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Bruce County man leads 'Ham Radio' youth movement

“Poppa, Charlie, Poppa” rings out inside Rob Noakes’ home in the hamlet of Inverhuron, near Kincardine. He’s been a Ham Radio operator for more than 30 years and knows exactly what the perception of his hobby is.

“There’s an image of Ham Radio operators, as a bunch of old guys sitting in a dark room, talking on a radio. We’re trying to change that perception,” said Noakes, who runs the Inverhuron Ham Radio Club.

Through his own remote Ham Radio station, Noakes has started an international youth movement in his hobby.

He recently gave his station over to 11 youngsters, seven young ladies, and four young men, from as far away as Serbia and Switzerland, to operate remotely. Among them, is Raisa Skrynnikova from St. Petersburg, Russia.

“In our hobby, mostly it’s men, but I do not agree with this position. This hobby is wonderful for women, too,” Skrynnikova said.

Skrynnikova started her own Ham Radio station a few years ago. She says it’s a great way, to meet people, from around the world.

Raisa Skrynnikova, Russian Ham Radio operator, (Source: Raisa Skrynnikova)“If you use Zoom, you could not call to a person you don’t know and say ‘hello.’ That’s why Ham Radio is a very interesting hobby to meet people from all over the globe,” she said.

While talk of politics, religion, and sex are usually off-limits in the Ham Radio world, Skrynnikova’s Russian background has made for some more intense conversations over the past few months.

“I thought in Ham Radio it wouldn’t be so difficult in this situation, but now I really feel some problems. But, of course, all my problems are nothing if compared with problems in Ukraine,” she said.

Politics aside, Noakes says his young Ham Radio operators from around the world are meeting fairly regularly, through his remote station in tiny Inverhuron, bridging a gap, during difficult times.

“When all else fails, you have Ham Radio. When the hurricane struck in Puerto Rico, it was Ham Radio operators who went down, and set up temporary communications because they had no infrastructure left,” Noakes said.

To learn more about Ham Radio’s youth movement being led from Bruce County, you can visit the Inverhuron Ham Radio Club website. 

Logo for Inverhuron Ham Radio Club remote station in Iverhuron, Ont. on Friday, May 27, 2022. (Scott Miller/CTV News London) Top Stories

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