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2013 World Amateur Radio Day -- April 18 -- Celebrates 100 Years of Disaster Communications


This year marks the 88th anniversary of the founding of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU). To mark this occasion, the IARU and its more than 160 Member Societies will celebrate World Amateur Radio Day on April 18. For many years, the IARU Administrative Council has declared a theme for each World Amateur Radio Day. The theme for 2013 is Amateur Radio: Entering Its Second Century of Disaster Communications.

Honoring the Theme of Disaster Communications

The theme commemorates the first known use of Amateur Radio in a disaster situation: Herbert V. Akerberg -- a 15-year-old from Hilltop, Ohio -- is believed to be the first person to use Amateur Radio to call for help during a disaster. In late March 1913, the Scioto River in downtown Columbus, Ohio flooded its banks, killing more than 100 people. According to a November 2012 article in The Columbus Dispatch, Akerberg used his home radio transmitter to send SOS calls via Morse code for nearly 72 hours.

According to the Dispatch, Akerburg’s services were “highly commended by the city authorities, and his achievement widely heralded over the country as a new contribution to the comparatively new science of radio.” Herbert Akerberg passed away in Scottsdale, Arizona on November 6, 1964.

Stations On the Air for World Amateur Radio Day

Several IARU Member Societies -- and clubs related to them -- will have special event stations on the air in celebration of World Amateur Radio Day. As of April 4, these stations include:

4A8DMR: FMRE -- Mexico’s IARU Member Society -- with the help of Grupo DXXE, will activate 4A8DMR, a unique prefix, for the first time. DMR stands for Día Mundial del Radioaficionado, or World Amateur Radio Day. This station will be active from April 18-21 on all bands from 160-6 meters in all modes, including EME, as well as on Amateur Radio satellites from different grid squares throughout Mexico. QSL via N7RO and LoTW.

CR5IARU: REP -- Portugal’s IARU Member Society -- will be on the air April 13-19 on all bands. QSL via CT1REP (bureau or direct).

KP4FD: To echo the theme for this year, the Puerto Rico Field Day Group will be active on April 18 from the Emergency Management Agency of the city of Cataño, Puerto Rico. QSL via LoTW.

If your IARU Member Society or club will be active to celebrate the World Amateur Radio Day, please notify IARU Region 2 News Editor Joaquin Solana, XE1R, via e-mail.

Editor’s note: This list was complete as of April 4, 2013. To view updates, please visit the IARU Region 2 website.

Thanks to The Columbus Dispatch, Southgate Amateur Radio News and John Bigley, N7UR, for the historical information on the 1913 flood.



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