Contact: Sasha Steinberg
STARKVILLE, Mississippi — Over 100 years ago, the Mississippi State Amateur Radio Club, W5YD, became a federally licensed organization. Today, one of the university’s oldest clubs, still active, inspires the next generation of enthusiasts with a passion for service.
Since the club was founded in 1920 as the Experimental Amateur Radio State 5YD, its members, all volunteers, have represented the State of Mississippi on amateur radio bands, promoting goodwill and faith among nations and supporting local, state and national authorities in the event of an emergency.
Colby A. Stevens, vice president of the club and a native of Issaquena County, said W5YD’s amateur radio operators undergo extensive testing to obtain a license through the Federal Communications Commission. Stevens said the group currently has 30 members, with a core group of six or seven who are actively involved in club meetings and station operations.
In addition to Stevens, the club’s current executive board includes President Logan Betts of Brunswick, Georgia, a graduate student pursuing both a master’s and a doctorate in mechanical engineering; and Secretary Patrick H. Younes of Brownsboro, Alabama, a major junior in electrical engineering.
Members represent a variety of academic disciplines, from wildlife and history to meteorology and engineering, and Stevens said the club is looking to expand that diversity.
“One of the main goals of amateur radio is to help when needed, and our amateur radio community is a good bunch of people ready to help others,” said the second electrical engineering student. “We want to involve more people in W5YD because it means more help around the station and more information about the things we are doing. “
As part of Amateur Radio Week, W5YD is co-hosting a Field Day event with the Lowndes County Amateur Radio Club of Columbus, and the MFJ Amateur Radio Club and Magnolia Amateur Radio Club, both of Starkville. The free public event will take place from 1:00 p.m. CT on Saturday [June 26] at 4 p.m. CT Sunday [June 27] at the Community Counseling Services administrative office in West Point on the former Mary Holmes College campus.
Stevens said the annual event, hosted nationally by the American Radio Relay League, serves as an informal competition for amateur radio operators in the United States and Canada to contact as many other stations as possible. The purpose of the event is to simulate or practice a “everyone on deck” situation that would arise if a major national emergency were to disrupt methods of commercial communication. Stevens said a 9 a.m. testing session will be offered on Saturday for those who wish to take the licensing exams required to become licensed amateurs. A “Get on the Air” station, or GOTA, will also be set up to give unauthorized persons a chance to try ham radio.
“We are excited about Field Day as it is the first time in almost 10 years that W5YD has hosted this event,” said Stevens. “We encourage people to come talk to us and find out what we’re doing. When I found out we had an amateur radio club on campus, I went to the first meeting and fell in love with it. Amateur radio is a very interesting hobby, and we would like to introduce new people to it.
MSU is Mississippi’s premier university, available online at www.msstate.edu.