Communicating across the country

Published 10:03 am Friday, June 26, 2015

For 24 hours, amateur radio enthusiasts will be in hog heaven this weekend as they connect with others all over the nation.

From 1 p.m. Saturday until 1 p.m. the following Sunday at the Brookhaven Recreational Center, members of the Southwest MS Amateur Radio Club will be operating their radios for a full 24 hours. Clubs all over the nation will celebrate the Amateur Radio Club Field Day with the Southwest MS club.

“We will be out there all night,” Homer Richardson, a member of the amateur radio club said. “The whole idea is to see if we can operate for 24 hours in emergency conditions.”

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Richardson said that they’d still be able to talk with anyone who comes out looking for more information about getting into amateur radio. The club will begin setting up at 9 a.m. Also, Richardson said that several of the club members are examiners and will be available to administer examinations for Ham Radio Licenses Sunday at 10 a.m. Talk-in frequency is 146.85, and the tone frequency is 103.5.

“I was going to LSU in 1959 in the ROTC. The ROTC needed someone to operate the radio station,” Richardson said.

It was through the ROTC at Louisiana State University that he received his license. He said he’s always been interested in science and technical things, which kept him renewing his license as he matured past LSU.

“Hearing people talk to other people…it’s almost like magic,” Richardson said.

Richardson said it’s fairly easy for someone to get on the radio. For a couple hundred dollars a person could buy a radio, get a license and get on the radio and be in contact with people all over the world.

Language barriers become almost permeable through the amateur radio waves. Richardson said that he regularly talks to people in places like China, Australia, South America and Germany.

Although much of the information in regards to ham radio is in English, what also helps melt some of the walls between differing language speakers is a special language that “hams” use to communicate. Richardson said using the term “QTH” which is equivalent to “where are you located” which would be responded to with a city and state or country.

Richardson said on the Field Day there’ll be thousands of stations throughout the nation on the airways.  He said last year they had about 45,000 participants.

“It’s really a test, to give us practice on setting up the equipment and staying in operation for 24 hours,” Richardson said. He said they’ll be running their radios from batteries and solar power.

Those who want to get started can come out and find out what they need to do to become a ham.

Those who wish to know more about the Southwest MS Amateur Radio Club, members meet every second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. Information about meeting times and more about Amateur Radio Club Field Day can visit