5 Great Holiday Gifts for the Amateur Radio Operator
It’s that time of year again! When all those sparkly lights set the Amateur radio enthusiast thinking about what new toys they would like to see under the tree this year. Ham Radio Science would like to suggest a few ideas to fill that empty spot under the Christmas tree. These are a few products that we got to use over the past year that we thought were pretty great. Here we go!
Tigertronics Signal Link USB – $99
New to Amateur Radio digital modes or would you like to replace that homemade interface that you hacked together? You might want to check out the SignaLink USB from Tigertronics. Easy plug an play interface to your radio and computer. Just specify the proper interface cable for your radio when you order, plugin the cable to the radio, connect the usb cable to your computer and you are ready to go digital. You will need to make a few level adjustments to the audio input and outputs, but overall the SignaLink USB is very easy to set up. Since it has its own sound card built in, you won’t have to worry about unwanted sounds going out over the air. The SignaLink USB is they way to go for operating the digital Amateur radio modes!
Icom ID – 880H D-Star Mobile – Street $479
As we have mentioned here before, D-Star Digital Radio has gone through a large growth spurt over the last few years. If you have a D-Star repeater within VHF / UHF range of your QTH, you definitely want to check out the Icom ID-880H and get in on the fun of D-Star. The Icom ID-880H offers a lot of bang for the buck. You can use the Icom 880H has a VHF / UHF mobile/base for D-Star repeater operation, analog VHF / UHF repeaters, and a 0.495-999.99MHz frequency range allows you to use it as a wideband receiver. The ID-880H also has great audio and plenty of memories (1052) to hold all your repeater info. With all those memories to fill up, you may want to invest in a programming kit from RT Systems.
Yaesu FT-450D – Street $959
Looking for a first HF rig or an upgrade to older rig on a budget? The Yaesu FT-450D might fit the bill for under $1000. With its large easy to read display (a real treat for older eyes) and built in antenna tuner the FT-450D will definitely hit the mark for a budget HF rig. Its small size makes the FT-450D ideal for backup rig or field day rig. There is a RS-232 port for computer control so you can use your favorite rig control program with it. The Yaesu FT-450D also features QRM fighting features using the built in Digital Signal Processing features like Digital Noise Reduction, Contour, Notch, and Filter Width settings. Overall, the Yaesu FT-450D would make a very nice gift for any Amateur radio operator on your “good” list.
GRE PSR – 410 – Analog Desktop Scanner – Street $150
We have reviewed the GRE PSR-410 analog scanner here recently. After several months of using the GRE PSR-410, it is a still a top performer around the shack. The GRE PSR-410 has great audio and is a pleasure to listen to. It also performs flawlessly in scanning the 800Mhz trunking groups in the area. We really like the programmable colored flashing light that alerts you at a glance as to what service you are listening to. It is a breeze to program frequencies using a programming cable and one of the several programming applications that can slurp frequency data from the Radio Reference web site. If you need a digital version of this radio, then check out the GRE PSR-600 (Street – $400).
Wouxon KG-UV3D Dual Band HT -$119 Street
If you are looking for a true bargain for the Amateur radio enthusiast, the Wouxon KG-UV3D will make the ideal stocking stuffer. The KG-UV3D is a very capable VHF / UHF HT with a power output of 5 watts on VHF and 4 watts on UHF. The KG-UV3D has a very good audio for an HT in this price range. It has a fairly wide receive range of 136-174, 420-470 MHz RX. The KG-UV3D comes with a long lasting 1700 mAh battery plus a drop in charger. It has dual band receive (VHF/UHF, VHF/VHF, UHF/UHF) and a Dual alpha numeric, backlit display with channel name edit. Power can be reduced to 1 watt to save battery power. There is also an FM broadcast receiver built in. If that is not enough the KG-UV3D also has a built in flashlight (no kidding). You might want to pickup the programming cable and software to make programming the KG-UV3D easier if you have a lot of frequencies to program into the radio.
Best Holiday Wishes from Ham Radio Science!