Fitting the radio hobby in with the rest of your life

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pb_lonny

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This applies to any area of the radio hobby, if this is amateur radio, shortwave listening, radio scanning, ultralight DXing or any other area. It becomes more of an issue as your other responsibilities taken over and other people / domestic harmony need to be considered.

I am very interested to get a discussion going on how we each manage this and any issues we have found, some general questions to get the discussion started.

- Do you set aside a specific time / day regularly for your radio hobby?

-Do you generally try and fit your radio hobby around the rest of your life or your life around your radio hobby? This may be more important where other people are involved and you need to fit in with them either way.

- How supportive are your family, friends and co-workers with your radio hobby and is it something that is seen as a part of your family life or is it something that is more hidden away and not really supported / understood by them?

- Would you ever consider making a major decision due to how other people feel about your hobby such as ending a long-term relationship if the other person didn’t support your hobby and didn’t want you to participate in it?

- Any general tips or advice on the ways you combine your radio hobby with the rest of your life?

Regards
Paul
Ultralight DXing
 

Fast1eddie

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Paul, a very interesting topic we can all relate to. Personally, my view is our hobby is no different from any other hobby. Obviously for maximum enjoyment one has to be nocturnal from time to time and not take crap off the neighbors for the antennas. I am divorced now so for me I am in heaven.

Ignorance in society concerns me as I enjoy monitoring while mobile. I am concerned some overzealous do gooder will label me as NSA and go after me. Although I possess a valid amateur ticket, I am not active.

As with any other interest, the potential certainly exists to go overboard, especially financially. I have seen this happen and we have to remind ourselves from time to time having the latest and greatest is great, but I have not seen any homeless monitoring with a Icom R9000 (A sweet receiver) off a DC supply seated on the park bench.

Are you composing a paper on this??

And no, monitoring nor the expense of it contributed to my divorce. FREEDOM!!!!!!

Good Signals,

ed
 

n5ims

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- Do you set aside a specific time / day regularly for your radio hobby?
No. Setting aside a specific time could easily prevent me from doing something important with family. It may be an important game I should attend for my kids or helping with homework or a project.

-Do you generally try and fit your radio hobby around the rest of your life or your life around your radio hobby? This may be more important where other people are involved and you need to fit in with them either way.
My hobby time is important to me just like my family's hobby time is important to them. I wouldn't prevent my wife from sewing or her craft work just as she doesn't prevent me from pursuing my radio hobby. There may be times when we need to compromise (do I spend $3000 on a new radio for me or the same amount on a knitting machine that she wants) but that compromise doesn't indicate more support for one or the other. Mostly it's a matter of who "needs" it more or simply whose turn it is. There are times when my radio "noise" bothers the family and then I either shut it down or simply use headphones. Likewise, there are times when she's reading while I'm trying to sleep and she makes changes (either stopping or moving so the light doesn't bother me).

- How supportive are your family, friends and co-workers with your radio hobby and is it something that is seen as a part of your family life or is it something that is more hidden away and not really supported / understood by them?
They generally accept it's something I like to do and leave it at that. None are interested in getting their licenses and I leave it at that as well. Now, there are times when I'm asked "What's going on?" when there are sirens close by or a few PD cars congregated nearby. I try to explain, if I know, or let them know that once they're on scene there's nothing on the scanner to say so I really don't know why they're there. Same thing when I'm asked which pattern she should sew or what yarn to knit that new sweater with. I may not know or really care, but still try to help simply because it's what she loves. I'm sure she feels the same with my questions.

- Would you ever consider making a major decision due to how other people feel about your hobby such as ending a long-term relationship if the other person didn’t support your hobby and didn’t want you to participate in it?
Absolutely not. That would be like getting a divorce because she chose a red car and I don't like red cars, totally ignoring the fact that I drive my car and she drives hers. If I don't like her hobbies and she doesn't like mine so what if we're happy with most everything else. Make it known that it's OK for both sides to have their own interests so long as they don't cause other major problems. Now if one likes killing and eating human flesh and the other is a total vegan, yes that may be reason for rethinking your relationship. If one likes radios and the other likes gardening, what's the real problem?

