Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Hobby or Passion or Interest What is the difference? Is there a difference?

Hobby or Passion or Interest
What is the difference?
Is there a difference?

Is your hobby also your passion or has your passion become your hobby? Does it matter? What about interests, where do they fit in? A lot of people think that your hobby is your passion and that you have to have a hobby you are passionate about; I disagree for a number of reasons.

What is the difference between a hobby and a passion? One definition I have heard is this: “A hobby is something you choose to do when you have a little spare time, but a passion is something that you consider fundamental to your life”

Expanding on this and relating it back to radios and me I have some thoughts this. A lot of people are involved in the radio hobby for a number of reasons. Some people have this as an extension of their professional work or volunteer work, for others it was a hobby passed on to them from family or friends. The main difference to me between a hobby, passions and interests is both how you feel about and also how other people see it.

I first became involved in the radio hobby as a teenager listening to distant radio stations on the AM broadcast band of a night time, as I grew older I became involved in electronics at college and this grew to an interest in another radio related area which was radio scanning, this was about 15 years ago. Over the past 15 years while I have mostly been involved in radio scanning I have a couple of times tried by hand at shortwave and medium wave listening with mixed success. In all these cases this was as an addition to the radio scanning hobby, now I have totally removed myself from the radio scanning hobby and I am concentrating on the broadcast bands, mostly medium wave Ultralight DXing.

The reason I decided to make this change after 15 years is based on a few things:
- The public perception of radio scanning is not as good as shortwave listening or AM BCB DXing, most people know nothing about radio scanning and when you try and explain it to them either they think it should be illegal or they look at you like you are some sort of weirdo. Radio scanning is not really the sort of hobby that you can talk to other people about easily. When I was involved in the radio scanning hobby I was more interested in the technical / procedure details and less about the content which is different to most people who only care about finding out what was going on.

- The cost of equipment is less and it is easier to source locally. Where as a scanner can start at $150 and go up in to the thousands, ultralight broadcast band receivers are much cheaper and unless you want to get very serious a basic $60 radio will do 95% of what you need.

- After 15 years the radio scanning hobby has to me lost some of the appeal, you can only hear so many taxi drivers calling for jobs or Jones waste talking about bin pickups before you get sick of it.
As I work during the day my scanning time is limited to a night time or of a weekend, while you can sometimes hear interesting things during these times most of the radio traffic I am interested in happens during the day, while I am at work. As medium wave broadcasting is a 24/7 business at any time of the day or night I can be comfortable that I will be able to pick up something of interest.
My job means that I get some time off each week during the day, even with having the whole day to myself every couple of weeks I was still not happy with what I was hearing on my scanners. If I was not happy in a situation like this when I have the time to do it then I finally realised that I never really would be in the radio scanning hobby.

- I have recently become active in the Ultralight DXing hobby and I am finding this to be a good match for my time, skills and equipment. What you hear on a scanner can vary a lot based on your location; even 25km can make a huge difference. With the Ultralight DXing hobby you can hear something of interest no matter where you are. This is becoming a passion of mine.

Going back to my original question of the difference between a hobby, passion and interest I have some thoughts, I will use fishing as an example but this can be related back to almost anything.

If you go fishing a couple of times a year when you go away to the coast then this is an interest.
If you go fishing a couple of times a month and maybe read a magazine or two this is a hobby.
If you go fishing as often as you can, read magazines and books, maybe be a part of a club and plan things around fishing then this is a passion.

The second part of this is around other people and what they see of you from your interest, hobby or passion. I work with computers as my job and while I enjoy the work it is not really a passion, it is what pays the bills. Some people I know work with computers but also play games, build websites and build computers outside work, this then becomes a passion for them. Sometimes when I am talking to people they are surprised to find I don’t have a huge computer at home and that I don’t play games much. A lot of people get defined by other people because of their work where as in a lot of cases that is not all that is important to them. I would much rather talk about radios than computers for example.

Something to always be mindful of is that your interest, hobby or passion does not become to the determent of your work, family, friends or relationships. I have on more than one occasion seen how destructive having a single focus can be to relationships. Balance is the key; however you should not let somebody try and change you to suit what they perceive as being right or better.

My goal over the last 6 - 12 months has been to learn as much as I can about the shortwave and medium wave Ultralight DXing hobby, I have really enjoyed this and have got to know (online) a number of very interesting people. My interest became my hobby and now my passion.

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