The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Administrative Council has designated “Amateur Radio: Your Gateway to Wireless Communication” as the theme for World Amateur Radio Day 2014. World Amateur Radio Day is celebrated each year on April 18 to recognize the anniversary of the founding of the IARU in Paris in 1925. ARRL Co-Founder Hiram Percy Maxim, 1AW, was its first president. The primary purpose of World Amateur Radio Day is to focus a public spotlight on Amateur Radio and its benefits to countries and communities. This year the IARU and its more than 150 member-societies will celebrate the organization’s 89th anniversary.
Each year the IARU Administrative Council selects a World Amateur
Radio Day theme that is consistent with the role and purpose of Amateur
Radio and that represents a commendable activity that would cast IARU
and Amateur Radio in a favorable light. When the Administrative Council met
last September in Mexico, attendees discussed various possible topics
and themes, before adopting “Amateur Radio: Your Gateway to Wireless
As the IARU’s history
recounts, in the early 1920s it was generally assumed that the lower
the frequency and the longer the wavelength, the better, and “very large
antennas and very high power were the rule.” Amateur Radio
experimenters were the first to discover that the short wave spectrum,
far from being a wasteland, could support worldwide propagation. As the
rush to shorter wavelengths ensued, however, Amateur Radio, which had
proved the value of this spectrum in the first place, “were in grave
danger of being pushed aside,” the IARU’s history notes.
Adopting the philosophy of strength in numbers, Amateur Radio
pioneers met in Paris in 1925 and created the International Amateur
Radio Union to support Amateur Radio worldwide. Just 2 years later, at
the International Radiotelegraph Conference, Amateur Radio gained the
allocations still recognized today — 160, 80, 40, 20, and 10 meters.
From fewer than 30,000 licensees in 1927, Amateur Radio’s numbers have
grown to 3 million. From the 25 countries that formed the IARU in 1925,
the IARU has grown to include 150 member-societies.
Today IARU is organized into 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.
Several IARU member-societies and associated clubs are expected to
field special event stations to mark the occasion. This year, April 18
is a Friday. When the anniversary falls on a weekday, public relations
activities and operating events marking World Amateur Radio Day take
place during the weekend following April 18. — Thanks to Geoff Atkinson, VK3TL, IARU R3 Director