Gift shopping for Hams might seem like the easiest thing to do.
Just buy them anything related to Ham radio, and you’re good. Right?
I hate to break it to you, but it’s a tad more complicated than that.
The Ham radio universe is diverse. Different people have different interests, and hence, you may come across endless options when buying something Ham radio-related for a Ham.
Fortunately, I have done the hard work for you and have created a comprehensive list of some of the best gift ideas for male or female Ham radio operators.
There’s something for every Ham enthusiast here. So be sure to read through the list and don’t miss the end. There may be a little bonus idea for you there.
The best gifts for Ham radio operators
- Ham radio prefix map
- Scotch 33 electrical tape
- Customized callsign gift
- Ham radio books
- A Handy talkie
- Mobile Ham radio
- Ham radio antenna
- Gift Card
Top Gift Ideas for Ham Radio Operators
Gifting a ham radio operator anything related to their hobby would make their day.
Below is a list of some things that may make for the best gifts for Ham radio operators.
I have made this list as comprehensive as I could.
So, whether you are shopping on a budget or have a bit more room for a splurge, you are buying for a new ham or a pro, an antenna enthusiast, or a DXer, you will find something for everyone and every budget in here.
Ham Radio Prefix Map
A ham radio prefix map is a world map with callsign prefixes of different countries printed on it.
This type of map makes for an excellent gift for Hams, especially for DXers who prefer to have a handy map to track and highlight all the countries they have communicated into with their radio.
Professional DXers maintain the 24” x 36” map we are talking about here, so you don’t have to worry about its accuracy. People who have used it applaud its print and color quality, and the map claims to have CQ zones, US and Canada call areas, and DXCC entities printed on it.
3M Scotch 33 Electrical Tape
Before you discard this gift idea and doubt my gift-giving skills, please know that most, if not all, Hams keep electrical tapes in their tool kit and use them a lot.
So, a 3M scotch 33 electrical tape can be a handy and practical gift for any Amateur.
This tape comes in a ten-pack, enough to last a long time. Each roll consists of a 76 ft. of 3/4th inch tape that is highly resistant to abrasion, moisture, and weather conditions and features flame retardance as well.
Custom Callsign Gift
Almost all Hams love their callsign. Once you enter the Ham radio world, your callsign becomes your identity, and Hams are super proud of it.
So, giving Hams things with their callsign printed on them can make for superb gifts.
You can buy a callsign lighted display for their ham shack. The lighted display we have chosen for you today comes in 16 unique RGB colors. So you can choose different colors or displays.
Apart from a lighted display, you can also get them a callsign license plate to decorate their shack with. The one I am mentioning here is a 6” x 12” aluminum license plate with industry-standard holes so you can hang them up on the wall in your shack.
You can also get callsign printed caps for them to wear at Ham radio meetings, camps, and outdoors, or a printed mousepad to put on their Ham radio desk and complete the “look.”
A Ham Radio Book
If you are looking for gift ideas for new hams, there may not be anything better than some ham radio resources to help them get started on the right foot.
When buying a book for a Ham Operator, there are many options to choose from. Here are my top picks:
- The ARRL Handbook. This is a complete guide to radio experimentation written by Hams themselves.
- The ARRL Operating Manual. This book is for new Hams and is a comprehensive guide for all things related to amateur radio operations. It contains practical information regarding setting up and operating your station.
- Arduino Projects for Ham Radio. Hams love to tinker with electronics. This book is packed with fun projects Hams can create with an Arduino microcontroller.
- 200 Meters and Down. An excellent resource for new Hams interested in the history of Ham radio.
- Grounding and Bonding. Another great book discusses how you can make sure your Ham shack is according to the current standards for lightning protection and communication systems.
- ARRL antenna book. A perfect gift for Hams interested in antenna theory, design, and construction.
A Handy Talkie
A Handheld transceiver, aka a handy talkie, is a small ham radio that you can use as a walkie-talkie. It can make an excellent gift for new Hams who are just getting into the hobby and need something they could “test the waters” with.
I have handpicked a couple of options for you to consider. Check them out and see if you can find one that impresses you:
Yaesu is the most popular brand among Hams. The Yaesu 65-T handheld amateur radio is a dual-band handheld transceiver. With an IP-54 rating, the device features dust ingress and water splash protection. It is lightweight, rugged, battery-operated, and rechargeable.
Hams are often divided on Baofengs, but if you are looking for an HT for a new Ham, Baofeng UV-5R may be a perfect idea. This device is affordable and offers good functionality. It operates on VHF and UHF bands, comes with 128 channels, and makes for an excellent device for starters.
A Mobile Radio
Mobile Ham radios are the devices Hams often use for on-the-go radiocommunications, but they can also double as base stations.
This gift idea leans more towards the expensive side. So, I would recommend going for it only if you are 100% sure the recipient is looking for a mobile Ham radio.
Here are our top picks for mobile Ham radios that may make for excellent gifts for Ham radio operators:
Kenwood TM-281 A
The Kenwood TM-281 A is a complex and sophisticated mobile Ham radio model popular among professional Hams.
It promises powerful performance and easy operation with backlit keys and a screen. With 100 memory channels, rugged construction, and 65-watt high-power output, this makes for a perfect ham radio for a jeep.
ICOM IC-2730 A
ICOM is another popular brand among Hams. The ICOM IC-2730 A is a dual-band, 50-watt mobile amateur radio featuring a large white backlit LCD screen with big fonts, making it easier to use on the go.
With a detachable faceplate and a handheld microphone, this can be the perfect snazzy gift for any Ham.
A quick note: try and discuss your choices with the Amateur you are buying the mobile radio for. They may prefer certain functionalities and knowing them may make choosing the right gift easier.
Ham Radio Antenna
A Ham radio antenna is another one of the more affordable options. A Ham can always use another antenna, if not for their shack, then to tinker with.
Here are our top picks for the best Ham radio antennas you can give as gifts:
ABREE Dual Band Foldable Antenna
The ABREE dual-band foldable antenna is touted to be one of the best antennas for Hams to use.
As the name suggests, the Abree foldable antenna works on two bands, the 2m, and 70cm bands, and can boost radio signals, extending their range.
They are built for handheld transceivers. But the ABREE foldable antenna only works with certain HT models. So cross-check their compatibility with the HT that the recipient uses before buying one.
Tram 1185 Dual-Band Mag Mounted Antenna
If your friends or family member does not have an HT, you can give them a mobile antenna.
The Tram 1185 antenna works on 2m and 70 cm bands and attaches to vehicle roofs with its magnetic mounts. Its strong communication capabilities and inherent stealth make it an excellent antenna for apartments and condos as well.
If you are still unsure what gift to give to a Ham radio operator, consider buying them a gift card to their favorite Ham shop.
You can get a custom gift card made with denominations ranging from $25 to $500. Hams can use the gift card online, via phone, email, or in-store and have the option of redeeming the entire value or some part of it, saving the rest for later.
Gift cards make for excellent gifts because they can potentially contribute to an expensive gadget that the Amateur radio enthusiast may have been eyeing for a long time.
Additionally, they also spare you the guesswork and ensure the Ham would get something they really love out of it.
Bonus Gift Idea
Now, as promised, here’s a bonus gift idea that any Ham is sure to love.
This idea is great if you are gift-shopping for someone you are close with, like your parents or spouse.
You cannot give a Ham a better gift than this.
With you getting licensed, they would have someone to share the hobby with. They will feel loved and supported and will genuinely enjoy this thoughtful gift.
This gift may not have much monetary value. But it sure has tremendous sentimental value.
So, if you have a knack for Ham radios, consider getting licensed and surprise the Ham you love so much.
Buying gifts for Ham radio operators may seem easy on the outside, but once you step into the Ham universe is when you realize how complicated it can be.
Before deciding what to buy for a Ham radio operator, consider doing some homework and identifying their interests. Knowing what they are more passionate about in the Ham world would make your choice a lot easier.
Also, Ham radio products tend to get expensive. So take a look at your bank account first, so you know your budget and choose something accordingly.
Finally, if you cannot think of anything, get one of the generic gifts I have discussed here. Any Ham is sure to love one of those.
I have been passionate about the world of communications in its various forms for most of my life. Ever since I first found an old ham radio stashed away in my uncle’s attic, I have had a fascination with this classic technology.
Having the ability to communicate with people without the need to rely on telephone lines or networks is an empowering feeling which I believe everyone should have at least a basic knowledge of. Becuase who knows when you might need it?
I setup fieldradio.org with this passion in mind, to help inform people about the amazing possibilities of amateur radio and I’m on a quest to help educate as many budding operators as possible.
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