Retirement and Ham Radio

Last Monday, January 4th, 2016 marked my last official day as an employee. I am now retired. I made the decision a year ago, so I've had some time to get ready for the transition. I had a very demanding job and life was a very tight schedule. Now I get to decide when I get up in the morning.

Basically my last day in the office was mid-December, so I've had a nice taste of freedom from employment already. My schedule, or lack thereof, is starting to gel although I'm sure I will go through numerous "phases", I think the pattern is set. So below are  few things that I've already experienced on how retirement will effect my ham radio pursuits.


  • I've had time actually read the owner's manual for my radios.
  • I've learned to set-up and use the frequency/band memory functions available on the K3
  • I now understand more of the menu options for the radio
  • I can now operate my HT.
  • I'm reading books about antennas
  • Contacts can actually last longer than 10 seconds
    • I love CW and have found that rag-chewing is a very enjoyable aspect of ham radio. I have met some very interesting people and I've started to make a lot of new friends since I've taken time to just call CQ and not append DX to it
    • I joined the local 2 meter weak signal group and I actually check in to their weekly net.. When I'm home I monitor 144.200 on SSB/CW. VHF/UHF can provide a lot of excitement for a DX minded ham. The DX isn't as far, but it's just as satisfying. 
  • Cleaned out my shack
    • I've acquired a lot of new equipment over the years, but I haven't gotten rid of much. There are many avenues to sell gear, EBay, QRZ.com, eHam, etc.... Now that I'm retired I will have a more modest ham radio budget and getting rid of the old stuff provides a little cash for even more toys.
  • Build the kits I've purchased
    • I haven't finished this yet, but I've started
  • Consider more expeditions
    • I love SOTA and can now plan extended SOTA activation trips with no time lines.
    • I've activated 10+ IOTA islands and can now consider planning more trips.
    What I have come to learn is that Monday is just as good a day as Saturday and weekend crowds are to be avoided. There are no crowds on Tuesdays.

    I'm sure I'll write more as I get settled into this new lifestyle.


    Mike Crownover, AD5A, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Texas, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

    14 Responses to “Retirement and Ham Radio”

    • Tom GM4FDM:

      Haleluja brother. I like the bit that every day is the same as the one before, and after. Doesn’t cut any ice though when you forget the wife’s birthday or your anniversary. Enjoy your retirement. May it be long
      and fruitful!

    • Harry K7ZOV:

      Congratulations…. In a short while you will find that retirement generates a black hole in time…You forget what day of the week it really is or even the month. You will find that all of a sudden the day is gone and you wondered what you did. You will find that projects around the house and shack breed and create more projects and then they multiply and there is no time anymore… Not just me saying this but lots of my friends too…But that all said it sure is nice sleeping in and not having to go to work… I retired almost years ago from many hard years of work and even though it still feel strange not working I am having ham fun like I never did before. Been a ham since 1963… but really have not been one until the past two years… Enjoy…You earned it…

    • Bernd DL3HX:

      Great-the same I experienced one year ago and the List Loks verdient mich Mike my – and it fills up with all you like – that’s real nice life!

    • Mike KEØGZT:

      Congrats on your new-found freedom, Mike. But I suspect you’ll soon find, just like I did, that you’re busier than ever!

    • Stephen G0PQB:

      I took early retirement nearly seven years ago. Some weeks there are just not enough days in that week to do all I have to do. It is the best job I have ever had. Plenty to do in the shack and I have explored new bands and new modes and gone mobile and portable and enjoyed my grandchildren and the government give you pocket money and my ex-employers do as well. How kind they are! Good luck in your retirement. You will soon ask the question- how did I find the time to work?

    • FRED AE2DX:

      Am with you, retired 10 years ago and STILL loving every minute of it, CQ CQ

    • dick wb5b:

      retirement is great ( in my 18 th year ) but still not enough hours in a day. trying to promote wspr to hams with spare ssb rigs ( keeps them busy 24/7 ) gathering data on your antennaes. the 200 cycle band for wspr has plenty of empty space for more signals. 73’s dick wb5b

    • Don N4KC:

      Two things about retirement, Mike: the hours are fantastic but the pay is terrible!

      Seriously, I feel sorry for those who retire and don’t have a hobby like Amateur Radio. Some actually get bored and go back to work.

      73 and make the most of all that late sleepin’ and all-day loafin’.

      Don N4KC
      http://www.n4kc.com
      http://www.donkeith.com

    • ac7af:

      I cant wait till I am in your shoes I am 47 and would like to contest

    • Jeff K9JP:

      Congratulations Mike!

      I hope to join you at the end of 2016! Looking forward to not being on-call and attending swaps around the state. As far a clearing or cleaning the basement of ham radio items. I look forward to the day the shelves will be empty.

      Take Care and Enjoy Life!
      72/73 de Jeff K9JP SKCC #3008S

    • Larry VE8NX:

      Congrats. I retired on the 6th. Its an odd feeling not having to get up and go to work but with dedication I’m sure I can get used to it.

      Have a major move coming up in few months so that will keep me busy. Then motorcycles, radios, telescopes and maybe back into target shooting will keep me busy

      Larry (Chich) VE8NX

    • jonn ve6avk:

      hi mike
      dont know if i ever met you but i can say i love the retirement i retired in 2001 but got called back in 2003 working on all the heavy equipment for the cite of edmonton i loved every bit of it, but i retired again in 2013
      at the age of 80,as i wanted to do some traveling and i did,i got my ham ticket in 1965.and am pretty busy on all bands when they are open
      so i can say i love the time off ,and the freedom of not having to be
      depending on going to work hi
      good luck and enjoy your time off
      73
      jonn

    • Elwood Downey, WB0OEW:

      Very interesting to read what retirement is like. I am only 61 but am thinking more about how it will be and what new issues it will bring. I hope to read more posts about what it is like.

      All the posts about how much more time folks have for ham radio are interesting. The polls always show the average ham is fairly old which has the pundits crying the hobby is dying. But maybe it just means there is naturally more time for the hobby after retirement. That makes more sense to me.

      73 everyone, Elwood, WB0OEW

    • Kyle N4NSS:

      “Retirement”: The process of putting new tires on the pavement. Or Time to do what work interfered with. Three years retied and loving it!

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