Around the world on April 18, 3,000,000 amateur radio operators take to the airwaves to celebrate International Amateur Radio Day.

Club members, also known as radio amateurs, will be available throughout the day to demonstrate and discuss amateur radio. Some of the topics will include reviews of station operating capabilities and discuss the interests of amateur radio operators, the public service roles they and the club play in providing communication from local parades to natural disasters.

Ham Radio is popular because you don’t need a cell phone network or the Internet to communicate. Operators are especially critical during a disaster when regular communication channels fail. For example, the Amateur Radio Service kept New York City agencies in touch with each other after their command center was destroyed in the 9/11 tragedy. Amateur radio also came to the rescue during Hurricane Katrina, where all other communications failed.

The 1920s

In the early 1920s, amateur radio experimenters were the first to discover that the shortwave spectrum – far from being a wasteland – could support worldwide propagation.

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) says there’s a reason amateur radio operators are called “amateur radio” operators:

The first wireless operators were fixed telegraph operators who left their offices to go to sea or to equip coastal stations. They brought with them their language and much of the tradition of their former profession.
At that time, each station occupied the entire spectrum with its wide spark signal. Government stations, ships, coast stations, and the growing number of amateur operators were all competing for time and signal supremacy in each other’s receivers.

Many amateur stations were very powerful. Two amateurs working against each other across town could effectively block all other operations in the area.
Frustrated commercial operators would refer to amateur radio interference as “hams”. Amateurs, perhaps unfamiliar with the true meaning of the term, have taken it up and applied it to themselves. Over the years, the original meaning has completely disappeared.


Every April 18, radio amateurs or amateur radio operators around the world take to the airwaves to celebrate World Amateur Radio Day.
Use #InternationalAmateurRadioDay to share on social media.


It was on this day in 1925 that the International Amateur Radio Union was created in Paris. World Amateur Radio Day is the day when member societies of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) can show our capabilities to the public and enjoy global friendship with other amateurs around the world.

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