HAMNET Report 15 April 2018

We are grateful to the ARRL Letter of this week for the following two reports.

ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, used the occasion of National Volunteer Week, April 15 – 21, to express gratitude to “the thousands of Amateur Radio operators who have given, and who continue to give, of their time and expertise” to serve as vital communication links during emergencies, disasters, and community events. Throughout the past year, President Roderick recounted, ham radio operators have volunteered during hurricanes, wildfires, and severe weather to support communication for emergency evacuation shelters, pass health-and-welfare traffic to anxious families, and partner with the National Weather Service as SKYWARN volunteers to report local weather conditions. Hams also volunteered during the solar eclipse last August, working with scientists to record its impact on radio propagation, he pointed out.

“Amateur Radio volunteers have a long history of providing service and support to their communities and our served agencies,” Roderick said. “As this avocation continues to evolve, alongside the technological advances in telecommunications, we are proud that, as hams, public service to our communities will continue to be at the core of who we are.”

Echoing President Roderick’s remarks, ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, cited Amateur Radio’s volunteer spirit as one of its most admirable aspects.

“Radio amateurs have taken their passion for radio, communication, science, and technology and given back service in so many ways,” Corey said. “Radio amateurs teach, inspire, offer insights to the world that others cannot, assist during times of emergency and disaster, and report to assist during such community events as marathons and festivals,” he said.

 “Volunteerism has always been at the heart of Amateur Radio, and it is through the work of volunteers that Amateur Radio will be there for future generations to enjoy”.

National Volunteer Week is sponsored by Points of Light, an ARRL partner through National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). Points of Light called the week-long observance “an opportunity to celebrate the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to come together to tackle tough challenges and build stronger, more resilient communities.”

“Each year, we shine a light on the people and causes that inspire us to serve, recognizing and thanking volunteers who lend their time, talent, and voice to make a difference in their communities,” the organization said.

Secondly, Wednesday, April 18, is World Amateur Radio Day (WARD), this year marking the 93rd anniversary of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), founded in Paris in 1925. Each year, WARD celebrates Amateur Radio’s contribution to society.

“World Amateur Radio Day is an opportunity for our member-societies to show our capabilities and promote the use of Amateur Radio, both on the air and through social media,” IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA, said. “It is a celebration of what the Amateur Radio Service has brought to the public over the years, and of our ability to provide communication to assist others in times of crisis.”

Amateur Radio experimenters were the first to discover that the shortwave spectrum — far from being the wasteland “experts” of the time considered it to be — could support worldwide propagation. In the rush to use these shorter wavelengths, Amateur Radio was “in grave danger of being pushed aside,” the IARU’s history has noted. Amateur Radio pioneers met in Paris in 1925 and created the IARU to support Amateur Radio around the globe.

Two years later, at the International Radiotelegraph Conference, Amateur Radio gained the allocations still recognized today — 160, 80, 40, 20, and 10 meters. The IARU has been working to defend and expand Amateur Radio frequency allocations ever since.

“I wish all amateurs a fantastic day of celebration of Amateur Radio, encourage everyone to get involved, and, most of all, to have fun!” IARU President Ellam said.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.

Groups should promote their WARD activity on social media by using the hashtag #WorldAmateurRadioDay on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Finally, HAMNET South Africa has received due recognition at the SARL Awards dinner held last night of the sterling work its members continue to do, confirming the fact that amateur radio is a SERVICE hobby, and that our primary purpose is to be of help to our community.

Chris Gryffenberg ZS6COG has rightly been awarded the Willie Wilson Gold Badge for his service to his fellow members, and to the community in his division. Congratulations, Sir, and may your efforts go from strength to strength!

Then the Hamnet Shield rewards an individual or group for excellent service in a particular area to the community, the authorities and to Hamnet in particular. Criteria include cooperation with disaster relief organisations and enthusiastic provision of emergency communications. This year’s award has been well presented to Roy Walsh ZS3RW, whose work and services extend above and beyond his dedication to Hamnet! Well done, Roy!

Then 62 members from all 6 divisions have been recognised by being awarded Jack Twine Awards, redressing a deficiency in the last few years, when the fellows provided their services but were not sufficiently thanked for them. HAMNET honours these members, and thanks them for their hard work. Wear your badges with pride, folks, you deserve them!

And 11 members will receive inscribed HAMNET pens, further honouring them for the work they continue to do.

We can justifiably be proud of the ethic amongst our members that maintains that the gift of the frequencies by communications authorities around the world be respected and honoured with our willingness to help provide communications where radio does it best!

A good way to start the new week. Well done girls and boys!

This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.