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Amateur Radio in Ukraine Ordered Off the Air in State of Emergency

02/24/2022

[UPDATED on 2/28/2022 @ 1812 UTC] A state of emergency was declared in Ukraine just prior to the Russian military invasion. Among other things, the February 24 decree from President Volodymyr Zelensky will remain in effect at least for 30 days and may be extended. As published on the website of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s unicameral legislative body, the state of emergency includes regulation of TV and radio activities and “a ban on the operation amateur radio transmitters for personal and collective use.”

The decree also imposes a ban on mass events and on strikes and authorizes checking the documents of citizens, and if necessary, conducting searches on persons, vehicles, cargo, office space, and housing. A curfew could be imposed. “The situation changes rapidly,” IARU Region 1 Secretary Mats Espling, SM6EAN, said. “IARU Region 1 continues to monitor the development and expect all radio amateurs to follow their national laws and regulations.” 

IARU subsequently issued a short statement: “IARU is an apolitical organization focused on promoting and defending amateur radio and the amateur radio services. The Amateur Radio Service is about self-instruction in communications and friendship between people.

The DARC HF Committee issued this statement on February 27: “Any radio amateur currently transmitting from Ukraine is risking his or her life. If you hear a Ukrainian station, do not broadcast its call sign, location, or frequency — whether on the band, in a cluster or on social media. You may be putting lives at risk.”

Some stations with Ukrainian call signs may still be active, since an exception was made for stations in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine (eastern Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts), which have special legal status owing to Russia’s occupation since 2014. Stations from Ukraine with the letter “I” after the number in the prefix are located in this region and can, at least in theory, be active.



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