It’s been said that the universe could be described entirely with car analogies. Analogies don’t really prove anything, but they’re great for clarifying an opinion or illustrating a complex concept in a more simplified, understandable fashion. Often it’s difficult to describe amateur radio to non-technical family, friends, and co-workers.
I can’t think of a better analogy for explaining amateur radio than fishing.
Why do you call CQ and try to talk to just anyone?
We’re not out to catch one particular fish. We cast our line where we think there might be fish and when we catch one, it’s a surprise. This is part of the joy. You never quite know what you’re going to reel in.
Why do you do Morse code? Isn’t it easier to just talk to someone? Or perhaps type on your computer?
Some fisherman like to fly fish. It’s not for everyone, but it’s an art that takes a bit of practice and skill. You don’t catch bigger fish fly fishing, and many times it’s a lot more work. But some people find it more fun than regular fishing. Some do both regular fishing and fly fishing. Some fisherman ice fish.
Some hams use power amplifiers to make big signals while others use low power, this thing called QRP. Why wouldn’t everyone want to use more power?
I know guys who go deep sea fishing and catch big tuna or swordfish on big expensive boats. Some of us like to use ultralight rods and fish streams for trout or small ponds for panfish.
In this age of the Internet where you can chat with anyone around the world on your computer, why even bother with amateur radio?
Why bother buying a fishing license and all that equipment when you can much more easily go to a supermarket and buy a fish? It’s because it’s not about just eating a fish. It’s the experience of fishing.
Amateur radio seems inherently non-competitive, but you have contests?
On the surface fishing is a non-competitive hobby. But there are fishing tournaments in which fisherman compete. Like other types of fishing it’s not for everyone, but some love it, and for some fisherman that’s all they do.
What do you talk about?
We often talk about fishing techniques or what else we caught that day, but more often we talk about whatever comes to mind. Sometime we don’t talk about much at all.
Is amateur radio all old guys?
There are a lot of old guys who fish probably because they have a lot more free time, but everyone fishes. It’s nice to get the whole family fishing.
Are you always going to be a radio amateur?
You’re always a fisherman, even if you haven’t gone out fishing for awhile. I hope to fish until the day I die….