Here are my recommendations for Christmas 2021 gift ideas for radio and electronics hobbyists. I have used all of these over the past year or more.
So, if you are still thrashing around wondering what to get or ask for Christmas, might I suggest a few devices? Most of these are in the US$100 to $200 range, and readily available online from the usual sources.
Top left above are two great pieces of test gear, my NanoVNA and TinySA. NanoVNA is a low-cost vector network analyzer. You can use these for measuring antenna and transmission line performance, as well as tuning homebrew filters and other circuits. TinySA is a wonderful little spectrum analyzer and signal generator. Both of these cover up to around 1 GHz.
Both are palm sized portable devices, but you can also turn them into PC-connected lab equipment. I have used both of these extensively in my antenna and electronics projects.
If you are a ham radio operator, you might consider getting a DMR handheld and hotspot for use around the home. With this gear, you can connect to networks and chat with hams all over the world very easily. You will need to spend at least US$250 for a basic setup. Mine is a TYT MDUV390 and MMDVM hotspot, shown above right.
Then, you might consider a 3D Printer, with my Prusa i3 MK3 shown in the center. You have tons of choices, generally in the $500 to $1000 range for good quality. I use mine all the time for project boxes, mounting structures and replacement parts.
Christmas 2021 Gift Ideas for Radio Listeners
Shown lower right above are a couple of analog interference cancellers, the X-Phase QRM Eliminator and ANC-4. If you have lots of RFI in your neighborhood, set up properly, these will tame the worst offenders. You can buy the X-Phase kit for as little as $21 and it’s easy to put together.
Lastly, I continue to encourage hams and SWL to discover diversity reception. The SDRplay RSPduo costs around US$280 and works like a charm from DC to daylight, as they say. You can use this for beamforming or interference cancellation with multiple antennas.
So, there you go. Some reasonably priced Christmas 2021 gift ideas for hams and radio hobbyists. All easily available online in time for the big day!