Think Basic and Simple
2023-03-09 Whenever I get into a conversation with a new or newly active ham I'm impressed with how complicated it all seems to them. Take antennas, they are often paralyzed by thinking "I have to get it just right." Most of my 60+ years as ham I thought the same way. And that often kept me from doing anything other than cut a dipole. Then, with the wire in hand I was afraid I couldn't get it up high enough, or flat enough or something. The result was severely limiting my operating experience and fun.
The thing that has helped me the most over the past couple years has been getting involved with Parks On The Air (POTA). POTA provides a reason to go outside and operate portable. It provides a simple structure, pretty much guaranteeing success. And it provides a pool of operators who want to make contact with you, whether you are out in a park (activator) or at home (hunter). Those things are important for keeping you motivated. And by solving the problems of operating portable you learn a lot about gear, antennas, batteries and environmental considerations. In my experience it is one of if not the best program to help you learn and enjoy ham radio.
There are three primary topics to address in all of ham radio. 1) Gear or radios. 2) Antennas. 3) Power source. Those three topics are heavily influenced by an overarching question, Why are you interested? What itch will ham radio scratch for you. That's a changing and multifaceted thing. For me, technology has always been an interest of mine, particularly electronic/communications technology. A string between two cans fascinated me. Next it was the carbon mouthpiece in the old wooden wall phones and the ear piece. I still recall the lights coming on in my head when I saw how simple each was and and how they transmitted and received an audio signal between them! For you it may be the mystery of communicating with someone many miles away via radio. What it is doesn't matter but you need some sustained "reason" for playing with radio to help you overcome the challenges along the way.
Gear or Radios.