A Brief Note on Tools

In addition to the various great pieces of kit that various Ham Santas contributed this winter, I’ve been taking time to improve my selection of tools. Here’s the recent major additions:

  • Hakko FX888D Soldering Station: What a game changer! I went from using a dinky 40W fixed-temp Radioshack iron to this beauty, and the soldering experience is like night and day. The thing heats up in less than a minute, holds its temperature well, and comes with a sturdy, well-designed stand. Would recommend in a heartbeat. Got mine from Amazon, though I later saw it cheaper at Fry’s Electronics.
  • DM4070 LCR Meter: Also a very useful bit of kit. Not the most accurate meter (both inductance and capacitance are spec’d at +- 2.5%), but plenty close enough for my purposes. When I pull a variable capacitor out of an old radio, I want to know if it’s closer to 100pF or 300pF max. Similarly, I want to make sure my toroid coils are the correct inductance to about 1 sig fig; the rest I can solve by tinkering.
  • 0.1MHz~2.4GHz Frequency Counter: listed on eBay by the obscure name “cymometer,” this one’s still on its way. Even if it’s not nearly so accurate as it claims, even accuracy within 50-100hz would be useful.
  • Aoyue 486 Benchtop Solder Smoke Absorber: Not a whole lot of suction on this little guy, but the filter does seem to absorb fumes fairly well. And every little bit helps in my small shack/office/workbench.
The DM4070 and Hakko FX888D newly unwrapped, sitting next to the B&K 1535a Scope. Old abrasive cleaner sits sadly in the back right.

These useful goodies join the B&K Precision 1535a 35MHz Scope and a Mastech MS8229 as primary bench tools.



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