Wednesday 4 November 2020



Whenever I find myself discussing my hobbies with other people, I have no issues declaring my interest in Photography, Art, Motorcycling, Walking, Sci-Fi or Music. But as soon as I mention Flight Simulation and HAM Radio, I find myself becoming defensive.

I always feel that it's not enough to just say "I'm into Amateur Radio". I have to follow it up with a long, wittering explanation of why I do it and explain what makes it interesting and worthwhile. It's almost as if I  know, deep down, that it really IS a bit of a sad hobby.

Going back to when I was a youngster growing up, I believe that I was always a bit different to most of my peers who simply wanted to play football, climb trees and break into derelict buildings. I enjoyed some of those things, but I also had a strong interest in engines, transistor radios, tape recorders, television and generally how things worked (also known as pulling things apart).

I was also a prolific Model Kit builder. Planes, tanks, cars, ships. Anything that was a bit challenging. Needless to say, most lads my age found it all a bit 'sad' 😂

In my teens, all my mates loved the Beatles, I loved Steely Dan. My mates dreamed of having a Ford Cortina, I dreamed of having a Kawasaki Z900. My mates watched The Fonz in Happy Days and I watched Captain Kirk in Star Trek.

I was not a brainiac! I was not even the slightest bit clever. But I was curious about things and always a bit 'contrary'. Not for the sake of it - just because I liked to explore alternatives and not just accept the mundane, run of the mill stuff. 

Anyway, here I am in my 60's and nothing's changed much. I'm still into Photography, Art, Motorcycling, Walking and I'm still building models, listening to Steely Dan and riding motorbikes.  I added serious SWL to my hobby-list about 30 years ago and Flight/Combat Simulation about 20 years ago. 

So are we a bunch of saddos? 

Well no - I don't think so. In fact, I honestly feel sorry for those people who have no hobbies - and I know a few of them! Personally, I can't even imagine a life without hobbies - and not just any hobby, but hobbies which challenge you or things which provide a creative outlet.

I often find that it's those people who have no hobbies who are the ones who have the most to say about my hobbies. And it's not always 'dumbos' who cannot see the value of my hobbies - I've even heard mocking banter from some pretty intelligent acquaintances when it comes to Amateur Radio!

I find Amateur Radio quite exciting for a number of reasons and I especially love exploring the wide range of operating modes. I love to speak with people from all walks of life, from all sorts of countries, with all sorts of outlooks and attitudes. I like to look people up on QRZ as I'm talking to them and finding that they're actually an airline pilot or something similarly interesting. I love the idea of speaking with someone in space or bouncing a signal off the moon! Or just having a bit of a natter with a local friend on 2M or maybe joining in the local LockDown Net.

And I still just love to sit twiddling the dial on a ShortWave radio listening to foreign broadcast radio, as I did when I was a young boy, marvelling at the idea of radio waves travelling from China to my house through a little cheap transistor radio.

I do know that many people link Amateur Radio to CB and as soon as I mention my hobby, I get the usual "Breaker Breaker" and "Eyeball Eyeball" comments, along with "Oh yeh, I used to do that in the 80's". 

But then I have a confession. 

I too, can be a bit snooty about certain hobbies, so maybe I'm just as bad as my own critics. I frequently distance myself from any notion that HAMS are similar to CB operators! No, no, we're way above  the Children's Band. We have an Ofcom Licence don't you know? 😂

I think Fishing is a bit sad. Having a day off work to sit on the wet bank of your local lodge waiting to catch a fish that you're going to throw back into the water 😵

And what about Train/Plane Spotters in their anoraks with notepad and pencil?

And Football Fans who watch rich guys kick a ball, shouting "Come on you reds"!!

And Stamp Collectors. And Comic Collectors.

Maybe we're all a bit sad in our own way? But surely, we're all that little bit better off than those people who don't have an interest in ANYTHING?

Personally, I would never let anyone'sopinions effect my enjoyment of a hobby. Sure, it would be nice if everyone agreed with our choices, but that's never gonna happen is it?

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

73, Tom, M7MCQ 😀


VE9KK said...

Great post Tom, I’m in the same boat when I mention my hobby is ham radio. I too loved to take things apart to see what made them tick...drove my mom nuts! Ham radio has really enriched me.....learning CW is like knowing another language, the reading and learning keeps my mind sharp and operating is a pure joy.
I remember telling folks at work to get a hobby what ever it might be as when you retire your not looking at 4 walls.
Thanks for the great post Tom,

PE4BAS, Bas said...

Tom, who cares if it is cool or not. As long as you have fun with it. Our hobby is difficult to explain to people. 73, Bas