January 28, 2013
A word or two from the Prez...
New Year, New Opportunities for TALARC
Happy New Year! It's 2013 and The American Legion Amateur Radio Club is headed into its third year as a sanctioned program of the Legion. We are growing, we are reaching out within our communities, and a good number of individual TALARC members are evidencing just who and what The American Legion is, locally and nationally. We are doing very well for our "age" as a club, and like any budding association, great opportunities lie before us. These are opportunities for service, for camaraderie, and for growth.
Just this month, membership in TALARC has pushed over the 1,070-member mark as word gets out about our existence. Membership continues to grow steadily. From our vantage point at National Headquarters we see spikes in membership now and then. This is typical after a TALARC Special Event Station goes on the air, or when American Legion department newsletters run a piece about Legion amateurs and, of course, around Veterans Day, when K9TAL is working the bands. These same types of activities, conducted locally, can bring amateurs to your post, enhance your radio operations, and bolster your post's membership. New members bring new ideas and new enthusiasm and can certainly heighten our effectiveness as a radio club as well as a veterans service organization.
Being as large a club as we are, we receive occasional requests for the membership roster. That request could come from our members who only want to know who else in their area is a TALARC member, or it may come from an outside entity that, yes, you guessed it, would like to solicit the membership. Our response in both cases is the same. The National Headquarters of The American Legion is prohibited by its own policies from releasing a member's personal information. It's a safeguard for you as a member as well as for the Legion as a corporation, and it's a policy that is vigorously enforced.
This month we were unable to operate the IRLP Net, but 20 meters was buzzing around the nation on the second Saturday in January. Craig, W3CRR, and Bill, KI0CW, are doing a great job as HF Net Control, but there are still situations where members are not heard, or the traffic is so "robust" that Net Control just can't log everyone. Suggestions from several of you who participate in the Nets may help that situation and we hope to soon employ a check-in system done by call area to reduce QRM and ease the job for Net Control. Other ideas include more Nets on different days, at different hours. That, of course, calls for more Assistant Net Control operators. Anyone who can volunteer their time, talent and facilities are asked to contact Net Control Manager Craig Roberts at: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Good ideas abound
We recently heard from Bob, AD7IL, in Washington state with an idea that sure seems to have merit. It is aimed at VA hospital patients – those whose injuries could be severe, but whose desires to learn aren't inhibited by their disabilities. Bob's idea is to offer amateur radio instruction to disabled veterans interested in becoming ham operators.
Interestingly enough, during one of TALARC's Special Event Station operations we worked a club station at the Loma Linda, California, VA Hospital. Four ham operators there started an amateur radio club with the purpose of emergency communications, but it turned out to be a source of greater benefits. Their club call sign is W6VAH and anyone interested in their activities can find them on QRZ.com. Resident on their page is a nice write-up about the VA Hospital Club and information on their net operations. If your group is in the vicinity of VA facilities and your members have the desire to reach out, we're sure that the good folks at W6VAH would be happy to give you an earful that could help you get started.
Around the country
A right hand salute of respect and admiration goes to the Martins – Paula, KB3TCH and Jerry, KB3NZJ – at American Legion Post 28 in Oak Orchard/Riverdale, Delaware, for sending us snapshots of their operation during Veterans Day 2012 activities at which they promoted TALARC and The American Legion Riders. They give new emphasis to the deep-rooted term “American Legion Family.”
Paula is a member of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 28 and Jerry, of course, is a member of the Post. More information about their work and photos of what they and others are doing around the country are on the K9TAL website: www/legion.org/hamradio. Check it out.
Nothing pleases us more than to get photos of amateur radio activities at your post or in connection with functions of your district or department of the Legion. So, remember, next time your group – or just you alone – is working an event or at a meeting that involves amateur radio and the Legion, send us a photo so we can share it with others via the K9TAL website.
Marty – W9WMJ