Ham radio is a great hobby but it can also make you money if you think outside the box a little.
This article will give you ten opportunities that can turn this fun hobby into a way to earn money.
plWe’ve also included 5 nifty bonus ways at the end, so keep reading to the bottom to get the full 15 ways 🙂
1. Become a ham radio operator for a company
Many companies make use of amateur radio as part of their business, such as utility companies, transportation services, and government departments. Some of these companies include the police, fire department, and coastguard.
Part of the reason for this is that amateur radio operators can make use of their communication systems in emergencies when all other forms of communication fail. You may be able to work part-time or full-time at a company’s dispatch office while still maintaining your role with ham radio
To make money this way, you will need to make sure that your skills are up-to-date and make yourself available for any shifts.
To become an operator for a specific company, you must pass certain tests and meet the requirements set by local regulations. Most operators work from home or in remote areas where cellphone reception is poor. Usually, you will need your own radio equipment and a radio license.
2. Teach classes or give presentations on how to use ham radios
As a ham radio operator, you are bound to have some knowledge that others may not. If this is the case then why not make it into something useful by teaching classes or giving presentations at universities and other venues?
Many people who make money through teaching will make use of online teaching platforms like Udemy or Teachable.
However, you can also make money by charging for the classes directly. To do start teaching in person, you will need to make sure you are certified to make use of the radio equipment and make yourself available for classes.
3. Sell your old ham radio gear online
Got a load of old ham radio gear laying around in a cupboard huh? yes, I can relate to that! why not make some money from all that old hardware?
Ham radio can be an expensive hobby, and there’s always something else you probably want to buy, while your old gear just sits there gathering dust.
So why not finance your new gear buying urge, by selling your old gear on places such as eBay, Craigslist.
You can also find local buyers who are looking for used ham radio equipment for sale near them by posting on ham radio forums, Facebook groups, and subreddits. Just make sure that your old equipment is in good condition and working properly beforehand.
Selling your gear is particularly good for selling locally, where you can make use of cash or meet up in person to make the trade. So get selling!
4. Offer consulting services for people who want to get their license
Certified ham radio operators can make money by offering consulting services to people who are studying to get an amateur radio license. This can make a nice side hustle for someone who lives in an area where people are studying to get their licence. In some areas, the demand is high enough that you could make this your full-time job if you wanted!
A good way to market this service would be through promotion on social media or word of mouth. Find a place either on or offline where people are looking for help and promote your service there.
5. Create a YouTube channel about using ham radios
If you have a fairly modern smartphone then it’s easy to start making videos about the world of ham radio. Many hams start out with videos that are just them talking about their gear, or what they did at the last Radio Club meeting. However, it doesn’t take long to start getting more creative and telling stories through your video channel.
You don’t necessarily have to show your face, simple gear reviews can just involve you pointing your camera at the product and talking about it for a few minutes.
It will take a while for your youtube channel to start making money (youtube requires a minimum of 1000 subscribers before they start placing ads on your videos).
However, just by having a few hundred views per video and steadily growing the number of viewers, you will start to get some people interested in what you’re doing. That’s when it’s time to start making more involved videos that might include reviews of ham radio events, interviews with other hams, or even stories about the history of ham radio.
Once you start to get a substantial viewership, youtube will start sharing ad revenue with your channel depending on how many views each video has.
6. Become a ham radio instructor
If you have enough experience in the world of ham radios, then teaching others can be both beneficial for them and profitable for you.
This is an especially good option for people who are living in an area where there is high demand and low supply, which means that it will likely only take one or two classes before your schedule is booked up with students.
It’s advised to start by meeting new potential students face-to-face at amateur radio events or through social media sites such as Facebook groups and forums dedicated to amateur radio enthusiasts. If you’re unsure of how to start teaching on your own, many Radio Clubs offer free training courses (or charge a small fee) where they teach you how to start teaching Ham Radio classes.
Once you start getting students, try offering them personal one-on-one training on their own schedule instead of group lessons. This is a great way for private instruction without having to do so many sessions in person or over the internet each week.
It’s important to know that this type of work is often very time-consuming and requires a lot of effort, so it’s important to start building up your reputation in the ham radio community before you start charging for services.
You can also find ways to promote this on message boards or social media sites that are frequented by amateur Ham enthusiasts. For example, start a thread on Reddit asking for advice or feedback. You can start by offering your services free of charge, but it’s an effective way to start building up some good reviews from satisfied customers who you have helped get started in the world of ham radio.
