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Ham Radio Field Day

Photo courtesy of Alcorn County ARES

GOTA station chief John Rose and "network guru" Danny Chittom take prt in a previous Field Day event at the Alcorn County Welcome Center in Corinth.

by l.a. story lastory@dailycorinthian.com

How would emergency personnel communicate if all landline and cell phones went down?

A public demonstration Saturday will answer that question -- ham radio.

There will be an American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Amateur Radio Field Day from 12 p.M. Saturday until 12 p.M. Sunday at the Alcorn County Welcome Center, located at 2028 South Tate Street in corinth.

The event is hosted by the alcorn county amateur radio emergency services (alcorn county ares) and will give the public an overview of how amateur radio works with several ham radio stations set up and running for a 24-hour period.

"There's something like 1,400 clubs across the u.S. And canada that participates in field day. One of the things it shows, is that even in the worst times, that amateur radio folks can still communicate," said alcorn county ares member greg bullard.

Bullard pointed out that recently ham radio operators demonstrated how vital their skills can be by helping hurricane-devastated puerto rico last year.

In a cnn article titled, "ham radio operators are saving puerto rico one transmission at a time," by paul p. Murphy and michelle krupa, published sept. 27, 2017, The writers stated, "in the days after the worst storm in three generations hit the american island -- and for many more to come -- public electrical, land-line and cellular communication systems showed few signs of life. And radio networks used routinely by police officers, power company workers and other first responder still were down. Yet, a key mode of communication -- one not reliant on infrastructure vulnerable to strong winds and flooding -- still crackled: the 'ham' radio."

Bullard and his older brother are both ham radio operators, both having been into radio and electronics since they were children living at home. Bullard said he got started in amateur radio through his brother, but later he said his interest developed for other reasons.

"I enjoy helping people. Communications is one of those things," said bullard. "You do what you can do in community work. If something happened in alcorn county [such as a disaster along the lines of puerto rico] amateur radio would step up. We would have the police and fire departments back communicating as soon as possible."

A field day is an annual opportunity for amateur radio operators to test their skills. They will set up multiple radios and antennae to make as many contacts as possible in a 24-hour period with other stations around the world.

The public is invited to saturday's event to witness how ham radio works and obtain information about this hobby that has the potential to become a vital asset in an emergency situation.

(For more information about alcorn county ares, visit their page on facebook.)