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The Inter­na­tion­al Ama­teur Radio Union (IARU) is the world­wide fed­er­a­tion of nation­al ama­teur radio orga­ni­za­tions. The mem­ber­ship of the IARU con­sists of more than 160 mem­ber-soci­eties in as many coun­tries and sep­a­rate territories.

Coun­tries with IARU Mem­ber Soci­eties shown in yellow

The IARU was found­ed at a meet­ing in Paris in 1925 as the inter­na­tion­al rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Ama­teur Radio move­ment. At the time the “short waves” were just begin­ning to be under­stood and to be exploit­ed for glob­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion using pow­er lev­els and anten­nas that were with­in reach of pri­vate indi­vid­u­als oper­at­ing from their own homes. These radio ama­teurs need­ed an orga­ni­za­tion to coor­di­nate their activ­i­ties and to be their voice at inter­na­tion­al conferences.

How is IARU organised?

The IARU Con­sti­tu­tion has been revised sev­er­al times. The cur­rent Con­sti­tu­tion was adopt­ed in 1984 and amend­ed slight­ly in 1989. It rec­og­nizes three region­al orga­ni­za­tions rep­re­sent­ing the three radio regions that are defined by the ITU for fre­quen­cy allo­ca­tion pur­pos­es. Each region­al orga­ni­za­tion is autonomous and oper­ates in accor­dance with its own Constitution.

The pol­i­cy and man­age­ment of the IARU are car­ried out by its Admin­is­tra­tive Coun­cil, made up of the three IARU offi­cers (Pres­i­dent, Vice Pres­i­dent and Sec­re­tary) and two rep­re­sen­ta­tives from each of the three region­al orga­ni­za­tions. The Admin­is­tra­tive Coun­cil nor­mal­ly meets annu­al­ly, usu­al­ly in con­junc­tion with a region­al conference.

The Inter­na­tion­al Sec­re­tari­at of the IARU is the ARRL, the nation­al asso­ci­a­tion for ama­teur radio in the Unit­ed States. 

The three IARU Regions are organ­ised to broad­ly mir­ror the struc­ture of the Inter­na­tion­al Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Union (ITU) and its relat­ed region­al telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions organ­i­sa­tions. The Regions comprise:

  • IARU Region 1: Europe, Africa, the Mid­dle East and North­ern Asia
  • IARU Region 2: The Americas
  • IARU Region 3: Asia-Pacific

What does IARU do for radio amateurs?

The IARU rep­re­sents the inter­ests of the Ama­teur Radio Ser­vice world­wide to rel­e­vant inter­na­tion­al organ­i­sa­tions, pro­mot­ing the inter­ests of ama­teur radio and seek­ing to pro­tect and enhance its spec­trum privileges. 

Over the years, the IARU has worked hard 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. In addi­tion to that, the IARU has obtained:

  • Exten­sion of the 7 MHz ama­teur band in Regions 1 and 3.
  • Exten­sive improve­ments in inter­na­tion­al roam­ing for radio amateurs.
  • Sig­nif­i­cant progress towards inter­na­tion­al cer­tifi­cate har­mon­i­sa­tion at “full” lev­el and now at entry level.
  • Exten­sive rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the Work­ing Par­ties of ITU and at World Radio­com­mu­ni­ca­tion Conferences.
  • Sen­si­ble emis­sion stan­dards from PLT sys­tems, involv­ing much work in the inter­na­tion­al stan­dards forums.
  • Sup­port for the devel­op­ment of ama­teur radio in devel­op­ing countries.

How does the IARU inter­act with the ITU and oth­er inter­na­tion­al bodies?

IARU seeks to work col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly with organ­i­sa­tions which influ­ence spec­trum allo­ca­tions and with oth­ers where the objec­tives of ama­teur radio align.

The IARU is recog­nised by the Unit­ed Nations as a Non-Gov­ern­men­tal Organ­i­sa­tion (NGO) by virtue of its con­sul­ta­tive sta­tus with oth­er Unit­ed Nations bod­ies, i.e. Inter­na­tion­al Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion Union (ITU). The ITU recog­nis­es the IARU as an inter­na­tion­al organ­i­sa­tion (CV/Art.19, No. 231).

IARU has worked with the ITU for near­ly a cen­tu­ry and is a Sec­tor Mem­ber of the Radio­com­mu­ni­ca­tion Sec­tor (ITU‑R), play­ing a full part in the work of ITU‑R as it affects ama­teur radio spec­trum, and also of the Devel­op­ment Sec­tor (ITU‑D), relat­ing to devel­op­ing coun­tries and emer­gency communication.

In 1947 the IARU was one of the first inter­na­tion­al orga­ni­za­tions to enter into a for­mal agree­ment with the Unit­ed Nations Orga­ni­za­tion for sup­port and coop­er­a­tion. Today the IARU is in con­sul­ta­tive sta­tus with ECOSOC.

Since then, IARU has devel­oped close work­ing rela­tion­ships with the Region­al Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Organ­i­sa­tions (in most cas­es through a for­mal MoU):

In EMC, IARU is a Liai­son part­ner of CISPR, the Inter­na­tion­al Spe­cial Com­mit­tee on Radio Inter­fer­ence, which defines glob­al EMC stan­dards affect­ing radio com­mu­ni­ca­tions, and also a full mem­ber of ETSI, the Euro­pean Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Stan­dard­i­s­a­tion Insti­tute. IARU con­tributes to, and is active­ly involved in, meet­ings of both organisations.

Oth­er inter­na­tion­al organ­i­sa­tions with which IARU is asso­ci­at­ed include the IFRC (Inter­na­tion­al Fed­er­a­tion of Red Cross and Red Cres­cent Soci­eties) with whom we have a for­mal MoU.

How is the IARU organ­i­sa­tion struc­tured and how are its offi­cers appointed?

World­wide the Admin­is­tra­tive Coun­cil (AC) leads the IARU. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of each Region pro­pose can­di­dates for Pres­i­dent and Vice-Pres­i­dent of the IARU, whose term of office is five years.

Who are the IARU Officers?

IARU Pres­i­dent Tim Ellam, VE6SH

The IARU Pres­i­dent is Tim Ellam, VE6SH. Tim is serv­ing his third five-year term, first elect­ed to the post in 2009 after serv­ing one term as Vice Pres­i­dent begin­ning in 2004. 

IARU Vice Pres­i­dent
Ole Garpes­tad, LA2RR

Ole Garpes­tad, LA2RR, is Vice Pres­i­dent. Ole was also elect­ed in 2009 and is serv­ing his third five-year term.

IARU Sec­re­tary
Joel Har­ri­son, W5ZN

The IARU Sec­re­tary is appoint­ed by the Inter­na­tion­al Sec­re­tari­at, ARRL. Joel Har­ri­son, W5ZN, was appoint­ed Sec­re­tary effec­tive 1 July 2021.

Print This Page Updated on January 4, 2022

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