With 700,000 federally licensed amateur radio operators, or “hams,” in the United States, The American Legion has formed a special entity to provide a forum for military veterans who today are engaged in a hobby that can also provide emergency communications “when all else fails.”
During Spring Meetings May of 2011, the National Executive Committee authorized the establishment of The American Legion Amateur Radio Club (TALARC). TALARC has created a "shack" in the national headquarters and their first contact and net occurred in December of 2011.
Membership is free to members of The American Legion family. Reports will be made available via Legion media as progress is made on developing the station. If you are currently a licensed Amateur Radio operator and an American Legion member you can join the club by sending your call sign, name, Legion ID and email address to email@example.com.
TALARC sponsors nets with participation welcomed for all licensed Legion members and interested guests:
For the current TALARC net schedule click TALARC NETS
The California American Legion Amateur Radio Service is an orginization of California Hams who are also Legion members. There is no requirment for membership other than an Amateur Radio license. Members and guests are invited to check in to our Sunday nets.
CALARS runs an HF net on 40 Meters, 7.278 MHz at 1:00 PM Pacific time every Sunday.
CALARS runs an EchoLink net on Conference Server *FMCA-ARC* at 1:30 PM Pacific time every Sunday.
CALARS has a Yahoo Group where all California Legion members who have a Ham license or are interested in getting one are invited to join. Information about IRLP and EchoLink plus information about the upcoming net can be found on the group page. Please enter your email address below to join the group or send and email including your name, Post affiliation, and call sign, if any, to CALARSfirstname.lastname@example.org .
Getting an Amateur Radio Technician Class license is now easier than ever. There is no longer a requirement to learn Morse code. You must simply pass a 35 question multiple choice test. Post 318 members interested in finding out more about getting an Amateur Radio license should send your contact information to email@example.com and/or visit the ARRL Website.
For a schedule of Amateur Radio license test sessions in the San Jose area see the Sillicon Valley VE Group Website
The American Legion and Amateur Radio
Over the years, countless members of the U.S. military were trained as technicians or engineers, and later obtained amateur-radio licenses to continue to use their abilities at home, as both recreation and a public-service commitment.
“The beauty of amateur radio is that it attracts folks of all career interests, from doctors, Ph.Ds, engineers, rocket scientists to mechanics, housewives, construction and office workers, students and everything in between,” said Robert L. Morrill, chairman of the Legion’s Public Relations Commission. “Hams provide backup communications to emergency management agency offices across the country when ‘all else fails,’ and have done so with distinction in virtually every major disaster, when cell towers and commercial communications have been knocked out after earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and man-made disasters.”
The club has established an amateur radio station at National Headquarters in Indianapolis in order to conduct special operations on Veterans Day and Memorial Day, and to conduct regular “nets” of licensed hams who will be able to ask questions about veterans benefits and how participants might get help with their claims.
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. Amateur-radio support was an integral entity.
“The potential to serve here is limitless,” Morrill said. “Legionnaires who are hams can help others get licensed, coordinate with local emergency authorities, provide counseling and assistance to schools, and a whole array of other support.
“While some people may think that ham radio is an old technology, the simple truth is that hams were working with digital transmissions long before folks had home computers, and they provided the impetus to make ‘wireless’ happen. They were transmitting emergency calls from their cars long before anyone had a mobile phone to do the same. Today, hams are conducting broad spectrum experiments on the ham bands, that may eventually become routine ways to communicate for all of us.”
Message From The American Legion Amateur Radio Club (TALARC) January 30, 2012
Nothing would please the headquarters group more than to have TALARC members visit the Legion's National Headquarters and see "their" station, and as time and proximity to downtown Indy allows, volunteer their time and talents to assist with routine net operations or with special events. As much as possible, let us know in advance if you want to visit, or if you are able to help with a scheduled net, by contacting Club Station Trustee Joe March, KJ9M (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Communications within the Club
Those in the know at National Headquarters tell me that the TALARC forum is the most popular one on the Legion website. [You folks make me so proud!] Let's keep it that way by visiting the forum regularly, register a comment or concern, "work" other members, or tell us all about the best practices of your club or group.
The Club operations center is about as complete as can be – given space available – to be a fully functioning radio room.
The latest equipment donations to the Club include an AT-250 antenna tuner to match our secondary rig, and an electronic keyer for CW mode. Now, for those of you who have a special appreciation for Samuel Morse, don't go getting too terribly excited about this innovation. At least not just yet. Several of the headquarters staff copy code well, but most of us are in need of substantial keying practice in order to keep the frustration levels low – yours and ours.
Establishing a Post amateur radio station
The following item is a distilled email message issued recently by K9TAL Club secretary Bill Sloan, KC9ANG, to one of our members. It's both interesting and informative. It addresses the question of post participation in emergency management, with a touch of history rolled in. The email carried the subject: "Establishing Post Amateur Radio Station."
The Legion's initial purpose in forming TALARC was to encourage posts to consider establishing amateur radio stations and advance a hobby thought to be popular with our members. But it has become very apparent that many posts are light-years ahead of National.
Some decades ago, and as early as the 1930s, The American Legion's National Security Commission encouraged posts to become part of The American Legion “Amateur Radio Network” in support of civil defense. We even published and distributed a radio instructional course in the 1950s ... and posts around the country formed groups for ham radio operations.
Today, many of those groups have survived. More to the point, with the passage of Resolution 97, passed by National Convention delegates in Salt Lake City in 2006, which stated national encouragement for American Legion posts to become involved with Homeland Security, our organization resolved to encourage all posts and departments to develop emergency kits and plans, work closely with the Citizen Corps and local FEMA offices and public safety agencies, and generally become involved with emergency disaster planning. Soon after, we developed and published a pamphlet on Disaster Preparedness and Response, outlining steps any local post can take to be ready to respond effectively during civil or natural disasters.
Ham radio is a natural fit, and we've seen a resurgence among our members who have been licensed hams for many years, and a great deal of interest from members interested in getting a ham license. Many are military-trained but have had no reason until now to pursue a ham license.
If you haven't already gotten a copy somewhere, let me send you the Disaster Preparedness and Response publication ... I'll put it in the mail today. Very useful for setting up a post program inclusive of both hams and interested members who would like to start setting up a community emergency response plan. Hopefully you can help many members get their license, and also bring in local hams to assist, even join, the post's new station.
TALARC Club Secretary
Thanks to Bill for this brief overview of how the Legion came into amateur radio and what we are, and definitely should be about, as an organization. 73s,
Marty Justis, W9WMJ, President
The American Legion Amateur Radio Club