The Young Ladies Radio League
The Young Ladies’ Radio League, Inc. originated in 1939, when one YL wanted to see if there were any others out there. Thus 12 women banded together in a male dominated activity, growing an organization that reaches around the world.
The YLRL (Young Ladies' Radio League) exists to encourage and assist YLs (Young Ladies) throughout the world to enter into the Amateur Radio Service. There are a variety of interests to offer licensed YLs: Traffic Handling, Public Service, ARES, Contests, Awards, DX, etc., on AM, CW, SSB, FM, RTTY, AMTOR, Packet and Satellite. Of course, there are the infinite benefits derived from just plain gal-to-gal rag-chewing and the resulting friendships. You are always welcome in any YLRL activity. Come on in—the YLs are anxious to meet you!
Nearly 79 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 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.
Since the Young Ladies’ Radio League, Inc. is an organization with members all over the world, it isn’t easy to catch up over a Saturday morning breakfast. So after much planning, the YLs descended on the Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, CA for the first International YLRL Convention on June 24-26, 1955.
The convention committee was comprised of members of the Los Angeles Young Ladies Radio Club, which also hosted the event. Members from all over the continental United States, Hawaii, Alaska and the Canal Zone were in attendance. OMs were invited as well and tours were provided for them while the ladies got down to business.
The second YLRL convention was held in conjunction with the 9th National ARRL convention and drew the largest licensed YL attendance ever recorded at the time–nearly 100 female Hams from 24 states, representing all the different call districts and one DX YL from Mexico. President Dwight D. Eisenhower included the YLs in a congratulatory message to the convention.
“Please give my congratulations to the members of the American Radio Relay League and to the International Young Ladies’ Radio League jointly on the occasion of their 9th [YLRLs second] national amateur radio convention,” he wrote.
Conventions since then have been held every three or four years so that they would always be held during an anniversary year. The location varies depending on who and which club has volunteered to take up the task. Conventions have been held all over the United States coast to coast including Albany, New York; Denver, Colorado; Honolulu, Hawaii; and on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA.
The next convention was July 21-14, 2011 in Quincy, MA, near Boston. The Women Radio Operators of New England (WRONE) were the hosting club and make up the current convention committee with Anne Manna, WB1ARU, as convention chairwoman.
In 2018 It will be in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA!
What we do
Encourage all YL's
The Young Ladies’ Radio League also provides two scholarships of $1500.00 each year. These scholarships are offered in memory of two of the founding mothers– Ethel Smith, K4LMB, and Mary Lou Brown, NM7M. The Mary Lou Brown scholarship was created posthumously to honor her immense contribution to the organization. She was not only a past President, but was extremely active with the scholarship. After her death it seemed fitting to honor her with a scholarship in her name.
The scholarships are granted to “worthy Young Ladies for continuing their education, with preference given to those in the academic study of communications and electronics or related arts and sciences” as according to the YLRL by-laws. A ham license is currently mandatory for all scholarships being administered by the Foundation for Amateur Radio as these two scholarships are.
YLs can find each other on the air during YL nets. OMs may not be allowed to participate during a YL-only net, but YLs are often happy to stick around afterward and talk to them. It is a great way to find YLs for the YL certificates.
YL-only nets include, but are not limited to: The Tangle Net on Thursdays at 1800 UTC on14.297 MHz, the DX-YL Net on Mondays 1500 UTC on 14.280 to .290 MHz and the Unofficial YLRL Net held Thursday evenings.
The YLRL Net tries to get as many women on as possible by operating in the general portions of the ham bands and starts 02:00 UTC (1 hour earlier in summer-Daylight Savings) on the 20 meter band and moves to the 40 meter band at 02:30 UTC depending on conditions. Frequencies for the YLRL Net are +/- so as not to interfere with active conversations, but the net can be found near 14.288 MHz and 7.194 MHz.