Your favorite/most useful bench accessories?

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by KB1KIX, Jul 18, 2007.

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  1. WC5CW

    WC5CW Ham Member QRZ Page

    KB1IBX, W8ZNX, et al...

    >"As I approach senior citizenship, my OptiVisor headband magnifier is my most used (useful) bench accessory."<-- WC5CW

    >"you are working on the wrong dont need no stinking optivisor headband when workin on a 6AG7 6L6 MOPA job or SX-101"<-- W8ZNX

    Ha ha ha...But actually that's wrong or at least debatable in my situation, Mac...Most of my homebrew and repair/restoration work IS with tube gear!...Perhaps it didn't get all that much use during the restoration of my SX-100, but the headband magnifier is useful to me, for example, when tracing schemas and peering into a crowded sub-chassis to count and determine which pin on a 9-pin miniature tube socket I need to carefully place the tip of my soldering iron...Or where to precisely clip a lead or wire on the same...As in my recent repair of a Command Set modulator that has a densely populated under-chassis...The headband magnifier allowed me to place my single-edged razor blade precisely where it should be to cut the harnessed cable ties so I could unsolder and remove faulty caps, resistors and broken fuse holders...and later verify voltages at the correct tube socket pins...And most recently, to trace the multitude of harnessed wires as they were tied to rotary switches below decks in my Precision 10-40 tube tester to get that puppy back in the game...And that's not to mention the great aid that a headband magnifier is when detecting obliterated or otherwise invisible markings on the envelopes of vacuum tubes from however long ago.

    Don't discount the use of a headband magnifier...As mentioned, for older folks or others who are visually challenged when working up-close and who perhaps have trouble steering the hot tip of a soldering pencil, tracing wires with faded insulation in harnessed cables or reading older, often faded schema's, a quality headband magnifier is a great asset at the bench for tube gear as well as the solid-state stuff many of us enjoy as QRP ops.

    I've got three: A 4X, 7X and 10X...They all see use as needed.

    With all due respects, that's my additional 2-cents contribution, FWIW...

  2. N3EF

    N3EF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, this one isn't homebrew, but I did actually make one to use at home just like this one. This is the one I use at work mainly for circuit board repair. You can quickly adjust for the board size and quickly rotate it through 360 degrees and lock it down. It was made by Pace many years ago and I haven't seen another one in a long while or any like it. It makes kit building a breeze.


    Eric N3EF
  3. N2CFJ

    N2CFJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have used a fly tying vise for small parts from time to time.
  4. AB9LZ

    AB9LZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    1) Alligator Clip Jumpers.

    2) Tektronics 545b (Yea I know, it's older than I am....)

    3) My right pant leg, for wipeing the tip of my iron.

    4) The half full beer bottle that I prop stuff against when soldering.

    73 m/4.
  5. N2RJ

    N2RJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks Joe!
  6. WC5CW

    WC5CW Ham Member QRZ Page

    KB1KIX, N3EF...

    Re: Adjustable circuit board holder

    PanaVise, the folks that manufacture a number of different base and vise combinations suitable for electronics bench work, offer something similar to N3EF's illustration, available in user-choice modular components:


  7. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    A grid-dip meter and an R.F. ammeter. Not much you can't do with those two instruments.

  8. KA0GKT

    KA0GKT Ham Member QRZ Page

    1) Oscilloscope with a selection of probes including a demodulation probe. (At least a 150 MHz scope, however you'll be surprised how much you can do with an old 10 MHz 'scope.)

    2) RF Signal Generator

    3) 50-Ohm Dummy Load

    4) ESD mat, wrist-band and an ESD safe temperature controlled soldering iron.

    5) Fluke DMM.

    6) Simpson 260 (It's sometimes nice to have an analog meter.)

    7) A good directional wattmeter. (A Bird meter with a small selection of slugs to cover bands and power levels of interest)

    8 ) An audio amplifier and speaker modified to accept oscilloscope probes for use as a signal tracer.

    9) A green-on-white engineering pad (graph paper on one side and ruled on the other) and a pencil.

    10) An under-counter refrigerator stocked with Fat Tire Ale and Cave Creek Chili Beer.

    73 DE KAØGKT/7

  9. VK2TIL

    VK2TIL Ham Member QRZ Page

    A difficult question; the answer will depend on the person's particular interests.

    I could list a dozen homebrew devices that I love using but I will go for my AD 8307 microwattmeter/return loss bridge;



    It measures down to -80 dBm at up to 650 MHz.

    It's all homebrew, although the metering circuitry is closely-based on Bob Kopski's design. I built it using "Manhattan" construction but I have since designed a PCB for it; I will install the PCB one day so that the inside looks as good as the outside.

    It has two "heads"; one is a power-measurement head whilst the other is a return-loss bridge.

    It's in constant use and I always get a "kick" out of using it.
  10. W6TMI

    W6TMI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Someone covered at least 1 of everything I use, except:

    A big HAMMER, for when the damn thing doesnt work!
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