Ham Radio Club seeking new members


A local resident has started up a local ham radio club in North Grenville and is hoping to attract new members. The club unites people around a common interest – Amateur radios. Amateur radios are commonly called “ham radios”, and are an important emergency transmission system that require a license to operate. Milfred Harper is the name behind the club.

Many people may not realize that there is a process involved just in being able to use a ham radio. “We take courses, and with the courses we write a final exam, which we have to pass, and the government gives us a license to talk on the two way radios,” said Milfred. “When the power is down, [ham radios] take over because we have antennas all around us.” Milfred gave the example of the Ice Storm of 1998, when phones were not working. Ham radio operators were stationed at the Kemptville Campus to offer emergency communication for those left without phones. 

“People would come in and write out a message,” Milfred explained. “We would radio to… say Winnipeg or some place like that, and they would get back to us and say ‘message received’.” The local ham radio club also welcomes telegraphers, who are becoming fewer and farer between. 

Milfred has been in touch with Mayor Nancy Peckford, who he says has agreed that a ham radio club in North Grenville is a useful idea, given the importance of having radio operators available when emergencies or disasters strike. “We don’t know when disasters are coming,” Milfred added. He explained that ham radio operators keep their radios charged so that they are ready and available when they are needed for any reason. 

Ham radio operators – called Amateur Radio Operators by the Government of Canada – must be licensed, with Milfred adding that “the government knows who we are”. The local club is a great way for local operators to stay in touch, and can also act as a source of information for those looking to get licensed. 

A meeting is taking place on April 12 at 7:30 pm at the Kemptville Family Restaurant for those interested in joining the club or learning more. Milfred has invited those interested to get in touch with him by phone, even if they are unable to attend the meeting and must make alternative arrangements. Milfred can be reached at 613-258-5375. 



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