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Radio club asks others to ham it up with them

Jeff Winborne had long been interested in amateur radios and the hams who operate them but it wasn’t until he crossed paths with the late Homer Richardson that he became a full-fledged enthusiast.

Now Winborne, who has been hamming it up on the airwaves for a quarter of a century, is hoping to find others to bring into the fold.

The annual Southwest MS Amateur Radio Club Field Day is Saturday and Sunday at the Brookhaven Recreational Center at 689 Hwy 51 N. The event starts at 1 p.m. Saturday and licensed operators will be broadcasting until 3:59 p.m. Sunday

The public is invited to visit the field day exercises from 1-3 p.m. Saturday and meet members of SMARC, who will be available to answer questions. Winborne, who is president of the local group, said members use this yearly exercise as an opportunity to practice their emergency response capabilities.

The goal of the field day is for operators to contact as many other stations as possible and to learn to operate radio gear in abnormal situations and less than optimal conditions.

“We use these same skills when we help with events such as marathons and bike-a-thons; fund-raisers such as walk-a-thons; celebrations such as parades; and exhibits at fairs, malls, and museums — these are all large, preplanned, non-emergency activities,” Winborne said.

Ham radios utilize mostly high-frequency bands of the radio spectrum — not reserved for government communications — to broadcast around the world, depending on weather and radio wave behavior. Licensed ham operators commonly talk to peers in far-off nations like England or Australia, and can transmit voice communications as well as text or data.

Amateur radio broadcasters are often called upon to relay important messages between communities during natural disasters, when power failures or grid overloads make telephone and cellular communications impossible.

With a ham radio and a license, anyone can have access to the rest of the world.

“This is a great hobby for young adults or teenagers, or those who can’t get out a lot,” he said.

SMARC representatives will test for ham radio operator’s licenses at 10 a.m. Saturday at the recreation department. The test for the entry-level license is 35 multiple-choice questions, randomly selected from a pool of almost 400 questions, which are publicly available. Payment of a $15 exam fee of is required. For questions, reservations and a list of items to bring, call or text 601-730-9464. Tests will be given for new licenses and license upgrades.

The club’s monthly meetings are held in Brookhaven on even months and in McComb on odd months.

More information about the club can be found online at http://w5wqn.net.