Ham Radio as an INTJ Hobby
Tuesday November 28, 2017
I’ve always enjoyed listening to shortwave radio, reading about numbers stations, and so on. I looked up to people who knew how radio worked, and I enjoy planning projects that involve electronics. But I never thought I’d be a ham radio operator myself.
So why become one now? In recent years my mindset has shifted:
- I now realize I get most leverage by doing INTJ things
- It’s easier, and I get better results from doing that kind of thing
- So let’s try more INTJ things.
I knew I was on to something with ham radio when I told my also-INTJ business coach about my new interest. He came back a month later and told me he was excited now, and was also studying to become an amateur radio operator! Bingo, one INTJ hobby identified and near-triangulated. (Depending on the area you pursue within the hobby, there are plenty of ISTPs, ISTJs, ESTJs, INTPs, ENTPs, and more, too…)
Now that I have my license, here are the results:
- I find it easy to talk about ham radio
- It’s been easy to find friends in the hobby, friends who are doing really cool stuff (Just yesterday I made friends with a guy who invited me over to his home observatory for some astronomy)
- My interests within the hobby are shared by others within the hobby (it’s a very broad hobby). If I don’t care about talking on repeater nets all day and just want to learn more about AMSAT, it’s like an all-you-can-eat AMSAT buffet!
- It doesn’t take much effort to start making plans for a really cool future ham shack. And some of them make even an awesome PC battlestation look boring.
- People start inviting me to contribute, because I seem interested!
- When I contribute back, it’s usually easy for me and very fun.
These activities within the hobby are very highly-INTJ-leverageable:
- General research
- Learning about the theory
- Teaching and training, e.g. writing tutorials or making Youtube videos
- Suggesting small technological fixes or changes that make a big impact
- “Introvert” modes like CW (morse code) and QRP (low-power transmission; think going on a long hike with a morse code transceiver that fits in an Altoids tin, powered by a 9V battery)
- Emcomm (Emergency communications, even though I’m not really into it)
These activities within the hobby seem less INTJ:
- Rag-chewing (sitting on the air and talking with others)
- Actually putting up antennas and towers and mucking with hardware all day (not that it can’t be done, it’s just very sensate and fiddly)
- Contesting (I find this pretty annoying TBH even though I will probably try it just to make sure)
- Club socializing and politics (have only heard about this; have yet to go to a club meeting)
So I’d recommend the hobby to other INTJs. You did that radio thing that one time, you enjoyed it, right? Give it a shot.
Oh and by the way, here’s my basic framework for approaching the hobby:
- Don’t do the INTJ thing where you assume it sucks
- Don’t do the INTJ thing where you assume you know what it’ll be like
- Try things before you declare them unfit for your attention
- Have fun, first and foremost
- Plan out your approach and keep a log of how it’s going
- For an example approach: Focus on (I)ntroverted, i(N)tuitive, (T)hinking, (J)udging parts of the hobby and stay away from e.g. ESFP improvised, sensory, unplanned performance ragchewing stuff.
- Don’t fall into the trap of listening to complainers
- Decide in advance the type of friends you’ll look for within the hobby
- Build your own hobby-explorin’ website. Here’s mine. This was and continues to be very useful from day 1.
It’s a hobby, sure, but ya know…any truly sustainable INTJ hobby has got to respect that organized J side somehow, so why not plan things out?