World Amateur Radio Day (WARD) on Tuesday, April 18, will mark the 92nd anniversary of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), and radio amateurs around the world will take to the airwaves to celebrate the day in 1925 that the IARU was formed in Paris. “Celebrating Amateur Radio’s Contribution to Society” is the WARD theme.
Amateur Radio experimenters were the first to discover that the shortwave 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,” IARU’s history notes. Amateur Radio pioneers, including ARRL co-founder Hiram Percy Maxim, 1AW, met in Paris in 1925 and created the IARU 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. 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 million licensees! World Amateur Radio Day is the day when IARU member-societies can demonstrate the capabilities of Amateur Radio to the public and enjoy global friendship with other radio amateurs around the globe.