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 2023
The International Amateur Radio Union announces that Human Security for All, HS4A, will be the theme of World Amateur Radio Day on 18 April 2023. For the first time, the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security and the World Academy of Art and Science are partnering with IARU in a campaign to highlight the role that amateur radio plays in addressing the world’s most pressing needs.
Human Security measures security at the individual level. First introduced by the U.N. in 1994, the concept identifies seven interrelated dimensions of security that are essential to an individual’s wellbeing: economic, food, health, environmental, personal, community and political.
The partners believe Amateur Radio is uniquely positioned to address people-centered, context-specific security challenges by promoting technical knowledge, practical skills, innovative technology, and the deployment of backup systems at the community level that can be called upon in times of emergency. The pandemic, climate change, natural disasters, and armed conflicts on several continents undermine our security and respect no boundaries. Amateur Radio has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to address human security needs. It is a truly global communications medium comprising some three million radio enthusiasts connecting communities and the peoples of the world.
IARU, a federation of the national amateur radio societies of over 150 countries worldwide, is the global advocate for amateur radio through its Sector Membership in the International Telecommunication Union, an agency of the U.N., and other activities. In celebration of World Amateur Radio Day, IARU and its member-societies will be conducting a special two-week on-the-air event 11–25 April. Special event stations will be operating from around the world, making two-way radio contacts to call attention to the HS4A campaign. For more information, please visit the HS4A site.