Long-term hobbies

There's amateur radio, perhaps the most common 'creative' part is learning about and making antennas for the HF band. Some hams still make their own equipment, but RF design has a fairly steep learning curve. I enjoy the QEX (radio design) publication from ARRL, but haven't built anything yet.
Joined 2022
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I started dabbling in building audio equipment because I couldn't afford to buy the exotic, high quality gear. (Jokes on me when I allow myself to think about how much I spent on tools, transformers and enclosures).
I have also built free-flight balsa model planes on and off for decades.
Lastly, I enjoy playing guitar. I have two electrics and one acoustic.
Oh! I also enjoy watching old black and white movies. I enjoy seeing the architecture and old cars in them.
Neat! Please post up a pic of your loco.

I have a steam ticket, having worked in a variety of steam related jobs, Pulp Mills etc. Also love trains.

Here's a couple photos of my "stupid" train...


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Line level analog audio design is probably my number one hobby. I designed and built two preamps with fancy parts and they are super low noise and very precise. The bigger one has digital control and I configured it so there's no pops or clicks when turning on/off. The smaller one is very small with less features and only two op amps and runs off a wall wart 12-30 volts. Still super low noise and works great, but makes a pop when turned off.

Horticulture is a huge lifelong hobby for me. I have houseplants; some that I've been growing for 35 years. I have cactus that bloom in the summer and I took my huge and unruly ficus and chopped it down and made a bonsai out of it. Same with an old Jade plant that was large and unruly, with poor growth habit. It takes years; I should have started way earlier. But I started about 12 years ago and I've had great success.

I did woodwork on and off since high school and about 20 years ago I started getting pretty good at it. Obviously I am very limited now but I still do some. I'm really good at matching the color of wood with stain. I restored some antique furniture that had the color almost worn off in places and I nailed the color match. Unfortunately I can't see my results very well but I have taught an apprentice how to cut wood square, basic joinery, sanding and finishing. I have all the tools which I hope he takes when I die, so why not? That's what I really want to do at this stage of my life anyway. I want to pass on my skills so they don't die with me.

The irony is that I'm way more productive than when I was working.* The day never has enough hours in it. Although my "retirement" is basically forced, I have less time than when I worked. And I'm pretty happy about that, because I know retirees that sit around all day and ruminate.

*I think this dynamic says something about our exploitive system of work, which is basically master/slave and work until you drop and don't complain about it. Maybe the corporate eggheads ought to think about motivating workers with something besides a whip.
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Wow, what great responses!

StevenCrook said:
Was a programmer for a living for close to 30 years. Retired, but can't stop, I enjoy it too much, so its morphed into a hobby.
Programming is like that - once bitten by the programming bug, one never stops.

We are living in a golden age of software development. I can build my programs on top of state-of-the-art software components that are free. I can concentrate on the parts that I do best because I am standing on the shoulders of giants. ;)
My first love, started when I was 10, is aquariums. Fresh, salt, corals, live plants. I worked in a fish store all through high school.
My motorcycle. as the saying goes, sometimes it takes a whole tank of gas to get your head screwed on straight.
Fishing, used to do a lot of hunting in my younger days. My dogs.

Of course I never get enough lab time. I've always loved the low signal, low noise world. Just learning and figuring things out.
I also like to rebuild vintage audio gear. As much fun to me as rebuilding old cars.
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Building Meccano (Erector if you're in the US) models.
I'd guess I was around 7 or 8 years old when I got my first set & still doing it over 5 decades later.
It's an old persons hobby, have to explain to younger people what Meccano is.
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When I was a kid, I was always taking things apart and putting them back together. Until one day I took apart the mechanical alarm clock and the alarm wouldn't work. My dad bought me an Erector set and a book called "How Things Work." Still got that book... and the internet.
My 1st love has been hardware hacking, even before audio. Of course now its meaning has evolved, but I mean the old school definition where not illegal functionality, but extra functionality is sought. Have done countless over the years, trying to think, adding CD-ROM and IDE HDD to Amiga 600, turning Palm M100 into M105, connecting PC serial port to Atari 8bit serial bus. Nowadays can't get as big a jump, but there is the odd example. Connecting 2 ATX PS's by jumpering sense wires. Cutting end of PCIe slot so GPU fits.
I put cooking in the necessities category.
And that's fair.
Cooking is a necessity for many.
What I am speaking of is the obsession side of it. I have as much invested in kitchen tools as I do shop tools, probably more. Those tools take a lot of the work out of things and add to the fun and hobby side of it.
I am not a pro, I do not wish to be. I want food to offer me everyday enjoyment, not income. I used the term happy place for a reason.
I like to share, Taste buds and stomachs are global and what nicer way to connect. Food has tremendous communication skills.