If you’re like me, you’ve got hobbies. You’ve already figured out that two of mine are hiking and fishing. You may have noticed occasional mentions of ham radio, too, something else I enjoy.
One of these days, with all those hobbies, I’ll be a really good retired person. I surely won’t lack for things to do!
For now, though, the process of enjoying them all often takes a bit of planning. I have to plan a fishing trip or schedule a hike or set aside a few hours for ham radio.
So many hobbies…so little time!
And that was a problem until I discovered “multitasking, outdoor style.”
My most recent round of outdoor multitasking started when I picked up something I’ve wanted to play with for a long time now — a telescoping fishing pole, essentially a high-tech cane pole that telescopes down for easy carrying. It’s a B’n’M “Black Widow” 20-footer. Collapsed, it’s only about 4 feet long. But when extended — well, 20 feet is a lot of reach!
Okay, I know that it’s a departure from my usual high-tech fly rod. But variety is the spice of life, right? And it’s so appealingly simple. These days, simple is good.
My plan for that telescoping pole is to extend it out, tie a piece of line to the tip, add a hook and a bobber and a few Red Wigglers, and then have a blast catching bream with the grandkids. It’ll be low-tech, high-octane fun!
But summer’s a ways off yet. Right now, that pole is just propped up over there in the corner where I’ve set up my ham radio station.
You know, I’ve always wanted to take one of my small, portable ham radio rigs with me on a hike. I’ve wondered what it would be like to tote the radio up to the top of a mountain and see what I could hear. The “antenna” part of things was always a challenge, but that telescoping pole and piece of wire would solve the problem nicely!
That’s when it dawns on me: A telescoping fishing pole could easily do double-duty as a telescoping antenna support! Yes, I could attach a little wire to the end of it, extend it upwards, and — voila! — instant antenna!
Of course, I’d probably want to take along a walking stick as I made the hike to the top of that mountain. That’s when epiphany strikes again and I realize that the telescoping fishing pole, when collapsed, is just the right length to serve as a walking stick! One end already has a rubber cap on it. If I put a second rubber cane tip on the other end, I’ve got an instant hiking stick. Just like that!
And then I can put the radio in the day pack and the hiking boots on my feet. I can grab my map and my water bottle and put them in the day pack too. I can pick up my Black Widow fishing pole/antenna support/walking stick (and maybe a little container of bait…but please don’t tell my fly fishing buddies) and I’ll be ready to go!
So, I know this place where there’s a trail to a mountaintop. Along the way there’s a little pond tucked back in the woods. What if I set out one morning early? I could detour to the pond (steadied by my fishing pole hiking stick!) and then stretch out the pole and try to catch a few fish…and then collapse the pole so it’s a hiking stick again, and then make the climb to the summit, and then extend the pole yet again (only this time with an antenna wire attached to the tip) and then fire up the little radio, and then talk to some other ham radio enthusiast out there who-knows-where in the world. That’s a lot of commas, but you get the idea. Fun is a process, after all.
Maybe, on the way back, I’ll even detour by the pond again for some more fun with my high-tech cane pole.
Just don’t tell my serious fly fishing buddies. They might not understand my departure from the delightful complications of that sport.
Or maybe they would.