Every April 18, radio amateurs worldwide take to the airwaves in celebration of World Amateur Radio Day. It was on this day in 1925 that the International Amateur Radio Union was formed in Paris.
Amateur Radio experimenters were the first to discover that the short wave 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 met in Paris in 1925 and created the IARU to support Amateur Radio worldwide.
Just two years later, at the International Radiotelegraph Conference, Amateur Radio gained the allocations still recognized today — 160, 80, 40, 20, and 10 meters. Since its founding, the IARU has worked tirelessly 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 more than 3,000,000 licensed operators!
World Amateur Radio Day is the day when IARU Member-Societies can show our capabilities to the public and enjoy global friendship with other Amateurs worldwide.
Special Theme for World Amateur Radio Day 2021 Announced
The IARU Administrative Council has chosen “Amateur Radio: Home but Never Alone” as the theme for World Amateur Radio Day, Sunday, 18 April 2021. Faced with a pandemic that forced the adoption of extreme physical isolation to reduce the spread of the virus, the worldwide amateur radio community responded positively to overcome the resulting social isolation. In the days and weeks following the onset of the pandemic radio amateurs reached out spontaneously to one another via the airwaves at the local, national, and global levels. Local “wellness nets” provided friendly voices and regular status checks to those, especially the elderly, who are confined to their homes. “Stay safe” special event stations in dozens of countries reminded us all of the importance of limiting the spread of the virus. On-the-air activity was at an unprecedented level throughout the remainder of 2020, with record-breaking numbers of entries in the major contests.
While the development of effective vaccines offers hope for a return to some semblance of normality later in 2021, the pandemic will still be with us when we mark World Amateur Radio Day 2021. This theme offers the opportunity for our member-societies to tailor meaningful messages to the general public about the values of the global amateur radio community.
Groups should promote their WARD activity on social media by using the hash tag #WorldAmateurRadioDay on Twitter and Facebook. IARU will list all WARD activities on this page. To have your WARD activity listed, send an email to IARU Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ.
The Fair Lawn (NJ) Amateur Radio Club will operate club station W2NPT on CW and phone throughout the day on 18 April. In support of the theme of this year’s event the operators will share information about the Health & Welfare Net that the club is running during the pandemic.