Budget your hobbies

A while back, I wrote about carving out time for amateur radio. Well, I just ran into another article along those lines titled,”A Geek’s Guide to Budgeting Hobbies.” The difference is that this article talks about budgeting funds as well as budgeting time. The following are the bits of advice that I found the most interesting or useful:

  • Budget at least 15 minutes per day for each hobby.
  • Take a day or two of your vacation time every year to work on a hobby.
  • Learn a new skill every year. For example, I have decided that, in 2012, I’m going to learn how to do antenna modeling.
  • Don’t overspend right off the bat. The example they use is photography, noting that buying a $5,000 DSLR camera isn’t going to make a newbie a great photographer. Same goes for amateur radio. Buying a $5,000 K3 right after you get your Tech ticket isn’t going to automatically make you a great ham.


  1. Very true about the overspending. In fact, there’s an argument to be made (a very valid one IMO) that limited spending causes you to develop your skills and make maximum use of your creativity.


  2. Dave New says:

    K3’s don’t cost $5000, at least not at first. 8-) I’m not even so sure you can hit that mark with a fully-tricked out K3. Maybe if you add the P3 panoramic display with the SVGA adapter — maybe.

    A really nice K3 can be had in a no-solder kit for $999. That gets you 10 watts output (which might be an issue for a beginner that isn’t ready yet to try out QRP), and a 2.7 kHz crystal roofing filter. A 100 watt kit will cost you another $500, for a total of $1499.

    The nice thing about the K3 is its modularity, in that you can add options as your interests (and budget) allows.

    The nice thing about starting with a basic K3 is that you won’t have to sell it for a big loss, when you are ready to move up, unlike every other single rig on the market. And the basic $999 model still gets you essentially the best bang for the buck receiver on the planet.

    I have no affiliation with Elecraft (the folks that make the K3), but I’m a very satisfied customer.


    — Dave, N8SBE

  3. Dan KB6NU says:

    I haven’t run the numbers, but I guessed that a fully-equipped K3 would hit at least $5,000. That included a panadapter, second receiver, etc. Other than that, I agree with you totally about the K3. Once I save up enough bucks, I’m planning to buy one.

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