Amateur Radio owes it’s beginnings to early electronic “Do it Yourselfers” or “Makers” requiring Radio operators to build their own spark gap transmitters. The hobby never lost those roots as many of us still enjoy building QRP transceivers, code practice oscillators, antennas etc. etc. On this page I hope to include lots of references to tools, kits, and links to amateur radio related projects.
Lets start @ the ARRL, here are a few of their “DIY” links:
Lets look at some useful tools for construction and repair of electronics in your Radio hobby, from basic wiring to circuit repair, kit building, antenna construction etc. a modest collection of tools, guides and basic materials will add to your enjoyment of the hobby.
It seems that all the “on-line” tutorials want to discuss Soldering irons first? lets begin at the beginning. Basic tools for your electronics workbench may be things you already have in your toolbox, screwdrivers, pliers, wire cutters, wire crimping tool, razor or exacto knife, you may already have a test meter? either a Volt Ohm Meter (VOM) or Digital Multi Meter (DMM). Additionally you may have some “hook-up” wire and possibly test leads of some type. A magnifying device and task lighting for small work. electrical tape is always helpful.
Your smart phone can also be a useful tool using some simple electronic formulas, Device identifier and resistor color coding apps.
Working with small and fragile electronics you will find that good tools save on frustration and will serve you for many years, consider them an investment and DO NOT buy inexpensive poor quality, the bargain tools should be avoided Harbor Freight and the 99 Cent stores are NOT your friend in this hobby.
I personally do some shopping for specialty items on Amazon but I read the reviews carefully! If the price seems to good to be true it likely is too good. there are suppliers devoted to beginners, Makers etc. that supply kits and tools at fair prices. Adafruit, Sparkfun plus the other better known suppliers Mouser electronics, Digikey, Allied Electronics, Allelectronics and lets not forget DXengineering, Powerwerx, Gigaparts. one of the more affordable options for specialized test gear there is Bangood, a chinese supplier with US based warehousing offering much better delivery times than other overseas options.
Tools: Proper tools always help with a proper job
- Soldering iron or Soldering station
- Solder, either Lead free or a lead/tin mix with Rosin core
- wetted sponge or brass metal pad
- small needle nose pliers and small wire cutters
- Solder wick (for de-soldering)
- liquid rosin flux or flux pen
- Helping Hands stand and/or circuit board positioner
- Safety glasses
- magnifying glass/flip hood/magnifying lamp
- work light
- If you have poor ventilation, a small bench fume extractor/filter can be built/bought
Tools and Equipment for the DIY Electronics Hobbyist – Circuit Basics
This is a list of basic tools, MANY additional items could be added if you are so inclined. I use Amazon for many of my purchases.
Click here for soldering basics
Kits, Projects, ideas
HUGE collection of Kits & suppliers http://w1wc.com/kits/
Amateur Radio and Electronic Hobby Kits, Parts, and Accessories – 3rd Planet Solar / KC9ON
Four State QRP Group (4sqrp.com)