TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA)-The Tupelo Amateur Radio Group is one of many groups that are meeting 24 hours to be sure they are prepared to relay information in a disaster.
"Basically what this is for is to practice putting up antennas, and trying to simulate operating in an emergency situation," says Tupelo Amateur Radio Club member Gregg Fitzgerald. "We are operating off battery power, we have solar panels to charge batteries [and] we have generators for power backup also."
What the group does is contact other radio groups across the United States and Canada.
It's like a practice run in case there is an emergency where televisions and cell phones wouldn't be operable.
The Tupelo group is using three forms of communication: phone, morse code and a digital communication similar to email, and they say there is no limit as long as they have strong antennas.
"You can actually contact people around the world," says TARC President Dan Hales. "I have contacted people in 100 different countries."
In severe weather, the group says they serve as the eyes and ears on the ground.
They pass information onto the National Weather Service that could possibly save lives.
"When Pontotoc had the real bad tornadoes a couple years ago, we had the weather net up and running that night and were able to pass information onto the weather service in Memphis," says Fitzgerald. "When they have live information, they can use it helps expedite their warnings."
The amateurs are all volunteers and are not compensated for any work they do.
The Tupelo club's president says they all have their reasons for joining, though.
"Some are interested in building equipment, some are interested in getting awards for contacting people in different places, some like to build antennas and some just like the social aspect of it," says Hales.
To be a part of an amateur radio group, a member must be licensed by The Federal Communications Commission.