QRPer’s Tool Glossary

This from Tom, N2UHC, via the QRP-L mailing list……Dan

Soldering iron – tool for overheating components such as transistors and IC’s, also used for burning holes in workbenches, dropping hot solder on pants legs, and attaching PL-259 connectors to coax before realizing the outer ring wasn’t put on the coax first.

Phillips screwdriver – tool for stripping out the heads of Phillips screws, usually the very last one removed from a radio.

Flat screwdriver – tool for making huge scratches in the top of a radio enclosure or breaking plastic cases when opening after failing to realize one screw wasn’t removed. Also used to strip out the heads of torx screws.

Multimeter – measuring device used to give false readings when the wrong range is selected. Also used to falsely report zero voltage or continuity when the cable is plugged into the Amps jack instead of V/Ohm jack.

Dummy load – a device used to destroy the finals of a transmitter by forgetting to attach it.

Pliers – used for rounding off tight bolts or nuts so that they’ll stay on permanently.

Long screwdriver – used for finding high voltage points in a boatanchor by displaying sparks, followed by a blackout.

Fuse – safety device you blow five of before realizing you hooked the radio up to the wrong terminals.

Slug tuner – a plastic device that gets stripped while trying to turn a stubborn slug in an IF can.

Clip leads – used to temporarily make connections when building a project which won’t work after it’s been installed & hardwired in an enclosure.

Magnifying glass – used to fail to find dropped SMT components on the floor.

Tweezers – tool used for installing components in tight places by gripping them until they shoot out and disappear forever. Also used for dropping SMT components on the floor (see also: Magnifying glass).

Heat sink – device used for transferring intense heat from an electronic component to your finger.

IC remover – tool used for ripping legs off IC’s and leaving them on the PC board where they’re still soldered.

Solderless breadboard – device used for testing and improving circuits which won’t work once they’re hardwired.

Wire cutters – used for cutting wires too short.

Line shooter – a slingshot device used to hoist antennas into trees before realizing you forgot to connect the coaxial cable to it first.

Battery charger – a device which is forgotten to connect to a dead gel cell battery the night before Field Day.

Super glue – adhesive used to attach electronic components to fingers.

Spray paint – substance used to leave fingerprints on a project enclosure.

SWR meter – device that alerts you to the fact your antenna blew down in the storm last night.

Dremel tool – rotary tool used to fling pieces of broken cutoff wheels around the shack and possibly imbed in walls or body parts.

Antistatic bag – plastic bag which protects static-sensitive CMOS devices so you can fry them in a circuit instead.

Smoke detector – alarm which lets you know that the modification you just performed on your expensive new ham rig just failed.

LED flashlight – handheld light which uses less battery power than an incandescent flashlight as you search for dropped components on the floor.


  1. Very funny! Though in view of some of the used gear I’ve acquired over the years I’d make one amendment:

    Slug tuner: tool for breaking the slugs in tunable coils (see Flat screwdriver).

  2. David Brodbeck N8SRE says:

    Wire stripper – Device for nicking solid-core copper wire, causing open connections long after a project is assembled.

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