The Young Ladies' Radio League is still going strong today. The membership ebbs and flows with the economy, health, and new ham statistics. It has had a high of approximately 1500 members. The membership numbers vary every year, as do the ages of the members. As of today, the age range of members has been young as seven and as old as 104.
Belonging to YLRL
The original dues for membership in the YLRL in 1939 were 25 cents and inflation has risen a bit since then. Today dues are $15.00 a year and $25.00 for our DX members, which covers 6 issues of YL-Harmonics one being a members only Directory edition.
All dues money goes to the printing of YL-Harmonics, to mailing costs for ballots and renewal forms and any other mailings and supplies, as the Young Ladies’ Radio League, Inc. is a non-profit organization. Under the constitution and by-laws no dues money goes towards the scholarship fund.
Nearly 75 years after that fateful question of are there any YLs out there, the answer is a resounding–the YLs are out there and active! Ethel Smith started an organization that has outlasted its founding mothers, but is still going strong with members all over the world. Though none of the original 12 founding mothers are longer with us, there is at least one member who has earned 64 years of continuous membership and another with 63. A handful of members have 50-55 years of continuous membership as well.
Members are from all walks of life, all ages and all levels of ham radio interest. Whether they got into the hobby to talk to their spouse locally or go around the world to the strangest of places, the one radio interest they have in common is other YLs.
YLRL at Ham Radio Events
Members of the Young Ladies’ Radio League, Inc. can be found at Hamfests all over the world. YLRL members have tables with YLRL themed merchandise, past issues of YL Harmonics, certificate information and brochures.
You may also find YLRL members at these events presenting a YL forum as well. Themes can be anything from the YLRL and its history to local YL clubs and what YLs are currently doing in amateur radio.
Every year at the Dayton Hamvention® in Dayton, OH, the Young Ladies’ Radio League, Inc. and the Buckeye Belles (a local Ohio YL club) share a table to greet YLs in attendance. The YLRL also moderates a YL forum at the event, which this year will be held from 1:00 pm to 2:15 pm on Friday, May 20th.
YL-Only Certificates & Contests
In addition to the certificates the OMs can earn, YLs can also earn certificates and awards that the OMs are not eligible for, including the Continuous Membership certificate and YL-DX certificate (A YL works 25 different YLs outside of her own country).
Each year there is also a YL-only Friendship Award to earn. This year’s award was for working 15 different YLs and collecting a favorite color from each one. The catch? You could not use the same color more than once; however, light blue, blue, dark blue and navy are all considered different colors. Check out the contest pages to see what the annual award is for this year.
Though you may hear YLs on the air in many of the contests throughout the year and in the YL-OM contest, there is one contest that is specifically for YLs to contact each other. It was formerly two contests now combined into one. Held in October, the DX-YL to NA-YL Anniversary Party merges both the DX-YL to North American YL contest and the YL Anniversary Party. It is a YL only contest where YLs in North America try to contact all foreign YLs vice versa. It is held in October, but represents the Anniversary of the start of YLRL.
OMs Can Participate Too!
OMs can also be involved with the YLs and YLRL. While OMs do not have voting rights, they may become a subscriber to YL-Harmonics, if they do not have a licensed YL in the family. OMs can earn many of the certificates given by the Young Ladies’ Radio League Inc., including the YL-Worked All States (for working a YL in each of the 50 states), YL-DXCC (for working YLs in 100 different countries), YL Century Club or YLCC (for working 100 different YLs anywhere) and YL-Worked All Continents (for working a YL on each continent).
The OMs are encouraged to participate in the YL-OM contest each February; in fact they are the very reason for this contest! It is held around the Valentine’s Day weekend and YL-to-YL and OM-to-OM do not count. Clubs and single operators may use CW (Morse code), SSB (voice) or digital modes.
The YLs are still QRV and still on the air