Tim, It was interesting how I found your post.
Michelle Stoetzel

Hi, great! Happy to hear from you. I would say, if you’re thinking at all about it, especially over a long period of time (and if you have any electrical/electronic knowledge already!), definitely go for it. I got my Canadian Basic qualification a few months back. I certainly worked for it, but it was also a pleasure to learn and study. But having a more formal class arrangement would have probably been helpful in retrospect to keep me focused. All told, I probably over-studied for it by quite a bit. It’s a vast topic and easy to get lost in. People in the US are a bit luckier with the Technician class license, which is significantly easier/quicker to pass.

Sadly, I haven’t actually been able to raise anyone on the cheapo Baofeng radio that I purchased to start out with. I live in a fairly rural (French-speaking) area and the range of the HT is not great (though I will try to augment with a “pig tail” antenna). I did succeed in connecting with a friend over Echolink in another part of the continent through his local repeater, and that was really fun and interesting. It’s also doubly tricky once you have passed due to the price of a decent quality entry-level radio.

I still have faith that if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to overcome the learning curve in licensing and getting set up that there is a lot of fun to be had in this hobby.

Best wishes,