American Legion Amateur Radio Club (TALARC) took part in a nationwide communications exercise May 10, exchanging reports with members of the Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) to test and train in using cross-band techniques that could be vital during potential communications emergencies.
Listening on military radio frequencies and transmitting on authorized amateur radio frequencies, TALARC members contacted military stations listening on ham radio channels and transmitting on military frequencies using voice and Morse code modes. Proficiency in moving message traffic via cross-band communication would be an invaluable asset in the event of a large-scale disaster requiring the coordination of military and civilian agencies.
The Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard co-sponsored the annual amateur radio/U.S. military communications test. Because Armed Forces Day on May 17 occurs during the weekend of the largest amateur radio convention in the nation, the Dayton Hamvention, the national exercise is held the week prior for "amateur radio operators to demonstrate their individual technical skills, and to receive recognition from the appropriate military radio station for their proven expertise."
As individual TALARC members communicated with military stations from their radios at home, K9TAL in Indianapolis exchanged cross-band reports with both Army and Navy/Marine Corps stations, ending the day by receiving a congratulatory message from the secretary of defense using digital data protocols. Members who successfully worked military stations will receive a QSL confirmation card; those who successfully copied the secretary's message will received a certificate of commendation.
For the first time since its inception in 2011, TALARC will have a booth at the Hamvention, signing up Legionnaires, SAL and Auxiliary members for free TALARC membership – and, of course, also providing a path to TALARC by processing applications by eligible FCC-licensed military veterans for The American Legion, SAL and The American Legion Auxiliary. Having surpassed the 1,700-member mark recently, TALARC is one of the largest amateur radio clubs in the United States. The Dayton Hamvention is expected to draw more than 25,000 "hams" from across the country and overseas.
To join or get more information about The American Legion Amateur Radio Club, go to www.legion.org/hamradio .