June 29, 2013

A word or two from the prez

Amateur Radio Week across the Nation

It was a special time recently in Indy as Indiana Governor Mike Pence declared June 17-23 "Amateur Radio Week" to commemorate over a century of public service by "ham" radio operators in the State of Indiana. The Gov issued a proclamation that drew attention to many of Indiana's 16,000 amateur radio operators, who conducted field day operations throughout the state. Indeed, governors across the country issued similar proclamations as many TALARC members applied sunscreen and insect repellent to operate ARRL Field Day 2013.

The annual nationwide observance provided the opportunity for amateur operators to "hone their skills at emergency communications while operating 'off the grid' on back-up power for 24 hours Saturday and Sunday, June 22 and 23, in fields, forests, parks, parking lots and some downright unique locations using gas generators, batteries and solar power," according to a press release issued by the ARRL. This year once again, about 35,000 of us across America tested our capabilities, broke in some new radios, learned some new tricks, ate unhealthy but great tasting burgers and dogs, and had a great time.

As part of the statewide activities here, Mayor James Brainard made a similar declaration for the City of Carmel, where operations were conducted by the Hamilton County [Indiana] Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service and HCARES Club. Figuring largely in that operation was TALARC member Jerry, W9CZW, also a member of the Hamilton County group.

A highlight of this year's event in Carmel was a Morse Code station where young [and old] visitors received a Certificate of Achievement for sending their initials in Morse Code, after a brief class by licensed amateur operators on hand. A number of them asked about getting their license and were provided all information needed, as well as a VE testing schedule.

In other Field Day activities, I want to send a special thanks to “Doc,” AC8AL, who also serves as adjutant of Sherman Moore Post 297 in Ravenna, Mich. This year he and fellow post TALARC members put on their TALARC shirts and visited local Field Day sites to pass out TALARC brochures, promote The American Legion, SAL, Auxiliary and TALARC. As he noted on the TALARC Forum, “Field Day sites are great places to recruit.”

Many of you, we suspect, were involved with Amateur Radio Week observances and Field Days in your area. If so, please take a couple og minutes to tell others of your operations, via the forum on the TALARC web page. For those of you who may be learning of this annual event for the first time, you may want to look into cooperating with your local RACES, ARES, or other emergency management operations and become part of them now and for the future.

June Nets: Because Net Manager Bill, NZ9S, was on the road this month, there was no IRLP Net conducted in June. But the HF Net certainly did well, and set a record doing it. Big "thank yous" go out to Everett in Maryland, WA3DVO, a TALARC volunteer alternate net control, and to Bob, W7UT, in Utah, who relayed communications to Everett and/or Craig [W3CRR], TALARC net control in Maryland. Their work, over a busy one-hour period, allowed them to log 52 station check-ins in spite of some marginal conditions on 40 meters. Things are definitely picking up as the word gets out about the nets and their operation gets "refined."

Nets are regularly scheduled for the second Saturday of the month. The next Nets – HF and IRLP – are set for Saturday, July 13. Information on time and freqs will be forthcoming and we will notify the TALARC membership via email, along with a posting on the website.

TALARC Membership: As a club, TALARC continues to grow in numbers. Although new member activity is greatest near times of special events, the numbers continue to climb steadily week by week. This month our roster shows more than 1,370 TALARC members; most are Legionnaires, but many are members of the American Legion Auxiliary or the Sons of the American Legion. All of them, of course, are licensed amateur radio operators.

The Legion and the Department of Homeland Security: Professional staff at the Legion's National Headquarters are currently working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] to update the current memorandum of agreement between the Legion and DHS/FEMA. The updated agreement is expected to set out specific activities for both FEMA and the Legion that could have both entities collaborating for the benefit of those affected by natural or manmade disasters.

Station Ops Tentatively Set for Fall 2013: One item yet on the TALARC drawing board is the establishing of scheduled K9TAL station operations, midday, several times a month. This is being designed to allow our members to contact National Headquarters at times that, for some, are more advantageous than the monthly Nets ... and to get a K9TAL National Club HQ QSL card. To be sure, we will give top billing to the start-up of this particular operation, with information on days/dates/times and frequencies both HF and IRLP. Keep an eye out for it.

Happy Independence Day to everyone. Don't forget to fly your flag on July 4th . . . and every other day, too!!!

Marty Justis, W9WMJ
TALARC President