World Amateur Radio Day (WARD), observed every April 18, marks the founding of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) in 1925. As they do every year, radio amateurs worldwide will take to the airwaves to celebrate Amateur Radio’s contribution to society.
“April 18 is the day for all of Amateur Radio to celebrate and tell the world about the science we can help teach, the community service we can provide, and the fun we have,” the IARU said in announcing World Amateur Radio Day 2016. “We hope you will join in the fun and education that is World Amateur Radio Day!”
Taking note of the increased activity around the world for WARD 2016, ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, pointed out that WARD 2016 coincides with National Parks Week in the US, so listen for amateurs on from NPS units for National Parks on the Air. “ARRL is happy to list coordinated activity from WARD stations worldwide. Send me your activity information, and I will post it to the IARU WARD page.”
Amateur Radio experimenters were the first to discover that the shortwave spectrum — far from being a wasteland — could support worldwide propagation. In the rush to use these shorter wavelengths, Amateur Radio was “in grave danger of being pushed aside,” the IARU’s history has noted. Amateur Radio pioneers — ARRL co-founder Hiram Percy Maxim, 1AW, among them — met in Paris in 1925 and created the IARU to support Amateur Radio worldwide.
As Maxim and his counterparts envisioned, the IARU is an international confederation of national Amateur Radio organizations that allows a forum for common matters of concern and collectively represents matters to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
Just 2 years later, at the International Radiotelegraph Conference, Amateur Radio gained several allocations still recognized today — 160, 80, 40, 20, and 10 meters. Since its founding, the IARU has worked to defend and expand the frequency allocations for Amateur Radio. Thanks to the support of enlightened administrations in every part of the globe, radio amateurs are now able to experiment and communicate in frequency bands strategically located throughout the radio spectrum.
From the 25 countries that formed the IARU in 1925, the IARU has grown to include 160 member-societies in three regions. IARU Region 1 includes Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Northern Asia. Region 2 covers the Americas, and Region 3 is comprised of Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific island nations, and most of Asia. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has recognized the IARU as representing the interests of Amateur Radio.
Today, Amateur Radio is more popular than ever, with over 3,000,000 licensed operators! World Amateur Radio Day is the occasion when IARU member societies can demonstrate Amateur Radio’s capabilities to the public and enjoy global friendship.
Groups should promote their WARD activity on social media by using the hash tag #WARD2016 on Twitter and on Facebook.