April 28, 2014

Membership, the life-blood of the Legion and the doorway to TALARC

Legion membership chairmen understand the first part of this article's title, that membership is the life-blood of the Legion. Said differently: without members, the Legion wouldn't exist. That's obvious, of course, but what often escapes our consciousness is that any loss in membership affects the flow of that blood. At times, the loss of a single member can dilute an important program or service, and with that lessen a post's effectiveness in the community. This same analogy is appropriate for the membership of The American Legion Amateur Radio Club. Loss of even one member can impact our collective efforts.
Going one step further, and re-stating the last half of the title, in order to be a TALARC member you must first be in good standing as a Legionnaire, SAL or Auxiliary member. Good standing means being current with your annual dues.
Legion Birthday and Veterans Day operations have typically brought in 12 to 15 new members during those special events over the last three years. That's a nice plus for club membership. On the other side of the balance scales, however, are the "silent keys," 20 of whom we are aware of at this time. Add to this loss a much higher number – those who are delinquent in the payment of their annual Legion dues.
The TALARC membership roster recently reached 1,705. Within this number, however, 130 – about 8 percent – have not renewed their dues for 2014. Four American Legion departments account for about half that number. That is, potentially, a significant loss.
But this deficit can be alleviated, and here's how.
Reach for your wallet and look at the date on your American Legion membership card. If it doesn't show "2014" you are behind in your dues and technically ineligible for the Radio Club. Talk with Radio Club members in your area, and ask them to ensure their Legion dues are current so their TALARC membership remains in place. Those not carrying a 2014 card should contact their post membership chairman. He or she will be as happy to hear from you as we will be happy knowing you are again in good standing.
The American Legion Amateur Radio Club is doing well, and with greater numbers we can become of greater service in our communities. Each of us has something to bring to this table that we call amateur radio. Each of us can make a difference for the better by maintaining our membership in both the Legion and its Radio Club.
Looking for a great day to take your HF radio to the post? ...Then plan on taking your HF rig down to your post on Saturday, May 10, and showing your comrades the utility, fun and purpose of amateur radio by participating in the 2014 Armed Forces Crossband Test. Work military MARS stations crossband and demonstrate the value of amateur radio by communicating with these stations in a fashion that might someday be necessary in a real emergency; after all, that's one of the purposes of TALARC. Details are in the news section of this TALARC page, www.legion.org/hamradio.

Dayton Hamvention 2014 – Reminder
National HQ staff will be on hand at the Hara Arena Complex at Dayton, manning a booth during the May 16 - 18 Dayton Hamvention 2014.
Several TALARC members have contacted HQ to say they'll be there, too, and will assist the staff with operation of the booth. The TALARC exhibit booth is NH0245, located in the North Hall area of the Exhibit Hall. If you're at the event, be sure to stop by and say hello.
Information on Dayton Hamvention 2014 is at www.hamvention.org.

The American Legion Amateur Radio Club HF Net Schedule
Fishing around for a better day and time to boost participation on the 20-meter net, we moved the established 2nd Saturday operations to a Friday in April. That change didn't rise to our expectations and in May we will return to the Saturday schedule, as noted below.
2 Meters, IRLP/EchoLink, 2nd Saturday of each month, 1800 UTC, with Bill, NZ9S
75 Meters, every Saturday, 3.919 MHz, 0200 UTC, with Art, KG4EYG
40 Meters, 2nd Sunday of each month, 7.238 MHz, 2200 UTC [This Net is tentative]
20 Meters, 2nd Saturday of each month, 14.280 MHz, 1700 UTC, with Bill, KIØCW

IRLP Net Expansion
The combined IRLP/EchoLink® net change that was instituted for the April net realized great participation and plans are to maintain this operation.
For licensed hams, and particularly for technicians, EchoLink® opens up new possibilities for communicating around the world with other amateurs. The great benefit in EchoLink® is that there is no reliance on repeaters. Your PC, even your smartphone, can link you to any of thousands of other stations over the Internet.
To use EchoLink®, licensed amateurs must register and download the EchoLink® software. Information about EchoLink®, a free PC based software, is on the TALARC forum, www.legion.org/hamradio; and at http://echolink.org.
Stations using EchoLink® should connect to the *CROSSRDS* Conference, node 9735. Those without access to EchoLink® can continue to participate using IRLP procedures, as has been customary. Connect to IRLP node 9735 on the Crossroads Annex Reflector, which allows both IRLP and Echolink users to participate.

Wrap-up on March Special Event
Just over 300 QSOs were logged for the March 15 Legion Birthday special event operation. Just under 100 members have requested and received their commemorative certificate for the event. If you're one of the 200 who have yet to secure your certificate, send a 9x12 SASE to TALARC, The American Legion National HQ, P.O. Box 1055, Indianapolis, IN 46206. Do that and you'll receive a QSL card along with the certificate.

Change in TALARC HQ Staff
As occasionally occurs, staff at National Headquarters move around in, and out of, the organization. Recently Craig, W3CRR, moved on. The vice president's position he held is now occupied by Bill, NZ9S, who is also an assistant director in the Internal Affairs Division at NHQ. Bill's former position as secretary for TALARC has been secured by Mike, W9MNA, who is also an audiovisual specialist in the Media and Communications Division at NHQ.

I'm looking forward to greeting a good number of our members at the Hamvention next month. Hope to see you there!

Marty Justis, W9WMJ, President
The American Legion Amateur Radio Club
Indianapolis, Indiana