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Calling all SAL ‘hams’

Featured in Sons of the Legion

We’re looking for federally licensed "ham" radio operators who are members of the Sons of The American Legion.

More than 1,300 members have joined The American Legion Amateur Radio Club (TALARC) since its establishment by the Legion’s National Executive Committee in May 2011. Amateur radio operators, traditionally called "hams," have signed on from coast to coast.

Based at National Headquarters in Indianapolis, the club station call sign is K9TAL to reflect The American Legion. Established for the promotion of interest in amateur radio communication, experimentation and education as well as participation in emergency communications in the event of disasters or other emergencies, members are encouraged to get involved at their posts, squadrons and units as well as participate in national Legion radio networks.

In January 2005, the Legion signed an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security to support emergency disaster preparedness. Subsequently, the Disaster Preparedness Booklet was made available to posts and squadrons. Amateur-radio support was an integral entity.

There are more than 700,000 federally licensed amateur radio operators, or "hams," in the United States, who today are engaged in a hobby that can also provide emergency communications when all else fails.

"Floods, earthquakes, hurricanes and major storms can cripple or shut down traditional communication avenues such as landline phones, cell phones, radio and television," said Robert Morrill, chairman of the National Public Relations Commission. "Amateur radio operators have the capability to quickly fill in communications gaps. It is widely known that ‘hams’ played an important part in facilitating communications following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in Washington, D.C., and in New York."

TALARC conducts "Special Event" station operations such as on The American Legion’s Birthday in March and on Veterans Day. The events provide an opportunity for licensed hams to ask questions about The American Legion Amateur Radio Club and receive a special commemorative certificate for contacting the headquarters station.

"The beauty of amateur radio is that it attracts folks of all career interests, from physicians, PhDs, and engineers to mechanics, housewives, construction and office workers, students and everything in between," said Joe March, director of the Legion’s Public Relations Division and membership chairman for TALARC. "The potential to serve here is limitless. Legionnaires and SAL members who are hams can help others get licensed, coordinate with local emergency authorities, and provide a whole array of other support."

Check out The American Legion Amateur Radio Club website at www.legion.org/hamradio and join the nation’s fastest growing amateur radio club – for free. You can sign up online at the website and a TALARC membership card will be on its way to you. Membership is open to all members of The American Legion Family.

Get the brochure, "Amateur Radio & The American Legion" by sending a request to pr@legion.org or download it here.

Not licensed but would like to get an amateur radio license or find out more about this rapidly growing hobby? The website is loaded with information on how to do that too.

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