All female amateur radio group puts a feminine touch on emergency communications

Published: Jun. 28, 2015 at 1:12 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 28, 2015 at 3:11 PM CDT
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PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - This weekend, Amateur Radio operators are honing their skills and preparing for the worst during the annual Field Day and Emergency Communications Demonstration.

More than 1,000 clubs are participating nationwide, and of the six clubs in South Mississippi that are involved

But one site at TLC Wolf River Resort in Pass Christian has a feminine touch.

The Southern Mississippi YL Amateur Radio Club formed in 2008 to encourage women to get more involved. YL stands for young ladies.

The club's first field day was last year, and it won first place in the state for number of contacts in its category.

"Well when we get with the men's group, I think we're a little bit timid," said Yvette Cuevas, who has been licensed since 2008 and has been a member for four years. "We let the men have at it. But with this, we own this station.

"It's a community," she added. "And they are willing to answer any questions. And it's just a lot of fun."

Betty Jo Byrd, is president of SMYL and has been licensed since the 1980s.

"The men always get all the fun and they get to have the five towers where they are located over at Hooterville on Landon Road," she said. "So we decided we needed to start a ladies group."

The Field Day is serious business. Ham operators provide essential communications during disaster when other traditional mediums cannot.

But social time is pretty important here.

"The girls get together, and actually be a big group and we eat, as you can see all the food," Byrd said. "And we have a good time, we spend the night and we visit."

And there's plenty of excitement with just reaching out to people all over the world with new technology or old.

"Last year at field day, I made a contact and I did not know until afterward that it was the king of Spain," Cuevas said. "So I was ecstatic. It was midnight. I called my son, my daughter-in-law, my other son, my mom. I called everybody. I was jumping up and down."

It's an excitement that's being passed down to the younger generation.

13-year-old Hailey Byrd got her first license at age 10.

But what she likes best about the club?

Said Hailey: "Mainly the food."

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