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Author Topic: DX-ing and Retirement  (Read 2278 times)
KY6R
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« on: August 16, 2011, 04:32:03 AM »

I'm about 13 years away from retirement (more like "semi-retirement"), and am curious how your transition went - or what you plan to do as far as DX-ing & antennas are concerned when you retire.

I will most likely move out of the SF Bay Area to a smaller town / city, and am thinking I will keep things simple, living in a small house in a downtown area, with something like a pair of phased vertical dipoles for 40M - fed for end fire and broadside, and maybe one other multi-band antenna - all that I can get to at ground level - preferably over salt water - and next to where I keep my sea kayak.

One can dream, eh?
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AB3CX
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« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2011, 08:48:51 AM »

I'm a little older (60) and closer to retirement.  I feel fortunate to be in a position to have bought a property on a hilltop 10 miles from my home in town, on which I am putting up a "dream" station.  It covers 31 acres. So far I have up 3 Beverages, and this weekend the first tower is going up.  The place has a log cabin home, and it's currently rented out to a nice young couple who don't mind me working on the property. Eventually I hope to rent it as a summer/vacation place only during June-July-August, and use it during contest season myself.  I'm hoping it will be attractive for Hams wanting to visit Cooperstown, NY, to see the Hall of Fame and other attractions in the area, and have a fun radio location to operate, with access to great location and antennas. I found that doing loads of the physical work myself has helped me get in better shape than I have been in for years. So my dream for retirement is to look at the deer and turkey from the porch, hunt DX, contest and hopefully continue to work part time, and have the contest place pay alot of it's own expenses. Now if I could only get my wife out of town and up there for good!!
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K3NRX
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« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2011, 12:16:23 PM »

Retirement???....What's That?Huh?.... Roll Eyes..... Shocked.......ahahahahahahahahahahhahaHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!....LOL......Let's just say that some of us can't wait until November of next year, so we can have an opportunity to PROTECT our retirement....you all can reach your own conclusion from that statement....

Bye Now!
V
KA3NRX

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KY6R
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« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2011, 06:14:09 PM »

AB3CX: Mike - thanks for the thoughtful response. Cooperstown is a beautiful place, and I wish you the best of luck with all of your plans. My "2" call was just after yours - I was WA2QHN, and grew up just south of Port Jervis, NY. I moved out West after college and a year in Fairport, NY - when I worked at Kodak.

Its great to hear other's plans - and its inspirational.

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NI0C
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« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2011, 04:20:20 AM »

I retired from full-time college teaching four years ago.  Now I teach only one or two classes per semester.  The theoretical advantage of retirement is, of course, the additional time one has for chasing DX.  However, other things tend to fill some of that time.  For example, my XYL and I both have aging mothers who need our assistance during daytime hours. 

One reason I've always liked low band DX'ing is I seem to always have time just before and after sunrise, no matter what else is going on in my life.  Many years ago, I noticed that most of my choicest DX QSL's were marked with times around 1100-1300 UTC. 

I've tried sea kayaking- a five day trip in the San Juan Islands several years ago, and most recently in Lake Tahoe just a couple of weeks ago.  Although it is fun, I much prefer paddling on rivers, where one can "eddy out" from time to time.

Rich, you're well on your way to meeting your DX goals, and my guess is that you'll reach the  HR during this coming sunspot peak, and that when you reach retirement you'll be climbing towards the top.

73,
Chuck  NI0C
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KY6R
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« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2011, 05:26:59 AM »

NI0C: Thanks Chuck. I've been a database engineer / programmer since just a few years out of college - when I became the 130th employee at Oracle - when it was a "startup". I have toyed with the idea of teaching a few computer science courses at a community college when I retire - since after 30 years I still love my career. I switched my idea of becoming an EE when my fathers EE friend plunked an IMSAI 8080 on our kitchen table in 1970-something and told me "stop playing with tubes and wires - this is the future".

