• 73°

Radio operators plan to ham it up at field day

Photo by Donna Campbell/HAM radio operator Homer Richardson adjusts his settings to talk to other radio enthusiasts in other countries. A member of the Southwest Mississippi Amateur Radio Club, he will be participating in the annual 24-hour field day starting Saturday at the Brookhaven Recreation Department.

Photo by Donna Campbell/HAM radio operator Homer Richardson adjusts his settings to talk to other radio enthusiasts in other countries. A member of the Southwest Mississippi Amateur Radio Club, he will be participating in the annual 24-hour field day starting Saturday at the Brookhaven Recreation Department.

Amateur radio enthusiasts in Southwest Mississippi will connect with other Hams this weekend for the annual American Radio Relay League’s field day exercises.

From 1 p.m. Saturday until 1 p.m. the following Sunday at the Brookhaven Parks and Recreation Department, members of the Southwest MS Amateur Radio Club will operate their radios for a full 24 hours. Ham operators all over the nation will celebrate the Amateur Radio Club Field Day along with the Southwest MS club.

Club member Homer Richardson expects about 30 members to participate in the exercise.

“The whole idea is to see if we can operate for 24 hours in emergency conditions,” Richardson said.

Club members will use chargeable and solar-powered batteries to keep their equipment running during the event.

The field day allows amateur radio operators to practice their emergency response capabilities.

To sweeten the pot, participants can also earn points for every contact made to other individuals in the United States and Canada during the 24-hour period.

Richardson, 76, has been chatting with other radio enthusiasts since 1959.

Several times a week he can be found in his radio room upstairs surrounded by transmitters, spare parts and his collection of antique radios and telephones.

“I talk to people who are as young as 8, 9 years old, and some as old as 90,” he said.

The club will begin setting up at 9 a.m. Saturday. They’ll be available to administer examinations for Ham radio licenses at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Richardson expects about 35,000 radio operators to participate in the field day exercises.

The Southwest MS Amateur Radio Club meets every second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at various locations. For more information about the club, visit w5wq.net.

For more information, call Richardson at 601-833-4126.