- Any general tips or advice on the ways you combine your radio hobby with the rest of your life?
Compromise. Much of my radio use is in the car (when I'm alone, generally) or when it doesn't bother anyone else. I wouldn't have my scanner on in the bedroom while my wife is trying to watch TV. The competing noise would cause problems on both sides. I also don't obsess with my radios to the point that I ignore her or the rest of the family. "Everything in moderation" is a good motto to live by. I don't bring the HT or scanner with my to the dining room table on Thanksgiving and expect the wife to not bring her book and the kids to not bring their iPod, Gameboy, and cell phones either. Family time is just that, family time. It's not me tinkering with my radio, her reading on her Kindle, and the kids playing with their gadgets while we happen to be sitting at the same table.
 

pb_lonny

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Thanks for the reply, some very interesting points you make and I am glad to hear that the radio hobby didn't cause your divorce :)

Are you composing a paper on this??
No, this is just something I have been thinking about and I was hoping to see what experiences other people had with it.
 

pb_lonny

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Absolutely not. That would be like getting a divorce because she chose a red car and I don't like red cars, totally ignoring the fact that I drive my car and she drives hers. If I don't like her hobbies and she doesn't like mine so what if we're happy with most everything else. Make it known that it's OK for both sides to have their own interests so long as they don't cause other major problems. Now if one likes killing and eating human flesh and the other is a total vegan, yes that may be reason for rethinking your relationship. If one likes radios and the other likes gardening, what's the real problem?
Thanks for the reply. With your reply above I was talking more about if they didn't want you to participate in the radio hobby at all, as in they spend what they like on their hobby but don't want you spending money on radios or if you spend time with the radio hobby they get upset yet if you do something else they don't mind. Not so much a like / dislike but more not wanting you to do that hobby but happy with you doing other ones that are more expensive / time consuming.
 

n5ims

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Thanks for the reply. With your reply above I was talking more about if they didn't want you to participate in the radio hobby at all, as in they spend what they like on their hobby but don't want you spending money on radios or if you spend time with the radio hobby they get upset yet if you do something else they don't mind. Not so much a like / dislike but more not wanting you to do that hobby but happy with you doing other ones that are more expensive / time consuming.
In that case the biggest thing you can do is communicate. Find out what specifically about your hobby she doesn't like and why. Is it that you're ignoring her (in her opinion) because you're listening to "that damn radio"? Is it that you (in her opinion) think her hobbies are boring and yours are boring to her in return?

Perhaps a compromise is in order. You can listen when she's not around or busy doing something else. Maybe you can help her out with her hobbies as well so you seam more interested in them. Maybe it's just a matter of "agreeing to disagree" where you can enjoy your hobbies while she enjoys hers and both agree not to spend too much money (basically even out the cost) or time (don't ignore the other person by spending too much time on your own hobby).
 

jim9251

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That's easy. I'm retired and I'm divorced so I don't have anyone telling me how to live my life. I use ham radio like any other hobby, fishing, hiking, Jeeping, gold panning. Now when it's a blizzard and 40 below outside, I'll pretty much be on the radio. Sunny and 70, I'll be trout fishing.
 

N0IU

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- Any general tips or advice on the ways you combine your radio hobby with the rest of your life?
With all due respect, if you have to ask these types of questions, you are not ready to be in a relationship. If you have a solid relationship based on honest communication with each other, none of these things are issues.
 

pb_lonny

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With all due respect, if you have to ask these types of questions, you are not ready to be in a relationship. If you have a solid relationship based on honest communication with each other, none of these things are issues.
I have been happily married for a number of years and my wife is very supportive of my hobby. This was more to get some discussion happening and not about me personally.
 

