Amateur Radio News

Get Ready to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in True Ham Style!

The ides of March are upon us, and it’s the perfect time to join the Irish Radio Transmitters Society or take part in the upcoming Saint Patrick’s Day Award. The best thing about both? You don’t even have to be Irish to participate. Plus, you can accomplish both from the comfort of your greened-out shack, leprechaun optional.

The Irish Radio Transmitters Society

The Irish Radio Transmitters Society (IRTS) is completely volunteer run and represents the interests of amateur radio on a national and international basis with the aim to encourage experimentation in radio—which is exactly how the original founder, Colonel Meade Dennis, first got his feet wet as an operator and subsequently how the IRTS got its start.

Dennis lived near Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow and first became interested in radio after attending an 1898 lecture in Dublin titled, Signaling through Space without Wires. He left so inspired by the topic that he decided to build his own transmitter and receiver, purported to have sent messages a distance of more than 70 yards and, according to the IRTS, he was “probably the first Amateur Radio experimenter in the world.”

Dennis later became one of the founding members of the Dublin Wireless Club in 1913 where he earned his first call sign of DNX. This later changed to GW11B following Irish independence, and later E12B in 1929 when the Irish Free State began issuing EI call signs. In 1932, the Dublin Wireless Club transitioned into the IRTS of today with Dennis as its first president. And he was a president who took great notes. Excerpts from Dennis’ original papers can be viewed on the IRTS website (which is pretty darn cool) and you can also learn more about the organization and founders’ history.

You can also visit the IRTS website to become a member and you don’t even have to be a resident of Ireland or have a license to join. Membership is open to shortwave listeners as well as licensed operators, with many choosing to pursue licensure after they join. Once you do join, as a listener or operator, you get lots of great perks like instant access to Echo Ireland (check out this sample copy), monthly EiNews news sheets, weekly radio news bulletins, the QSL bureau, and, of course, lots of great contests! Plus, the IRTS offers special pricing for ham families, members who live outside of Ireland, students, and the unemployed.

You can visit the IRTS website to learn more about all things amateur radio in Ireland.

Saint Patrick’s Day Award

From 1200 UTC on March 16 to 1200 UTC on March 18 you can turn the airwaves green with 48 hours of non-competitive fun during the Saint Patrick’s Day Award. Anyone, anywhere in the world with a license or if you’re into shortwave listening is eligible to participate, but all stations must be registered before noon on March 16.

Award categories include:

SPD Award

As long as your station registers for the Saint Patrick’s Day (SPD) Award and you transmit at least once during the 48-hour period, you’ll get to add the SPD Award to your list of conquests.

Fixed/Portable Station Award

Make direct two-way contact with a minimum of 10 SPD Award stations from a fixed location using any mode within the rules to earn this one.

Digital Station Award

Make direct two-way contact with at least 20 SPD Award stations using any digital mode, including FT8, DMR, JT65, D-STAR, Echolink, etc.

Mobile Station Award

Make direct two-way contact with a minimum of five SPD Award stations from a mobile location using any mode.

Shortwave Listener Award

Make two-way contact with at least 10 other SPD Award stations using any mode.

You can register your station and apply for your award on the Saint Patrick’s Day Award website or view the other stations that will be operating during the event. And make sure to use the Saint Patrick’s Day Award event Facebook page to post your location during the event to make sure other hams know your operating locale.

And as the Irish might say, “May you escape the gallows, avoid distress, and be as healthy as a trout.” We, of course, feel confident that you will. 73!

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