Local amateur radio operators joined ham enthusiasts worldwide over the weekend to compete in a Morse code contest for 48 hours nonstop.

The competition, called the CQ Worldwide CW contest, tests the speed and endurance of ham radio operators around the world.

Andrew Eden, former president of the Cayman Islands Amateur Radio Operators Association, explained that participating operators are adjudged points on their length of communication and the distance of the connections made.

“It’s exciting. I got amateurs from all over the world who come down here to compete,” Eden said during an interview at the Savannah home on Saturday.

The contest started at 7pm on Friday and ran until Sunday.

Eden said while the local ham radio community is small, it is quite active.
Amateur radio operators provide a great source of communication, especially in times of disasters, he added.

“We were the only one operating after Hurricane Ivan. All communications were down,” Eden said.

“When there is a hurricane coming, we [are] always out there communicating directly with the National Hurricane Centre. We provide a tremendous service for the health and welfare of many places and we are happy to make a contribution to helping out the community. It’s all voluntary,” he added.

Recently a group of nine amateur radio operators from as far away as Japan visited Grand Cayman to improve and test the emergency communication capabilities of the radio station at Eden’s home.

Eden said visitors often travel to Cayman to use his radio shack for their broadcasts.
“When the guys come down, they help me by putting up new antennas and all of that in the station to make it better for everyone and, in times of disaster, when all communication is down, we are here to help everyone,” he said.

Over the weekend of 26 and 27 Oct. Eden’s station was used to participate in a major worldwide amateur radio-operating event. Keeping the station on the air for 48 hours, the international visitors contacted thousands of amateur radio stations in more than 100 different countries around the globe.