N8IAA

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Will be married for almost four decades this spring. Communication is the main ingredient for a successful marriage. Been a ham for 29 years, scanner hobbyist for 43 years.

Back in the late 80's, early 90's, I used to fox hunt with a ham club I was associated with. Wife drove, I ran the radio and antenna. We won a lot because of her intuition and my skills. First thing when she hears sirens, what's going on?

Compromise is also important.

I don't have a problem buying radios, as long as it's my money and not household. We made that deal to many years ago. It works.
Larry
 

TheSpaceMan

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Will be married for almost four decades this spring. Communication is the main ingredient for a successful marriage. Been a ham for 29 years, scanner hobbyist for 43 years.

Back in the late 80's, early 90's, I used to fox hunt with a ham club I was associated with. Wife drove, I ran the radio and antenna. We won a lot because of her intuition and my skills. First thing when she hears sirens, what's going on?

Compromise is also important.

I don't have a problem buying radios, as long as it's my money and not household. We made that deal to many years ago. It works.
Larry
Interesting point. Separate bank accounts have saved quite a bit of arguing in my relationship!
 

AgentCOPP1

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This applies to any area of the radio hobby, if this is amateur radio, shortwave listening, radio scanning, ultralight DXing or any other area. It becomes more of an issue as your other responsibilities taken over and other people / domestic harmony need to be considered.

I am very interested to get a discussion going on how we each manage this and any issues we have found, some general questions to get the discussion started.

- Do you set aside a specific time / day regularly for your radio hobby?

-Do you generally try and fit your radio hobby around the rest of your life or your life around your radio hobby? This may be more important where other people are involved and you need to fit in with them either way.

- How supportive are your family, friends and co-workers with your radio hobby and is it something that is seen as a part of your family life or is it something that is more hidden away and not really supported / understood by them?

- Would you ever consider making a major decision due to how other people feel about your hobby such as ending a long-term relationship if the other person didn’t support your hobby and didn’t want you to participate in it?

- Any general tips or advice on the ways you combine your radio hobby with the rest of your life?

Regards
Paul
Ultralight DXing
I don't set a specific time or day. Usually it's earlier in the evenings though when I'm home and not doing anything.

I fit my hobby around my life mainly because it really doesn't take that much time just to get on the air and chat every once in a while. The initial application/learning process to buy everything, get your license etc is a bit time consuming but besides that there's no need to make your life fit ham radio unless you just really really love it.

My friends know that I'm a ham radio operator but I don't think they really know what it means. My parents are pretty much the only ones who think it's really cool, but a lot of my colleagues don't even know what "ham" radio is. They think it's some bad form of Louisiana roadkill or something. Most of the time the response is "what's the point? You can just use cell phones." Well what's the point of running around in circles on a track when you could do the same thing in a car? That's usually how the debate goes but most people don't understand what's so great about it. That's just how it is.

I would never change my hobby to suit other people's desires. If they want to change something about me, they can go screw themselves because I would never be friends with someone like that. I'd rather be in a relationship with a woman who loves me for everything that I am and if she for some reason just can't stand ham radio, hate to say it but she's out the door because I'm not changing.

Ham radio does not need to "combine" with your life. It can be as obtrusive or unobtrusive as you want it to be. Some people eat breath and sleep ham radio and some people just think of it as an extremely enjoyable pastime (like me). It's not some huge commitment like getting married because you can reserve it to just an hour of your evening if you want it to, and ham radios don't complain and always do exactly what you've made them to do (even if you made them incorrectly... that's when you blame the radio but only the operator/repairman is to blame). So your question about how obtrusive ham radio is is extremely subjective because it depends on how much you want it to be a part of your life.
 

brndnstffrd

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That's easy. I'm retired and I'm divorced so I don't have anyone telling me how to live my life. I use ham radio like any other hobby, fishing, hiking, Jeeping, gold panning. Now when it's a blizzard and 40 below outside, I'll pretty much be on the radio. Sunny and 70, I'll be trout fishing.
Why not combine the 2 and bring a radio fishing? :lol:
 

K7MEM

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I have been a ham (on and off) for 49 years now and have never had any real issues with the XYL. Mostly, the XYL doesn't understand the fascination I have with radios. None of my kids showed any interest in ham radio.