7. Offer emergency communications services to the public or businesses
Emergency ham operators can be found all over the world, and many citizens have a ham radio at home as part of their emergency toolkit.
These amateur-band users are often called upon to help out during emergencies or natural disasters because they’re skilled at staying in touch with one another even when common communication tools fail.
In some cases, ham operators will work for free, but in others they’ll charge a fee. You can get started doing this by volunteering your ham radio services with groups in your community, or by becoming part of the ham emergency communications service.
8. Start a blog focused on ham radio with affiliate links to products
If you love ham radio, then this is a great way to go. What could be better than writing a hobby that you love and making money from it?
Blogs can earn you money by monetizing your traffic with ads. For ham radio, there are affiliate links to ham equipment you can use on your blog.
You just need to start regularly posting interesting content to your own website. Google will eventually find this and you will begin to get visitors who found you via a google search.
The easiest places to set up a blog are Google’s blogging platform, blogger.com or WordPress.com. You can also buy a website and domain name from a hosting provider like BlueHost or Hostgator, but this costs a little bit of money upfront.
Once you have your blog set up, it is time to start writing! The ham radio marketplace has a lot of great affiliate products that you can write about in your posts. It doesn’t need to be an exhaustive list – just find a few things you like and write about those.
Here are some affiliate ham radio products to get you started: an antenna analyzer, books about ham radios, antennas from DXEngineering or MFJ, Baofeng handheld radios from Amazon, ham transceivers from Elecraft and Icom.
Once your blog is up and running with regular posts, you can start placing ads on it. Google Adsense is the easiest to set up and they display relevant ham radio ads for your visitors.
If you want more control over what ads are displayed on your website, then check out Amazon’s affiliate program which allows you to place ham radio products directly onto your blog (or website). You can earn commissions on sales made through your ham radio affiliate links.
9. Start an online store that specializes in amateur ham radios or other gear in the amateur radio niche.
Taking idea 8 one step further, you can start an online store that specializes in ham radios and other ham radio gear. These niche stores are often very profitable given the low costs of starting them up, as you can sell products that most people buy regularly (such as antennas).
You could also start by selling used amateur ham radios for high profits if you’re able to source these items at good prices.
To find suppliers of ham radio gear you can use ham radio forums, ham radio swap meets/hamfests, or ham radio suppliers.
Once you have found a supplier try to get in contact with their sales representative for larger orders of radios and equipment at wholesale prices which are better than buying them from the manufacturer. If not, then you can buy smaller quantities directly from manufacturers selling on Amazon or eBay.
For the online store itself, I recommend using WordPress (with woo-commerce) or Shopify.
For WordPress, you will need to purchase a domain and hosting (costing around $15/month). Whereas Shopify costs $29/month but everything is included.
Although Shopify costs more per month, it’s ideal for the business owner who does not want to deal with anything technical.
The great thing about selling ham radios is that they are not very seasonal (unlike Christmas lights or Halloween costumes), so your store will be profitable year-round if you run it well.
10. Build ham radios and sell them
If you have a knack for electronics and ham radio, building ham radios is a great way to make money. Once you get all of the parts together, it’s possible to make one in just a few hours. Then, you can sell it locally or online.
You can learn how to build a ham radio by watching ham radio videos on YouTube.
If you are not experienced with electronics or have limited time/money for equipment, the raspberry pi is a great way to get started in building ham radios. Since the raspberry pi microcomputer has many uses, it’s easy to sell ham radios built on them as well as use them yourself!
Once you have built a ham radio or two, try to sell them locally first before trying online. You can post ads in your local paper and Craigslist, but it’s best to meet people face-to-face rather than selling remotely so that they know exactly what they are buying (and who is selling it to them).
Bonus Ways to make money with ham radio
Yes I know the article title says 10, but I’m feeling generous today 🙂
So here are some bonus ways to get your brain thinking about ham radio money-making opportunities.
11. Sell ham radio courses
12. Participate in ham radio contests
13. Sell ham radios as a ham radio dealer
14. Work as a ham radio installer and repair technician
15. Start an online ham radio school offering ham radio courses & training classes.
It’s possible to make money with ham radios in a variety of ways. Whether you decide to start an online store, sell ham radio courses or participate in ham radio contests, there are many opportunities for making money while using what you know best–ham radios!
The great thing about these methods is that many can be done at any time and from anywhere so pick something that suits you. Get your creative juices flowing by browsing the list above and see how some of it might apply to your own situation.
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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