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How Much Is Too Much And Where Does It Stop??

TailGator911

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#1
I know there are a few here on this fine website, like me, that are in the 'senior citizen' phase of your lives - grandchildren, in our 60s, veterans, semi-retired snowbirds, and all of the highs and lows in-between - that love this great multi-faceted hobby of ours - amateur radio, shortwave radio listening and scanner monitoring - who remember the cost differential from when we first started to find interest in the radio hobby to now 40-50 years later as we attempt to keep up with the technology. What did a 'police' scanner cost then, as opposed to now? What percentage of your yearly income was devoted to your hobbie(s)? How much have your buying habits changed from then to now? Interesting, huh.

I started the new year off with a few add-ons to the radio desk, and it got me to thinking, which is dangerous. A few days ago, I slapped down $2500 for the Icom IC-8600, paid $700 in advance for a Uniden SDS200 digital I/Q scanner, and another $500 buckaroos for a G-800DXA Yaesu antenna rotor system. Plus coax and fittings and adapters. When I looked at the total amount I almost had to slap myself. When did the amateur radio hobby get so expensive? I am officially retired now, we are Florida snowbirds just getting into the RVing experience and taking it slow, one day at a time, and we have been blessed by our Lord to be able to afford a comfortable lifestyle and provide the same for our children and those in our family circle who need a helping hand. Not a millionaire by anyone's standards, but retirement is certainly comfortable, and I have long ago justified the whims of my income so as not to feel wracked with guilt every time I write a check. The fact is, I make an obscene amount of money for what I do (soundtrack recording), and I have only recently come to terms with it. So, long story short, as I balanced my bank accounts and went over the figures, I looked at how much I actually spend yearly on my own personal hobbies vs family functions and vacations, church tithing and charitable contributions. A wave of guilt ran over me as I tried to mentally justify spending nearly $4000 in one transaction for radios and equipment. Wow! Had to ask myself, just how much is too much? Where does it end? But, instead of any cancellations or stop payments or second thoughts, I immediately thought about how I could pad the impact and distract so she wouldn't take much notice. Easier said than done. I went and purchased his & hers mountain bikes. I booked a Carnival Caribbean cruise for May. I bought her (ok, me, too) a new Nikon Coolpix P900 digital camera. Some new outfits for her to wear in the Caribbean. I took a deep breath at my desk - where does it stop? It is now the domino effect. Now I am scrambling to paint camouflage over everything radio so as not to be noticed. (hah!). She doesn't blink at guitars and recording equipment for the studio, because she knows that provides the income. So how do we justify that radio desk nook that grows and grows and grows and soon demands a room of it's own?

Is there a support/help group for this, I wonder? lol I am kidding, of course. If I didn't think I could afford it, I wouldn't spend it. This is all about my wife's lifestyle and philosophies versus my own. This is considered frivolous spending by her. A waste of money and time by me over something she does not entirely understand nor is able to rationalize. So, the only thing I can think of to do is counter-punch with travel and bling and what she likes. I am sure many of you reading this are in the same situation. How do you justify the expense? I can usually sway her if I can convince her that this all pertains to family safety and survival. We have bugout kits and emergency gear and all that goes with that, so communications was, at one point, a justified expense...but now? She knows better. I was bitten by the bug years ago and it is now coming to light just how bad this radio hobby (ok, obsession) infection has grown. I have one wall in my studio dedicated to radio, and now thinking of converting in the basement. Anybody in the same boat? How do you justify? lol

How much is too much and where does it stop?? Love to hear your own situations :)

JD
kf4anc
 

ofd8001

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#2
I'm in somewhat of a similar situation, though we are at a fixed location with some travel.

"How much is too much" is a personal question and circumstances depend on the person. Scanning can be expensive, but compare it to golf which even more expensive. Clubs=scanners and then you need disposables like balls and a place to play.
 
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#3
You could record sounds and noises from the radios, produce an Avant Garde CD compilation and then the radio equipment becomes part of the business. You can write it off to the IRS, then when the wife wants to know why you are listening to all those noises, tell her you are making sound effects police chatter for some Hollywood big wigs. (You could actually do that!)
 
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#4
I'm in somewhat of a similar situation, though we are at a fixed location with some travel.

