Sunday, April 18, is World Amateur Radio Day (WARD). This year marks the 96th anniversary of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), founded at the 1925 International Radiotelegraph Conference in Paris. ARRL cofounder and first president, Hiram Percy Maxim, 1AW, was there, and today, ARRL is the International Secretariat of the IARU. ARRL has resources that members can use to celebrate WARD, including graphics for social media posts and radio club websites, as well as a printable flyer.
IARU has chosen “Amateur Radio: Home but Never Alone” as the theme for WARD 2021. The theme acknowledges that during our physical distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19, amateur radio stands out as a welcome respite for its variety of activities and opportunities.
Amateur radio experimenters were the first to discover that the HF spectrum was not the wasteland experts of that time considered it to be, but a resource that could support worldwide communication. In the rush to use these shorter wavelengths, amateur radio was “in grave danger of being pushed aside,” IARU history has noted, prompting the founding of the IARU. At the 1927 International Radiotelegraph Convention, amateur radio gained allocations still recognized today — 160, 80, 40, 20, and 10 meters. Over the years, the IARU has worked to give all radio amateurs new bands at 136 kHz, 472 kHz, 5 MHz, 10 MHz, 18 MHz, 24 MHz, and 50 MHz, and a regional European allocation at 70 MHz, and IARU defends those allocations.
The 25 countries that formed the IARU in 1925 have grown to include more than 160 member-societies in three regions. IARU Region 1 includes Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and North 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.
On World Amateur Radio Day, all radio amateurs are invited to take to the airwaves to share global goodwill with other amateurs. ARRL encourages members to promote the value of amateur radio to family and friends, and in their communities. Many volunteer ARRL Public Information Officers and Public Information Coordinators throughout the US use the time leading up to WARD as an opportunity to reach out to the media to share information about amateur radio.
“The amateur radio community has a great story to tell on the occasion of World Amateur Radio Day,” ARRL Product Development Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, said. “While the pandemic has kept many of us at home, radio amateurs have still been able to get on the air.” In June 2020, ARRL Field Day, held annually as amateur radio’s largest on-the-air operating event and demonstration, included nearly 19,000 participants making more than 1.8 million radio contacts in a single weekend.
“Over the last year, many ARRL-affiliated radio clubs and in-person ham radio events have moved their group activities online. This has helped to keep radio amateurs active and involved in the common pursuit of skill, service, and discovery in radio communication and radio technology,” Inderbitzen added.
Coincidentally, the SSB running of the ARRL Rookie Roundup falls on WARD (1800 – 2359 UTC). The event is aimed at hams licensed for 3 years or less. Take the opportunity to wish participants “Happy World Amateur Radio Day 2021” on the air.
Some WARD 2021 Activities around the Globe
- Bahrain: The Amateur Radio Society of Bahrain will operate A91WARD during April 14 – 18, 2021, using SSB, FT8, and DMR modes.
- Canada: Radio Amateurs of Canada are sponsoring a “Get on the Air on World Amateur Radio Day” special event.
- Germany: The Deutscher Amateur Radio Club is operating DA21WARD for WARD, from April 18 through June 30. QSL to DK5ON.
- New Jersey: The Fair Lawn (New Jersey) Amateur Radio Club will operate club station W2NPT on CW and phone throughout the day on April 18. 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.
- Alabama: The Disaster Communication Action Team will operate club station KD1CAT on April 18, in support of WARD. Operation will be on all HF bands.
- VOIP/ECHOLINK *ROC-HAM* Conference node #531091 April 18 – 19, 13:00 – 05:00 UTC (9 AM EDT – 1 AM EDT) via VOIP/ECHOLINK *ROC-HAM* Conference node #531091/Allstar #2585. W2JLD, VO1UKZ, GW8SZL, and 2W0KYH will be net controllers. All stations from around the world are encouraged to check in. A QSL card will be available via SASE.