Before I retired, ham radio always took a back seat. My job was very demanding on my time and required a good bit of travel. That was OK with the XYL because she sometimes went with me. She loved the three years we spent in Germany and traveling all over Europe. I did too because I obtained a reciprocal license and operated as DA2EU.

Since I retired, I have been able to devote a little more time to ham radio. But there are still things that take precedence. The horses (5) and dogs (4) need to fed, groomed, and watered regularly. The property (5 acres) and the structures (barn, house, shed, fence, etc.) seem to need constant maintenance. So now my shack is in the barn, where I seem to spend a lot of my time. I can just take a break from other work and make a contact or two, and then go back to work. I don't work contests or hunt certificates so casual operation works for me.

All those guys that told me I would be bored stiff in retirement, didn't know what they were talking about. I have something to do every single day.

Will be married for almost four decades this spring.
That's interesting. The XYL and I will hit the 40 year mark in April.
 

PACNWDude

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Hobby and life co-existing.

I have combined hobby,work use of radios easily by mounting hardware in my cars. Then you can either listen or transmit at will also. Just as long as you are safe about it. Scanners, ham radios, and car stereos can live in harmony.

It helps to work in an industry that mobile mounts radios in every vehicle and vessel I am on too.
 

rapidcharger

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Ham radio is a big hobby of mine and a significant portion of my day is spent on the air but I'm on the local bands exclusively so I can and do take a portable with me and I'm always connected for when I have free time. I don't lock myself in the shack for hours because my shack is everywhere and anywhere and at any time of the day. Even at work so long as I get done what I'm supposed to.

Non-ham friends and family do not understand the fascination but it is not an issue. I do not look to them for support or understanding of the hobby. If they're interested, great. If not, (and none are) then it really makes no difference to me. I don't seek nor do I require their approval.

As for the long term relationship, it's really tough to say.
If the hobby became some unhealthy addiction and there was an intervention then no but if someone was just getting a little too psycho then yeah. Chances are though, it wouldn't just be due to the hobby.
 

n5ims

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Why not combine the 2 and bring a radio fishing? :lol:
I do that often at hamfests. I fish for folks that have what they call "boat anchors" and try to turn them into what I call "classic radios".
 

McCroskey

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- Do you set aside a specific time / day regularly for your radio hobby?
Umm, no, this is a hobby, which by definition means it's something I do in my "free time," whenever that actually happens. Sometimes it may be a few hours on several days in a row, sometimes it's for a few minutes once every few weeks. I don't stress about it.

-Do you generally try and fit your radio hobby around the rest of your life or your life around your radio hobby? This may be more important where other people are involved and you need to fit in with them either way.
If your life revolves around a "hobby," then I would hope you don't have anyone else relying on your support for ANYTHING, otherwise, it's just ludicrously selfish.

- How supportive are your family, friends and co-workers with your radio hobby and is it something that is seen as a part of your family life or is it something that is more hidden away and not really supported / understood by them?
My family knows I like this stuff so they accept it. Not sure my wife or kids understand the fascination but that's ok, it's not something that detracts from us functioning as a family.

- Would you ever consider making a major decision due to how other people feel about your hobby such as ending a long-term relationship if the other person didn’t support your hobby and didn’t want you to participate in it?
This is a joke, right? Wouldn't a significant other know about your interests LONG before you got to the "long-relationship point?"

- Any general tips or advice on the ways you combine your radio hobby with the rest of your life?
Yeah, don't be selfish. I don't want my kids growing up and only having memories of me playing on my radios, and/or otherwise ignoring them. Same goes for the relationship with my wife, she's my best friend and I can't imagine looking back in 30 years and have more memories with my hobbies than with her.
 
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