98-year-old HAM operator still going strong


URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) – He may have retired from his job, But one 98-year-old saID he will never retire from his favorite hobby.

Since 1947 Earl Finder has been a HAM radio operator. Every day he gets on his radio and hosts what they call the Illni Net.

Finder is an amateur radio operator, and for 45 years, he’s been hosting the Illini Net for other HAM radio operators across the world.

“So, it’s just kind of routine anymore,” he said.

It started when he retired, and a HAM from Urbana moved out to California. Finder said they would talk every once in a while on the radio.

“Next thing you knew, we were doing it every day. We got on there and talked a while, and next thing you know, other HAMs heard us and joined us,” Finder said.

He said he’s had people from across the country, and even the world, join in.

For him, the hobby started when he was a teenager messing with one of his dad’s radios. He heard a few people talking and realized it was some local amateur radio operators.

But he said he has one inspiration for what he does.

“I think the person who inspired me was a baseball announcer by the name of Bob Elson. Who broadcast the Cubs and White Sox’s game in the 30’s. I admired him and always thought I’d like to be a sports announcer, but I didn’t think I would ever be able to do that. So, this is my closest way to get on the radio,” he said.

Finder said he has made many friends for a lifetime on his radio. Some he’s even been able to meet in person, and he said he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

If you would like to get involved in HAM radio you can find out more here.

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