Amateur Radio is “Communications Superpower,” IARU Region 1 Delegates are Told
European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva told delegates to the International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 (IARU Region 1) General Conference on September 22 that Amateur Radio is a reliable information tool that can save lives in disasters. In a statement read to the conference attendees on her behalf by the EC’s Encho Gospidinov, Georgieva laid out a scenario in which all modern telecommunications and electrical power are knocked out, and no one can help the victims, because no one knows what has happened.
“Luckily, there is a last resort: The radio amateurs, the people who are the eyes and the ears of the world in time when all other information channels are silent,” she said. “In short, you are the last technical miracle, which is independent, reliable information channel, which can transmit an important piece of news from any place in the world, any time, by anyone who knows how to operate this wonderful creature, called radio.”
The 24th IARU Region 1 General Conference opened on September 21 in Albena, Bulgaria. It will continue through September 26.
She said Amateur Radio’s advantage is that it is independent of the conventional communications infrastructure. “A well-trained radioman with good equipment and ever-charged batteries can be a fantastic link between two villages, two countries or two continents,” she said. “When organized in a Union, you are a communication superpower in time of total electronic darkness.”
Georgieva said there are many examples in Amateur Radio’s history of lives saved “because some of your members caught a signal from a village, a region or inaccessible place” calling for help. “We need your skills and services,” she continued, “because we will have more and more disasters in the future.”
“Local and national authorities count on you as the last bastion of reliable information,” she continued. “Your professional skills and your humanitarian duties make you more than radio amateurs; you are truly needed guardians in time of troubles and I hope you will always stay as a pillar of hope and courage for all who are in danger.”
IARU Region 1 includes Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Northern Asia. The Bulgarian Federation of Radio Amateurs (BFRA) is hosting the Region 1 gathering. Regional general conferences are held every 3 years. The IARU Administrative Council will meet September 27-28, following the Region 1 General Conference.