I also have been travelling around the West - looking for that "perfect" place to retire - and it has been a lot of fun just to dream and imagine living out of the SF Bay Area (where its too expensive to retire in, even though I really love it here). I've found lots of really beautiful little places that would be great places to move to - so thats encouraging.

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V47JA
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« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2011, 05:46:48 AM »

Hi,

I retired in 2007 after 30+ years traveling the world working for Schlumberger, and Omni FC, on hydrocarbon pipeline Flow Computers and Flow Instrumentation.

Ten years ago when we started our traveling, XYL Cathy (W5HAM-V47HAM) said "operate any contest, any time, from anywhere, as long as it is warm and there is a beach". I soon I found out that being on the other end of a pile-up is much more fun. So after many years of visiting and operating from many Caribbean islands, in October 2010 we purchased our Calypso Bay, St Kitts vacation home. Located about 300 feet from the Caribbean Sea, with great views and a constant Caribbean breeze. Cathy and I split our time between our Hockley, Texas, USA, and Calypso Bay, St. Kitts homes. A tough retirement, but someone has to do it .

So if you can manage it, even mini Amateur Radio expeditions out of the country are really great fun. At Homeaway.com  it is not hard to find a great affordable, rental home almost anywhere. Once you have been on the other end of the pile-up it is very hard to go back..... and you don't have to be retired.  


73 and DX,


John V47JA - W5JON
  
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KY6R
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« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2011, 06:15:03 AM »

V47JA: Jon - I never even considered being on the other end of a pileup in a DX location. I know you have given me several band mode slots - your calls sound very familiar. I had a "2" call just after yours - WA2QHN back in the 70's.

They need to develop Navassa and Desecheo - I could retire there!  Wink
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V47JA
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« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2011, 07:31:07 AM »

Hi Rich,

It really is great fun being on the other end.  We went to St Kitts for the month of July and just with casual operating hours I made over 2600 contacts in 126 countries.  We return in October, and with CQWW at the end of that month, I am sure I will do atleast that number again, even with my modest station. 

Given the availability of rental homes on  Homeaway.com  you can string up a dipole and with 100 watts, on some island, have an absolute great time on the air.  Don't forget a good prefix is good for 10 to 15dB on the other end.

At home in Texas (W5JON) even with the tower, yagis, and KW on all bands, it is never as much fun, as being on St. Kitts.  When in Texas, I mostly just ragchew on 40m with Jack N8BI.  Jack (ex-WA2EDD) and I (ex-WA2PBN) went to the same high school, got our licenses about the same time (about 1959), and have been in contact on the radio, three nights a week for the past 50+ years. 

But once you have been on the other end of a massive pile-up, you can never get it out of your blood.

73 and DX,

73,

John
 

 
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KG6IRW
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« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2011, 11:50:05 AM »

KY6R:  After 25+ years in high tech myself, I left HP about 6 years ago, left the Silicon Valley area myself and moved closer to the grandkids - my son is an Air Force pilot stationed in Little Rock, Arkansas.  What a mistake!  For one thing, the skills you have developed in your career are far more valued in high tech companies.  That doesn't mean that you'll find that everywhere despite what the job pundits tell you. 

Yes, I tried the teaching thing myself.  I'd suggest you look into it.  For myself, I discovered that the mindless adminstration/bureaucrats drove me nuts.  You and I grew up in highly-productive, flexible and high energy groups.  The skills learned there to 'get things done' doesn't seem to exist at many levels of academia.  The folks themselves are credentially brilliant but the way things get done aren't the same.  I found I couldn't work in such constrictions.

Of the 2.5 years I stayed away from the Bay Area,  I spent 11 months of that visiting folks back in Capitola (about 70 miles south of you!).  Missed the weather, wine and cultural stimulation we get here in California not to mention the friends I left behind.  In fact, my network of high tech folks has allowed me to return to high tech these days as a consultant/contractor. I can work when I like, do pretty much what I like/want to do and I can take time off between projects.

Essentially, I discovered that I had put more roots down than I realized even though Silicon Valley tends to be a place where one goes for the job first - it is a transitory place in some ways.  I'm now back in Capitola and glad to be there.  I'd suggest you consider retirement closer to the area where, if you're like me, you'll find your skills in higher value and with a section of the country that is still throwing off wealth.

As for DX, I've had to compromise a bit in Capitola, as my lot is only 40 ft x 80 ft. with lots of houses around me.  I'm about 2 blocks to Monterey Bay, though, and I can get out when needed.  I just don't get to run high power.  The good news is that I'm fortunate to have 2 ham-oriented companies in the area, Elecraft and Inrad, so there's no shortage of knowledgeable folks to mingle with.

So, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, there's no place like home after having left once and came back!

Cheers,

David/KG6IRW
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KY6R
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« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2011, 01:00:16 PM »

KG6IRW: David - thanks! You've the nail on the head on a number of points. I'm a sea kayaker and cyclist - so as you know - Northern California (no matter who trashes California) is a pretty unique and wonderful place. In fact - down your way I've ridden my bike at Wilder Ranch and Nicene Marks, and played Frisbee Golf at De Laveaga. I've kayaked down at Elkhorn Slough. All world class. I even like the freak show in Santa Cruz - been to many shows at The Catalyst. Its all good.

Santa Cruz, Capitola, Monterrey - and all points in between - all wonderful places (Elecraft rocks). Even my silly little town of Orinda is pretty nice - as is Oakland and Berkeley - so I will heed your warning. I have met a whole bunch of people who left - regretted it and returned.

I visit Napa and Sonoma often - and sometimes visit the Central Coast - funny what a world class wine area Paso Robles (ex-home to Force-12 - now N6BT Antennas) has become - its the limestone and "oyster ridges" that allow for the "Rhone Ranger" thing that's going on there.

Yeah - I will think long and hard about this, that's for sure.

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HS0ZIB
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« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2011, 03:41:32 PM »

Like KY6R, I am about 13 years off retirement, but have no plans at all to actually do that!  This is both because I enjoy working (for my own business), and I also do not really have suffcient retirement funds from pensions etc, (I worked most of my career as a software contractor in many different countires, and it was difficult to qualify for UK pension contributions).

To counteract this, and to enjoy better weather than the UK, I emigrated to Thailand in 2002, where I established a small hotel.  This means that I have a solid business, with regular, daily income from hotel guests.  I get to meet some interesting people each day, can enjoy lazing by the hotel swimming pool, and have a business income source that will continue all the way to the end of my days (and beyond).  I am also on the end of the DX pile-ups and IOTA chasers, since I'm on the island of Phuket.  I'm writing this response at 05.00am local time, since hotel guests always leave early - and working in these wee small hours is also the best time for DX contacts!

I would not trust ANY government to honour retirement funds/pension payouts - and I firmly believe that one should do what's needed to provide an independant source of income in your retirement years.

Simon
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KY6R
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« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2011, 09:54:05 PM »

HZ0ZIB: wow - that sounds really nice. Great idea - its time for me to think outside the box too!
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HS0ZIB
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« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2011, 02:32:22 AM »

@KY6R

A few of the pros and cons of living in Thailand - from the DXing point of view

Pros:
- 'Exotic', sought after DXCC
- Virtually no rules/restrictions on external antennas/masts
- Very friendly and helpful national amateur radio society (RAST)

Cons:
- Reciprocal licences limited to the few countries with agreements with Thailand, (includes the USA and UK). Other nationals need to take the radio licence exam (in written Thai!)
- Licencing and legal import of HF rigs tightly controlled and restricted to a very short list of older models
- HF rig output power limited to 100 watts (could be a plus point..)
- No 6 meter rigs, no 6m, 70cm and up operation - some HF bands very restricted in authorised frequencies
- No realistic chance of 2m QSOs unless you speak good Thai


Simon
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