Hobbies clear your mind. While you are absorbed in your interest, the brain flushes the worries of everyday life. You get to have fun AND hush those mental voices yelling at you all day long. Hobbies are also known to restore sanity. My hobby is Amateur Radio.

As it happens, I have a friend who owns an Amateur Radio products company. I go in from time to time to build electronic devices for him. In return I get a little cash or credits to buy Amateur Radio transceiver kits that he also sells. It also enhances my electronics construction skills. The electronics building takes me from the 2-D world of computer screens, eye strain, and writing books to the 3-D world of making things with my hands, a refreshing transition.

The small units are code practice oscillators. Attach a telegraph key, insert a battery, and the device helps you learn Morse code. While Morse no longer is an official radio communications mode it is used extensively by Amateur Radio operators and the military. If you are a fan of the BBC mystery series, Inspector Morse, listen to the first stanza of the theme music. It spells out his name in the ubiquitous code: M (dah) O (dah dah dah) R (dit dah dit) S (dit dit dit) E (dit).

Morse Code Practice Oscillators

The other unit is a pre-amplifer that is placed between an antenna and a shortwave receiver or transceiver. It amplifies weak signals so you can hear them better. This unit works well for both Amateur Radio operators and for short wave listeners (another fun hobby). See more at

Short Wave Pre Amplifier

My fictional alter ego, Vic Bengston, also is an Amateur Radio operator. While the mystery novels I write do not focus on Amateur Radio, the hobby creeps into each book. Even fictional characters need hobbies. But there will be one Vic Bengston Investigation that involves radio. See more at