"How much is too much" is a personal question and circumstances depend on the person. Scanning can be expensive, but compare it to golf which even more expensive. Clubs=scanners and then you need disposables like balls and a place to play.
I could never figure out golf. The only time I ever golfed was a company forced "bonding" outing at the same place they filmed that movie Caddyshack, Grand Oaks in Davie FL. Every $3 ball I hit went straight into the water as if pulled by a magnet. It was truly a waste of time and money.
 

ShyFlyer

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#5
I don't think we are anywhere near companies like Uniden pricing themselves out of the market. One has to simply look at the initial SDS200 thread (now locked) and there is no shortage of people willing to practically force money into Uniden's pockets and the radio isn't even technically on the market yet (pre-orders not withstanding).

If you want to see a really expensive hobby, take up flying!
 

teknishun

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#6
Since you brought up the subject of How Much Is Too Much, do you want to see something really scary?
Invest in the PC program "Quicken" which was formerly made by Intuit. You can track every penny that
comes into and goes out of your possession. You assign "categories" and "payees" to track where the
money goes after it comes in. I highly recommend this program. It is very versatile. Now for the scary
part - you can sort and print reports that tell you exactly what you spent your money on and how much
over the past week, month, quarter, year, etc. You get the idea. THAT info is the real eye opener!
 

KK4JUG

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#7
It's like others have said: It's a personal decision. I'm pretty much in the same boat as the OP. Apparently, I have a few years on him. I'm 74. Though I'm interested in both scanning and ham, I'm not as fanatical as many others on this forum. I haven't invested big sums of money. I do still serve as communications officer for the regional interstate SAR unit but I think I'm about to give that up. I'm ready to give up being on call 31 (that's 24 & 7).

Because I'm not as diehard as others here, I haven't spent the money on electronics some have. Instead, I bought a motorhome. Of course, there's ham radio in it and I put a scanner in it when I'm on the move.

I guess I'm kinda like TailGator911. I'm not rich but if I want something, I buy it.
 

darkness975

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#8
Women spend ridiculous amounts of money on nails, make up, clothes, and whatever other crap that is not necessary.

The way I see it, live and let live. I am not interested in compartmentalizing what they spend on things like that so long as they dont do it to me and the life necessities (i.e. bills) are met and saving for retirement is not ignored.
 
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#9
Two kids ,both men now . One our of the marines and the other a engineer . Now that the stability goal is complete and I’ve served father in contributing they have a good life . I get crazy with the bank account lol. I have spent thousands on hobbies . This one (scanning) being the cheapest actually . Try racing dirt for 20 some years late model series and street stock divisions yearly car 10-15,000 ,weekly entry fees ,crew,haulers gas . Through all of it . Always had a scanner hanging around . Point is I take easy now and scanning is far been my favorite thing to do . Wish I could have half the money i spent Racing . Now my wife and I load the truck, haul the camper . We both enjoy the radio chatter ,noise . I’ve got a point I’m trying to contribute . Do what you love doing . Your not taking any of these things (toys) with you in the end . Enjoy whatever makes you happy
 
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#11
So how do we justify that radio desk nook that grows and grows and grows and soon demands a room of it's own?
When I want some new toy, my wife reminds me that I work hard, provide for my family quite nicely, we all have what we need and want, and if I want it, that's good enough for her. There's only one way to argue with a woman who has that sort of attitude - don't.

My ham radio budget approaches $10k per year. It's not all new radios all the time. A lot goes to test equipment. Some new phase stable cables, or a set of HP attenuates, or a power sensor, or something. My wife never begrudges whatever I might want. Why should she? I will occasionally come home and tell her we're buying her a new car, or some other new toy.
 
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#12
If you want to see a really expensive hobby, take up flying!
I've been doing that since I was a kid in high school. Yeah, it's expensive, but you can keep a cap on it by doing things like ownership of a C172 or C182, something with straight legs and fixed pitch prop. Better yet, put the little wheel in the back, get yourself a nice rag wing taildragger. Have an A&P or two in the family, and when you run out the TBO on the engine, sell the thing cheap, and buy another mid-time taildragger or mid-60's Cessna. I have several VERY expensive hobbies, but somehow it works. I actually spend more on radio stuff.

A couple of friends of mine have twins - one an Aerostar, and the other a C310. Ops and maintenance is in the mid 5 figures annually for those things. No thanks.
 
