Ham radio operators use field day event to hone skills - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Ham radio operators use field day event to hone skills

Ham radio operators take part in annual field day. (Photo source: WLOX) Ham radio operators take part in annual field day. (Photo source: WLOX)
The confirmation system has advanced over the years, but the basics of it remain the same. (Photo source: WLOX) The confirmation system has advanced over the years, but the basics of it remain the same. (Photo source: WLOX)
HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

Ham radio operators are able to communicate with other operators all over the world, as long as they find the right signal. To most, it sounds like a foreign language, but it's communication on a basic level.

Great Southern DX Association is taking part in the annual amateur radio Field Day operations.

"The purpose of it is kind of a public relations event to introduce ham radio to the population at large, give people a change to see what it's all about and also to emphasize the emergency preparedness aspect of it," said Ray Rocker, president of the association. 

Rocker has been operating ham radios for nearly 40 years. For him, it all started with a simple find.

"I got into it one time while my family was moving, cleaning out a closet, I found an old multi-band radio," Rocker said, "One of the bands on it was short wave. So I plugged it in and started tuning around, and found a station and listened to it a while."

The confirmation system has advanced over the years, but the basics of it remain the same.

"You contact them on the air, you exchange signal reports," said Rocker, "Then you get a confirmation. Used to be that that was in the form of a postcard, nowadays it's mostly done electronically. There's the logbook of the world where you can upload your data about who you've contacted."

Many people get into ham radio as a hobby, but operators like Yvette Cuevas know it can also be used in times of emergency.

"A lot of these hospitals have amateur radio systems," said Cuevas, "They're working on getting these systems where they can send emails to each other and through the EOC."

Rocker says radios come in handy when the no other communication is working.

"The commercial communications tend to fail during an acute disaster like that," Rocker said, "Ham radio will always work. We can always go into somewhere, put up an antenna. We can use a slingshot, throw it in a tree, bring a radio and a generator, get on the air and make contact."

It's that reason, that events like field day are important, so operators can hone their skills for those times when they need them most.

Field day wraps up Sunday at 1 p.m.

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