As the Christmas holidays draw near, I like to scour the web for gift items for ham radio operators. This year I have a fine selection of gift ideas, starting as little as $15 and going up from there, so I’m sure you’ll find something that will appeal to them. So let’s dig into the list:
First off, I’m going to plug my website at www.jpole-antenna.com. On it you will find a full array of VHF and UHF antennas for the radio amateur. A J-Pole makes a great stocking stuffer. What also makes a great stocking stuffer are these calendars produced by my local amateur radio club. In it you will find 12 months of vintage QSL cards from the 50’s and 60’s and dates for all the popular ARRL and CQ magazine contests. Even if you aren’t a contester, you’ll be able to know at a glance of what contest is completely filling up the bands. So, moving on.
KB9VBR J-Pole Antennas: https://www.jpole-antenna.com
Anderson Powerpole Kit
Anderson Powerpoles are these little genderless connectors that are extremely popular with hams. Colored red and black, they are a good, reliable connector for your DC power needs. This 60 piece set, found on Amazon, contains 15 each black and red housing, and an assortment of 15, 30, and 45 amp connectors. This is a great stocking stuffer as even if your ham buddy has an assortment of power poles, they can always use more, and at only $15, its a great deal.
Anderson Powerpole Kit: https://amzn.to/2Pgn7Ea
Victorinox Swiss Army Spartan Knife
I’ve always carried a Swiss Army Knife in my pocket, After almost 30 years, I lost my favorite every day carry item and needed to replace it. So enter the Swiss Army Spartan. I know a lot of people like to carry lock blades and buck style knives, but really, this thin little knife has just the right number of features and tools for every day use including a 2.5 inch large blade, bottle opener and two sizes of flat screw drivers. It’s also only $22 on amazon, so its a perfect stocking stuffer.
Victorinox Swiss Army Spartan Knife: https://amzn.to/2QyFrgm
CLOSS 8-in-1 Tactical Key multitool
In today’s current environment, it is becoming more and more difficult to carry a pocket knife. So if you travel or need to pass through security checkpoints then a tactical key is a great item to add to your every day carry. The Class 8 in 1 multitool is my choice. It’s a titanium tool that looks just like a key- and unlike other tactical keys its really no bigger than your house keys. So it will fit perfectly on your key ring. Plus its TSA friendly so you’ll pass through security with ease. No more opening packages with your keys, get the The CLOSS 8 in 1 multi tool. It’s priced at about $22 and you’ll find it on Amazon.
CLOSS 8-in-1 Tactical Key multitool: https://amzn.to/2Q6gLwm
ARRL Grounding and Bonding for the Radio Amateur
I think that the ARRL’s book on Grounding and Bonding for the Radio Amateur is the hottest publication from the league this year. When we had our state ARES/RACES conference a couple months back, this book was the hottest door prize item. And no wonder, it’s chock full of information on your making your station better and safer by the proper use of electrical and RF grounds. No matter the experience level of your ham radio friend or significant other, this book will certainly be appreciated. You’ll find it on Amazon for about $23.
ARRL Grounding and Bonding for the Radio Amateur: https://amzn.to/2KM1Kdl
Yaesu FT-4XR Dual Band Handheld
There has been a lot of conversation these past few months about Baofeng radios potentially being illegal to operate on the amateur radio bands. I’m not going to get into that discussion right now, but I am frequently asked if there is an alternative to the cheap chinese radios. And there is with the Yaesu FT-4XR. This little handheld radio hits all the right notes, it has dual band operation, compact size, and puts out a full 5 watts on VHF. Plus it transmits clean, so you will not have to be concerned about generating spurious emissions. You’ll find it for about $99 at your favorite ham radio purveyor.
Yaesu FT-4XR Dual Band Handheld: https://www.gigaparts.com/yaesu-ft-4xr-dual-band-transceiver.html
Ailunce HD1 Dual Band DMR Handheld
So what’s the hottest digital mode right now? Well other than FT8 on the HF bands, it’s DMR. Digital Mobile Radio has been growing at a fast pace, and well it should with the easy access to inexpensive DMR handheld radios. I’ve reviewed a few DMR handhelds this past year and my favorite is the Ailunce HD1. This model is purpose built for the amateur radio operator: it has 3000 channels and 100,000 contacts, offers up to 10 watts of transmit power, and it keypad programmable and customizable. I really like the fact that the battery will last for up to 3 days in standby mode. So if you have a ham that’s looking for something new, give them this radio and open them up to the exciting world of DMR. The radio is about $189 on Amazon.
Ailunce HD1 Dual Band DMR Handheld: https://amzn.to/2UathJR
Wolf River Coils Silver Bullet 1000
Portable operation is becoming quite popular. Activating entities like state and national parks and running special events int the field are all the rage. For that you will need a good portable antenna. One of my favorites is the Wolf River Coils Silver Bullet 1000. The Silver Bullet 1000 is a rugged coil that will tune a whip antenna from the 10 through 80 meter band. It’s compact and sets up fast, so its perfect for a portable kit, and its also rugged enough that you could use it as a mobile HF antenna. You’ll find the Silver Bullet 1000 on the Wolf River Coils website for about $60.
Wolf River Coils Silver Bullet 1000: http://www.wolfrivercoils.com/products.html
Rig Expert AA-55 Zoom Antenna Analyzer
Tuning your coil, you may want an antenna analyzer. The analyzer is an essential tool for anyone interested in building antennas or seeking to get the most performance out their current antenna installation. Rig Experts AA-55 Zoom is a super popular compact analyzer. Unlike other models, this one has a graphical screen and will measure SWR, return loss, cable loss and other parameters of cable and antenna systems in the range of 60 kHz to 55 mhz. It also just runs on only 2 AA batteries. You’ll find the AA-55 Zoom on Amazon or at your favorite ham radio purveyor for about $340.
Rig Expert AA-55 Zoom Antenna Analyzer: https://amzn.to/2SkdSoi
Yaesu FTM-400XDR Dual Band System Fusion Mobile Transceiver
Finishing up the list, I’m going to add a VHF/UHF dual band mobile radio. In fact, the hottest dual band mobile of the year is the Yaesu FTM-400 XDR. With $170 in instant coupons available from Yaesu, this top of the line rig has dropped down in price to as little $394. That’s great deal. Not only do you get a Yaesu System Fusion mobile radio, but the FTM-400 also has built in APRS support that almost rivals the kenwood TM-D710, and a full color TFT LCD screen that is a pleasure to interact with. I’ve put this radio in my car, and am really happy with the operation, so I’m going to recommend it as this year’s top of the line gift. The only downside is that with the current special offer thats out there, the supply is getting really tight. So shop early to secure this gift from your favorite ham radio store.
Yaesu FTM-400XDR Dual Band System Fusion Mobile Transceiver:
There you have it, my list of the favorite ham radio holiday gift items for this year. For more gift ideas, be sure to check out last year’s list as those suggestions are great too. Is there a particular gift you’d like to see under the tree? Leave it in the comments below. Who knows, Santa may be reading. And finally, be sure to check out my website at www.jpole-antenna.com for a full array of VHF and UHF antennas. A J-Pole makes a great stocking stuffer.
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