This year has been like no other. The pandemic altered all of our lives. For many of us that meant “sheltering in place”, working from our homes, often our ham shacks doubling as our new workplaces. For others, it meant working on the front lines providing health care or other vital services often at great personal risk. As difficult as these times are to stay apart, it is second nature for us, as radio amateurs, to communicate via “virtual” means.
For IARU Region 2, 2020 was a year of many changes.
Workshops: We setup and hosted a series of Workshops on topics of interest across the region in Spanish and English. The response was phenomenal. One workshop attracted over 200 concurrent users and over 8000 viewed workshops on the IARU R2 YouTube channel. More workshops are planned in the new year.
Youth outreach: After learning from some experimental programs, we established a Youth Liaison function to work with younger amateurs, an initiative that should start to be far more visible in 2021.
Band Planning: The Band Planning Committee conducted a major survey of the world above 50 MHz and found over 25000 active repeaters in the region. A joint Band Planning effort by all regions working with the WSJT developers helped to develop a more consistent guidance for narrow digital modes.
Emergency Communications: After 9 years of service, our Emergency Coordinator Dr. Cesar Pio Santos HR2P retired. Dr. Carlos Alberto Santamaria CO2JC was appointed to carry on this vital role.
It’s been a busy and productive year!
The R2 Executive Committee saw changes too. While meeting virtually for 3 meetings plus an in-person meeting since 2017, this year 5 meetings were held, all virtually. Meeting notes are published on the www.iaru-r2.org/en. In recognition of the financial strain of the pandemic, the EC approved a Member Society dues reduction for 2021. For smaller societies, no dues will be assessed. For larger societies, dues are reduced to one-half their usual amount.
One positive to be noted it is that the pandemic is demonstrating that amateur radio is very much alive and well in the Americas. Activity on the bands is up, even though the sunspots are still a little sparse. The crowded digital segments are a testament to the willingness of amateurs to adopt to new technologies and methods of operating.
The R2 Executive Committee wishes the best health and happiness to you, your families and everyone else in our worldwide community for the coming year. Please stay safe and see you on the air.
73, George Gorsline VE3YV
Secretary IARU Region 2
Tambien disponible en Español (Spanish).