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#14
If it makes you feel any better, then run an inflation-cost-calculator online for some radio gear that cost say $800 and compare it to what you get for the equivalent money today. Computers and amateur radio in particular.

I bought 9600 baud modem for a "deal" of a price for $500 in 1993. Couple grand for a high end 386 computer. How about an Apple II for about $2K ?

Now run through some of your radio gear and remember what you paid for it back then. Same kind of deal. It kinda relieves a little bit of the pain. :)
 

darkness975

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#15
If it's what makes them happy, it doesn't have to be "necessary". "I want it" should be good enough.
My point regarding the OP's post is that as long as I am not being told I am wasting time/money/etc on scanners or my other hobbies then I have no issue with her spending money on nails/makeup/etc. so long as both of us remain on the right track with regards to bills, obligations, and of course retirement investing.
 
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#16
and I have long ago justified the whims of my income so as not to feel wracked with guilt every time I write a check. The fact is, I make an obscene amount of money for what I do (soundtrack recording), and I have only recently come to terms with it. So, long story short, as I balanced my bank accounts and went over the figures, I looked at how much I actually spend yearly on my own personal hobbies vs family functions and vacations, church tithing and charitable contributions. A wave of guilt ran over me as I tried to mentally justify spending nearly $4000 in one transaction for radios and equipment. Wow! Had to ask myself, just how much is too much? Where does it end?
sounds to me like the wracked with guilt part has yet to be conquered....

is this a case of the "rich man's burden"?

if your wife ever divorces you, gimme a ring. ill marry ya.
 
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#17
How much is too much and where does it stop?? Love to hear your own situations :)

JD
kf4anc

JD, it's called self control. I used to, back in the late 80's and early 90's, buy, trade, and sell ham equipment and scanners. It got to the point where I saw the light. I bought the best equipment I could afford and kept it. The last bit of ham gear I bought was almost ten years ago. The last scanner I bought was almost three years ago. All do what I want them to do.
Don't understand the mentality of having to own the latest and greatest. Especially when so many electronics are obsolete soon as they are out the door.
My observation is be happy with what you have. I've noticed in the last five years on this site how many push a product without regard for what is actually needed. Never understood that mentality.:confused:


Larry
 
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Messages
259
Location
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#19
Two kids ,both men now . One our of the marines and the other a engineer . Now that the stability goal is complete and I’ve served father in contributing they have a good life . I get crazy with the bank account lol. I have spent thousands on hobbies . This one (scanning) being the cheapest actually . Try racing dirt for 20 some years late model series and street stock divisions yearly car 10-15,000 ,weekly entry fees ,crew,haulers gas . Through all of it . Always had a scanner hanging around . Point is I take easy now and scanning is far been my favorite thing to do . Wish I could have half the money i spent Racing . Now my wife and I load the truck, haul the camper . We both enjoy the radio chatter ,noise . I’ve got a point I’m trying to contribute . Do what you love doing . Your not taking any of these things (toys) with you in the end . Enjoy whatever makes you happy
Grammar on the other hand ? Priceless
 

TailGator911

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#20
I am married to a wonderful woman who can squeeze the blood out of a buffalo nickel. She is the financial manager in our union and she knows how to manage and manipulate, how to invest and save, and how to work it so that our investments pay monthly dividends on top of retirement income and contract employment. I never have to 'ask' her for money, and we made an agreement a long time ago that we would always converse and consult with each other before either of us made any large purchases. That being said, I thought 4k was a 'large purchase' so I notified her of my intentions and we discussed it briefly before I hit the PayPal button. Her only question, after looking at the shopping cart on the monitor was - "if you really think you need it, and if you can't live without it." I mentally discussed this with myself (albeit briefly) and pressed the PayPal enter key. I replied to her and said "Can I live w/out the radios? Yes, but I don't want to. Do I need them?" I said yes, but it's not life and death. It's a matter of enjoying life with what you are blessed with. Why not? My wife considers me generous and kind and she is very happy with how I reciprocate with her when I do dip into the savings. That is what really matters.

If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy, right? ;)

KK4JUG - yeah you got a few years on me. We have the same philosophy here it seems. Well said :)

spacellamaman - I'm pretty much fat and sassy and satisfied here with my wife. If things ever do change, I'll take your offer into consideration. Please reply with a pic of your radios and firearms (lol)

JD
kf4anc
 
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