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FULTON, Miss. (WCBI) – Sometimes it’s the only communication available when natural disasters strike.

This is the 12th year the Northeast Mississippi Radio Amateurs have taken part in the American Radio Relay League Field Day. They gathered at the Itawamba County Emergency Management Agency Office for a 24-hour exercise to simulate communications under poor conditions.

“That is what this is about, being able to set up in a limited time frame and get on the air and operate in very tough conditions because when you have the whole North America operating all over the Ham bands, it gets very tough,” says Radio Amateurs Club President Jeff Clingan.

Many people in this club planned to spend the entire night here taking cat naps before things wrap up at 1 O’clock Sunday afternoon, and hopefully they made contact with every state and jurisdiction in the country.

Club members worked with morse code and voice, to add contacts to their lists. But while it was a fun competition, it was also a training exercise. They used this solar panel to charge up a battery which in turn was used to power their radios. Their goal was to make 5-contacts completely on battery power.

“When Katrina hit the Gulf Coast several years ago the first communications from the Gulf Coast of Mississippi was from a single ham operator. The only communications they had in or out of that area for several days was individual Ham operators that were able to get on the air by using batteries and things like that,” says Clingan.

That’s why Northeast Mississippi Ham radio operators want to be ready.

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