The number one most important thing we all have is an interest in the hobby. It is essential.
There is no satisfaction in the radio hobby if you have no interest in it, you may find it boring, or worse still fail to even attempt to try it. It can be a difficult hobby to understand if you try to do it alone, as some aspects can be very technical for example, and although you can look this up on the internet, you may not understand it properly and without an explanation from an individual with knowledge in the area and it can be difficult to grasp.
Most of ham operators at YOTA said they were introduced to the hobby by a third party, this could be a family member (father, grandfather etc), friends, at school or a different group where the hobby is used as a work tool eg army, scouts. These people can provide a mentor-type role, and can continue to give their knowledge and experience to you throughout your amateur operating life. This hobby is a life learning experience and we are all continuously learning.
A local radio club can also assist people in gaining entry and exposure to the hobby, any may provide a practical approach by allowing you to access to equipment, see different components or home made equipment, or may even allow you to attend at a field day where can assist with an antenna setup, filling in logbooks or even go on the air to gain some experience and speak to other hams around Europe, or the world! This is also a great way to meet new friends and build up some networks, however it is not always easy for a person to attend a club meeting, so self learning may be the only option you have.
Non-formal learning is the one of the most popular types of learning in relation to amateur radio. Non-formal learning is where people learn about the hobby without attending a formal course. Materials for this can be easily found on the internet, and also through ham radio books although some help may be needed when filtering through the materials to find the most suitable aides. One issue that hams come up against is that it is hard to come across internet material in their mother tongue i.e most documents are written in English, so if you live in Finland (for example) and have very little English, these are of no benefit to you.
YOTA can provide assistance in this regard. If you are joined to the YOTA network, not only do you make friends, but you can gain ideas on how to continue with your studies / hobby, and more importantly get some technical support and knowledge from other hams in the group. Also with regular meetings, Facebook and skeds, it is very easy to access information from youths all over Europe to assist.
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