Radio operators test emergency system

By Carlie Kollath/Daily Journal

The Northeast Mississippi Radio Amateurs are several hours into their 24-hour field day – a simulated emergency situation where local radio operators try to contact as many other operators as possible.

“As far as ham radio is concerned, in the U.S., this is the biggest day of the year,” said Jeff Klingan, president of the chapter. “Hams that don’t do anything will come out of the woodwork and get on the air.”

As of 5:45 p.m., the Fulton-based group has made contact with 178 operators in 41 states and Canadian provinces.

They reached out via Morse code, voice and digital frequencies. Each connection earned the points, with Morse code connections earning double points.

Last year, NEMRA came in No. 8 in its division of 47 participants nationally. It hopes to come in at least No. 3 this year.

The members were hustling Saturday to make the goal. They arrived early at the Itawamba County Emergency Management office. Their vehicles were easily identifiable – big antennae, “amateur radio” vanity plates and “SkyWarn” decals. They set up massive attennae around the building.

Many of the participants mentioned the importance of ham radio in severe weather situations.

Read more about the event in the Sunday Journal.

The Northeast Mississippi Radio Amateurs welcome visitors at their event. They are at the Itawamba County Emergency Management office on Access Road in Fulton.

They’ll start packing up around 11 a.m. Sunday. The group has a radio set up specifically for members of the public to try out.

For more information, go to www.w5nem.org or Facebook: W5NEM.