Last month this newsletter drew attention to interest in, or start-up of, Legion post-affiliated radio clubs. Five or six new ones were mentioned, some of which are yet in the formative stages, while others are functioning as a group complete with gear and a club call sign. This recent activity is encouraging, and it's obvious because it has generated inquiry to the Legion's National Headquarters from those still holding the idea of post affiliation and looking for help to make it happen.
The previous paragraph addresses member interest, as noted in the headline. And to the second point, participation, we are pleased to note the following.
Within the last month three new TALARC nets have been established. One is an IRLP/EchoLink combined net; another is the addition of a second D-Star net; and the third is the addition of an 80-meter net that will operate weekly.
The D-Star addition is compliments of Mark W2UIS, who has anchored the D-Star net for some time. Running the existing evening net at 9 p.m. Eastern, and wanting to accommodate folks on both coasts and everywhere in between, Mark recently added a midnight [Eastern] D-Star net on the first Monday of each month. This done to give convenient and timely access to the net, particularly, for those west of the Mississippi.
And speaking of Mississippi, our hats are off to Don KA5DON, and the members of the Gautier American Legion Post 1992 Jim Leist Memorial Amateur Radio Club, call sign K5TAL, for taking the reins on a weekly 80-meter net. Don, who is trustee for the club, tells us that K5TAL hosts a net every Wednesday on or near 3.862 MHz at 7 p.m. Central, which is 12 a.m. UTC [0000 Hours]. TALARC members from Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas, "and anywhere else," says Don, are welcome and encouraged to join in the net. It is also open to all ham operators, regardless of veteran status or affiliation.
Now, for those needing help with garnering support from your post leadership for a post-affiliated club, know that National Headquarters can provide that, and in several ways. First is by direct contact with Bill NZ9S, trustee for K9TAL and vice president of TALARC. Bill is available via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bill is well versed on both amateur radio matters and Legion post operations.
Second is through use of the TALARC website at www.legion.org/hamradio. There you'll find information about The American Legion Amateur Radio Club and its station [K9TAL] along with general information about amateur radio – what it's about, how to become licensed, and why ham radio is a great "fit" within the Legion. Each of these subjects can help to answer the question you're likely to get: "Why a radio club in a Legion post?"
Click on "Club Resources" for help in forming a club, and review the brochure Amateur Radio and The American Legion, as well as Articles of Organization, Base Station Equipment Lists and more.
While forming a radio club from existing post members might be relatively easy, the prospect of funding the start-up of a radio station can be far more challenging. When you get to this point, consider that there likely are other radio clubs or emergency management agencies – not to mention other ham operators – who are regularly looking to upgrade their equipment. Some agencies may be willing, as a public service on their part, to "donate" equipment to an American Legion post rather than selling it for cents on the dollar. Check in your area for individuals or groups who might be willing to assist in this way. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that there are folks who are ready and willing to assist The American Legion in furthering community service through amateur radio.
Ham radio is an interesting and enjoyable hobby as well as an invaluable resource “when all else fails.” When severe weather, natural disasters or other catastrophes strike and power lines and cell phone towers are knocked out, ham radio has always stood up to serve communities across the nation. There is also a more relaxed, more visible and more regular use for amateur radio that can be done through augmenting communications and safety efforts during parades, marathons, outings, and other public or Legion-sponsored events in your area. These are good thoughts to offer to your post leadership when looking to garner their support for an American Legion Amateur Radio Club within your post.
Certificate. For those who QSL'd with K9TAL for the Legion Birthday Special Event on March 11, don't forget that you have a QSL card and a personalized SE Certificate coming that will be sent upon receipt from you of a 9-by-12 inch self-addressed stamped envelope to:
The American Legion National Headquarters
700 N. Pennsylvania Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Combined IRLP/EchoLink Net. Last month's combined IRLP/EchoLink net had a decent turn-out, given it was the start-up of a mid-week, evening net. It will continue to meet on the second Wednesday of each month at 9 p.m. Eastern Time [0100Z].
The IRLP node is 9735. The EchoLink conference node is *CROSSRDS* which also operates on the 9735 Node. As such, those calling in via the *CROSSRDS* EchoLink Conference node will hear those calling in on IRLP node 9735, and vice versa.
For those who participate in the existing EchoLink net on the *FMCA-ARC* conference node, note that *FMCA-ARC* net will continue on the second Saturday of each month at noon Eastern.
Hamvention 2017. If you are planning to be at Hamvention this year, please stop by the TALARC booth, Number 6609 at the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center, Xenia, Ohio. Headquarters staff and volunteers will be on hand for the three-day weekend event, May 19-21. Hope to see you there.
Information on Hamvention and its new location is at Hamvention.org.