Shopping for a loved one addicted to amateur radio can be a difficult task. Ham radio is such a varied hobby, the choices and selection of gifts can be endless. But here are a few things that any ham radio operator would love to see under the tree or in their stocking.
Items with their callsign on it
There never seems to be a lack of apparel, hats, and badges that are emblazoned with your callsign. Hams are proud of their callsign and accomplishments and will readily wear it on their clothing. A new hat or coffee mug is a great little stocking stuffer and The Sign Man of Baton Rouge will customize just about anything with your name and call on it. But order fast, custom items do take time to produce and Christmas is just around the corner.
Every year the ARRL updates their venerable volume on amateur radio communications. Titled the Handbook, this 1300 page book should be on the shelf of every ham. From operating procedure, station design, electronics, and antennas, the handbook covers it all. It will even tell you how to properly solder a PL-259 connector. This year, the centennial edition of the handbook is a must have. Their hardcover edition is out of stock, but you can still get the paperback direct from the ARRL.
In addition to the Handbook, the ARRL 2014 calendar makes an excellent stocking stuffer. This year’s edition highlights images from the past 100 year’s issues of QST magazine. The calendar also lists holidays and important contests and operating events.
While we’re talking about the ARRL, a membership or membership extension would be a great gift to your ham buddy or significant other. Who wouldn’t want a copy of their magazine QST delivered every month to their mailbox. ARRL memberships can be found here.
Is your ham buddy also an computer and electronics freak? Most of them are. This hottest experimental electronics platform is the Raspberry Pi. It’s a Linux embedded computer that’s about as small as a deck of cards. The Raspberry Pi opens the door to loads of applications, such as mobile, remote, and low power computing. Newark has Raspberry Pi kits that will get you started for about $50.
Two Meter J-Pole or Slim Jim Antenna
Hams can always use more antennas. Whether it be a main transmitting antenna or a backup antenna for field use, the J-Pole antenna is a great gift for under the tree. The 2 meter J-Pole is affordable and is a great companion for the new ham that has one of those Chinese HTs and is looking for a simple base antenna for their ham radio station.
The Slim Jim is a step up from the J-Pole. It gives you almost the twice the gain and more bandwidth, perfect for mounting high up on the tower or even using as a remote base and repeater antenna.
Either antenna would be welcome under any ham’s Christmas tree. Order yours by Friday December 20th 2013 for Christmas delivery.
Icom 7100 HF/VHF/UHF transceiver
No holiday wish list would be complete if it didn’t have something almost out of reach of most gift givers. The Icom 7100 all mode transceiver is this year’s hottest radio on the market. I know I’d love to see one under the tree, so we’ll see if Santa delivers. This radio does it all: touch screen display, all mode and all band operation, and D-Star ready. It even makes a great mobile rig. Find it online at your favorite ham radio dealer.
This is a small sample of gift ideas for amateur radio operators. What would you like to see under your Christmas tree? Leave a comment below and maybe Santa Claus will get the hint. Merry Christmas.