JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Amateur radio enthusiasts packed the Mississippi Trade Mart for this year’s Hamfest on Saturday, January 28.

People were able to buy and trade radios and accessories. It was also a chance to reconnect with old friends or meet people in person they’ve only heard through a radio.

One Hamfest participant said his love for using ham radios started almost six years ago, after being gifted a ham receiver. He recalled staying up well into the late-night hours to listen to stations from across the world.

“You pick up the microphone for a while to call on the air and somebody is going to answer. They could be in Slovakia. They may be in Argentina. They may be in Canada or maybe in Alabama. But somebody somewhere is going to answer them. You make a new friend. It works when nothing else does. You can operate a ham radio off of a 12-volt car battery. You don’t even need wallpaper,” said Allen McBroom, a certified ham radio operator.