It’s an all too common story in our hobby. I was licensed as a high school teen with a part-time job that paid a $1.70 per hour. A few extra bucks made their way into my pocket each week by mowing lawns in the neighborhood, but after filling the car (a ’72 Nova that could pass everything but a gas station) and a date night movie and pizza, I didn’t have enough disposable income to even consider any of the latest and greatest ham radio equipment.
But don’t weep for me. I somehow managed to accumulate enough used equipment to get on the air. What I couldn’t afford to buy, I built. A proper entry into this avocation by any account.
Next came education. After that, a career, then a family and it seemed there was always something else that demanded any extra cash we might accumulate. Doctor bills, new tires, prescriptions, furnace repairs, and eventually, an education for our children. The decades passed, the kids flew the coup, we burned the mortgage. I could finally afford to buy whatever ham radio equipment I wanted, and I did. An indulgent collection of brand new transceivers with large, stunning displays, bursting with colorful views of desirable radio signals being lofted by the magic of the aether.
But as the having slowly began to equal the wanting, something was still lacking. Forty-five years into this silly game I started wanting other things. Like a clean Drake 2B and a 2NT transmitter to match. I’d pay a kings ransom for a pristine HW-16 with the HG-10B that I had in 1978. Same goes for the Hallicrafters SX-140 receiver that I had before anything else, including a license.
What can I say? Life is weird beyond words and the heart wants what the heart wants. Turn the page, once again the hobby takes an unexpected twist and apparently, I’m simply along for the ride…