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.