5 Tools Everyone Tinkering In Electronics Should Be Using

1. Soldering Iron — Weller WESD51 Digital Soldering Station
For me a good soldering iron is really a necessity, specifically something with changeable tips and a flexible cable. I now have the best solder iron I have ever owned. The Weller WESD51, a digitally controlled iron with a max output of 50 watts. The iron is microprocessor controlled with a temperature range of 350F-850F. Digital LED display provides temperature setting and actual tip temperature readout in degrees. If I leave my iron on for some reason, it has auto power-off after 99 minutes.
2. Xuron — Cutters and Pliers
Nippers, cutters and precision pliers make life so much easier. You can cut closer to your solder points and hold small parts better. I normally would be a little more general in my recommendations, but I really these tools compared to my Kobalt needle nose.
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A mini microphone preamplifier


Via: dangerousprototypes.com

Boris Landoni from Open Electronics has written an article about the design of amicrophone preamplifier:

This Mini Microphone Preamplifier could be used as the first stage to amplify any audio signal. The device is equipped with a microphone plus clips to be connected to a 9V battery. Amplification is achieved by using an operational LM741 amplifier. The volume level could be adjusted via a trimmer.



74xx Contest Prize

7400 Contest

These are terrible pictures but I wanted to get something up right away to show appreciation for my prize to the 7400 folks. Now what this is, is a device that takes the 20-pin connector from a computer power supply and give you used power points to run things. As you can see there’s a Ground, 12v, 5v, 3v and a -12v points. There’s LED’s from each volt, a powered LED and a device on LED. Of course at the top right next to the 20-pin plug the push button, On/Off switch.

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Tube Headphone Amp ***Update***

hJust a quick follow up entry to the Tube Headphone Amp project. I’ve received updates that my PCB’s are back from the fabricator and are being processed. Specifically they are cutting down the master board into the individual orders and hopefully mine will be shipping out soon. I’m really rather excited about the project. Between getting married and this project, 2012 will end out with a hell of a bang for me. Just to specify, I did yes mention my fondness of marriage and this electronics project together. Picture this, your holding a 40 foot ladder and placing those two things on the ladder I can assure my fiancee, should you make it over to reading this post, the marriage is well up at 40 feet. My amp is probably rung number 4.


Review of: The 2012 Charlotte Hamfest & ARRL Roanoke Division Convention

One of the things since I passed the Technician I’ve most been looking forward to is going to my first Ham Fest, licensed. I’ve been to HamFests before, more than a couple but less than several. I’ve been to the Huntsville Hamfest multiple times and possibly MemFest a couple. But either way I was looking forward to it. Well my dream came true, today March 10th 2012 was the Charlotte Hamfest in Concord, NC. I got up extra early this morning travel to it from Wilmington, 4 hours and I was there. I went to this by myself but hope to drag the fiance to one sometime. I tell you, I walked in bought my ticket went through admission area and looked forward and I was like wow. I was a little overwhelmed, but in a good way. I guess it’s different when you are taking it in by yourself and this time I understand most everything I see in front of me.

I proceeded to the flea market first. If your not familiar with a HamFest all the ones I’ve been to have manufactures and large ham stores in an area, then kind of small business like name plates, shirt, small antenna builders in the next section of the arena. And then segregated together, normally either to one side or the back, is the flea market. And the flea is one word “everything.” Seriously, there are resellers of hard components, connectors, electronics gear, radios, tubes(there’s always at least one person with 4 tables of vacuum tubes), old computer, cameras, and anything you as a consumer of electronics might be interested in or previously owned. I bought a good set of alligator clips and odds and ends connector. Specifically I got a set of SO-239 panel mount connecters with a very thick flange. Those will go to an antenna project.

Long story short. The Charlotte Hamfest 2012 was a very nice hamfest and I had a very nice time. They had great programs planned(I caught most of a D-Star program), nice flea market, and great vendors area. It was in a comfortable heated and cooled arena. It was very well accessible to get into and parking. And was very well attended. I was also told it appeared that attendance was up which is great! I look forward to it next year!

Here’s some pics I stole from MFJ’s Facebook, props to MFJ for these: