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PROMOTING Amateur Radio – and WORLD AMATEUR RADIO DAY.
April 18th is designated as World Amateur Radio Day. The IARU Administrative Council has announced the theme for World Amateur Radio Day 2001: “Providing Disaster Communications: Amateur Radio in the 21st Century.” This event and this theme have been publicised in various news releases. It may be the time for you and I to think about how you and I can each properly celebrate such a Special Day and how our local club can too.
The current news reports of the great earthquake in the Indian state of Gujarat are grim reminders to all of us of our need for community and personal preparedness for the unexpected. Messages received here show the very commendable work and the value of Amateur Radio and radio amateurs serving that community at this time. Other similar disastrous events are happening elsewhere on this planet and are regular and unfortunate features of our existence.
Not one of us is safe from calamity. Perhaps we should consider how adequate numbers of radio amateurs are trained and provided to meet the task to provide sudden and unexpected emergency communications in our communities? Perhaps we should be promoting Amateur Radio with much more vigour to meet the skilled operator needs of disaster communications "in the 21st century"?
Key words in the theme for World Amateur Radio Day 2001 are "providing" and "disaster communications". A fundamental essential is for adequate numbers of trained people to do the work at such time of important communications need. We must be assured of a continuing flow of newcomers into Amateur Radio to ensure that qualified people are there and trained and fitted out with the right resources. To provide a reserve pool for adequate communications services, interested and enthusiastic persons must be attracted into Amateur Radio.
A source of ideas for Promotional Material:
Our New Zealand society, NZART, has been collecting promotional aids to assist branches (radio clubs) to promote Amateur Radio. A resource has been built up at the NZART web site and items can be downloaded by anyone to provide ready ideas and material for membership drives and for displays. It is a collection that is added to from time-to-time as new ideas are found.
You are welcome to view this material and to develop it for your own use. We are all facing a recruitment and promotional problem together. To share what we have is to better use our resources.
The NZART "promotion page" is at:
Please visit and adapt and use what you wish.
The Promotion of Amateur Radio by electronic mail:
At some time we have all received email messages with attached files carrying jokes and cartoons that have been passed on and on. So why not distribute material to promote Amateur Radio?
NZART has developed a new innovation, an animated GIF file with a "promotional movie" or slide-show to promote Amateur Radio in New Zealand. The idea is that you can attach it to email messages to distribute it widely and at no cost. It is hoped that its novelty will cause it to be passed on and on.
It is new, so it is yet to be seen if it works, but the idea is considered worthy of sharing with you. Its content is drawn from many sources, some are unknown but all are appreciated.
The NZART web URL given above will lead you to this "movie". There you can view it and download it if you wish.
It is surprising how much "video" can be put into a small file. At 107 kilobytes, it runs for about two-and-a-half minutes and then repeats once, finally stopping at the screen with the NZART web site URL displayed. The time taken to upload and download this file is quite short and is comparable with other material in free circulation. It is too large to pass through the IARU News Reflector – otherwise you would have received a copy attached to this message!
The filename too is a reminder of the principal NZART web page URL: "www.amateur.radio.org.nz". The filename "AmateurRadioOrgNZ.gif" reflects this URL and it also ensures that it comes somewhere near the top in an alphabetical listing of files. It may continue to live in some computers and continue to be a reminder when noticed on the screen! These are all things that can't be measured and we can't evaluate them unless we try!
So perhaps World Amateur Radio Day 2001 can be recognised with promotions to attract new radio amateurs to ensure our better preparedness for the time when our Amateur Radio communications services will be needed?
An Individual's event?
But there are other considerations too. The principle of the World Amateur Radio Day being an individual's thing was given in the QST editorial in April 1984. Yes, that is some time ago, but the principles are still relevant today:
"This is not a contest, but an activity in which every radio amateur can take part and should be encouraged to do so. The idea is to recognise the founding of the International Amateur Radio Union on April 18, 1925 by doing something you have not done before, sometime between 1200 UTC on April 17 and 1200 on April 19 each year. These dates and times represent the start and finish of April 18 at the International Date Line, and are chosen to show the unification of all radio amateurs by observing the same period for this global activity."
The QST editorial goes on to provide and to consider a list of things that you and I, as individuals, could do to enrich our Amateur Radio experience. Surprisingly, the list does not include reference to disasters or to communications or personal preparedness for time of calamity. It continues:
"Your special activity could be to work new stations, to try a new mode or a new band, to at least listen to a satellite, to build a piece of gear, or just to exchange greetings with someone new. Anything to make World Amateur Radio Day a "special day" in your Amateur Radio experience. There are no prizes, no awards, no certificates, just the satisfaction of knowing that you have reactivated some amateur spirit; that you have recognised World Amateur Radio Day and acknowledge the debt you owe to the International Amateur Radio Union for its achievements on your behalf. World Amateur Radio Day need do no more than that for its aim to have been achieved. So go to it, do your particular thing, individually or as one of a group, to make April 18 a very special day on the Amateur Radio calendar."
Perhaps in 2001 we should make this Day a time to look at our individual selves, at our reserves, at our station, and at our preparedness and training to handle and to exchange command-and-control and health-and-welfare messages at a time of need when we and our community are under severe stress?
These are some of my thoughts for your consideration, but perhaps we all have some thinking to do. What are you going to do to recognise World Amateur Radio Day? What is your club going to do?
Please prepare to recognise World Amateur Radio Day, remember its theme, and encourage others to do so too.
Thank you for your time. My apologies for the length of this message!