Amateur Radio News

The IARU: What Does it Do and How Does it Help You?

When it comes to influential ham-run organizations, it’s hard to contend with the reach of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU). The expansive organization, founded in 1925, is comprised of more than 160 member-societies located in three rather sizable regions that span the globe. The regions are intended to mirror the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and include:

  • Region 1 (Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Northern Asia)
  • Region 2 (The Americas)
  • Region 3 (Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Island Nations, and most of Asia)

Each region abides by its own constitution that is subject to revision and adaptation by way of amendment. All three radio regions are entirely autonomous from other regions and are run by an Administrative Council that includes a president, vice president, secretary, and two representatives from the region. The well-known ARRL, the national association for amateur radio in the United States, is considered to be the International Secretariat of the IARU, supporting IARU activities and helping to organize the annual conference.

But let’s get to the good stuff. What does the IARU do for you?

The IARU works to promote the interests of amateur radio by protecting and enhancing spectrum privileges. The organization has been responsible for providing a slew of new bands that include: 136 kHz; 472 kHz; 5 MHz; 10 MHz; 18 MHz; 24 MHz; 50 MHz; and a regional European allocation at 70 MHz. Not too shabby, but the work of the IARU doesn’t stop there. They’ve also obtained:

  • Extension of the 7 MHz amateur band in Regions 1 and 3
  • Extensive improvements in international roaming for amateur operators
  • Significant progress toward international certificate harmonization at full and entry level
  • Extensive representation in the Working Parties of ITU and at the World Radio Communication Conferences
  • Sensible emission standards from PLT systems requiring work in the international standards forum
  • Support for the development of amateur radio in developing countries

Plus, the IARU:

  • Organizes and promotes contests on HF, VHF, UHF, SHF, et. al.
  • Organizes Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) Championships with a focus on drawing younger hams into the hobby
  • Organizes High Speed Telegraphy Championships
  • Organizes training programs for national authorities in Amateur Radio Administration
  • Develops and promotes consensus from national member societies on issues like band plans, optimum amateur spectrum usage, standards for repeaters, and amateur qualifications
  • Plays an active role in the standard-setting forums for matters like EMC
  • Sponsors several beacons for propagation research, organizing a monitoring service to protect amateur bands against unauthorized intruders, and ensuring amateur radio’s value as a communication channel during national emergencies is recognized and put to use
  • Promotes good on-air operating practice adhering to the recognized code of conduct

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