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IARU President: Traditional Aspects of Ham Radio May Not Be Attractive to Newcomers


The 24th General Conference of International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 (IARU-R1) convened September 17 – 23 in Landshut, Germany, with representatives of 40 member-societies present and another 13 represented by proxy. IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA, welcomed the attendees, urging them to reflect upon what will attract the majority of young people into Amateur Radio, “and what our mutual expectations should be.” Ellam said his personal observation is that, while some younger people are interested in the more traditional aspects of Amateur Radio, many are only interested in ham radio as an adjunct to other possibly unrelated interests.

“I applaud the excellent work that has been undertaken in this region through the Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) program.” Tim said, crediting the hard work of IARU Region 1 Youth Working Group Chair Lisa Leenders, PA2LS. YOTA’s summer Amateur Radio camps have attracted young hams from around the world; this year’s was held in the UK.

“Our ambition should be to embrace these individuals in their activities and accept that some of the more traditional aspects of the hobby will hold little interest to them, and indeed may no longer be relevant,” he continued. “That is not to say that some are not enthused with what we all hold as the core of our hobby, such as contesting or operating generally. I fear, though, that we need to look at what will attract the new generations to Amateur Radio and make sure we promote Amateur Radio as meeting their needs, rather than promoting the historical view of what Amateur Radio has to offer.”

Delegates to the plenary adopted a proposal that all IARU bodies and member-societies use every opportunity to exert pressure on national regulators to implement all the recommendations that protect the amateur bands.

They also approved initiating a simple noise-measuring campaign among Region 1 member-societies, giving IARU the ability to offer an independent opinion on the noise situation in the bands and the trends over time. Brendan Minish, EI6IZ, was appointed to chair the Noise Measuring Campaign Sub-Working Group.

Region 1’s highest recognition, the Roy Stevens, G2BVN, Memorial Trophy, was conferred upon Colin Thomas, G3PSM, for his outstanding contribution to Amateur Radio and the work of the IARU over several decades.

A new Executive Committee was elected during the General Conference’s Final Plenary. Chosen to serve as EC officers for 2017 to 2020 were President Don Beattie, G3BJ; Vice President Faisal Al-Ajmi, 9K2RR; Secretary Hans Blondeel Timmerman, PB2T, and Treasurer Andreas Thiemann, HB9JOE. EC members will be Sylvain Azarian, F4GKR; Alessandro Carletti, IV3KKW; Mats Espling, SM6EAN; Joerg Jaehrig, DJ3HW, and Oliver Tabakovski, Z32TO. Their terms will begin on October 31.

The Deutsche Amateur Radio Club (DARC) was the host for the conference, which is held every 3 years. The full Conference Report is available on the IARU Region 1 website. The 25th IARU Region 1 General Conference will take place in September 2020 in Novi Sad, Serbia.





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