Previously, I blogged about what every ham should know how to do. On a related note, the HamRadioHelpGroup now has a thread on what every ham should have in the shack. This is actually a revival of an older thread; the original poster, Jean, W4TYU, is now an SK.
There are basic tools that a HAM needs:
- small screwdrivers – both straight and phillips,
- cheap set of jeweler’s screwdrivers for the very small screws in microphone plugs,
- soldering iron- one pencil type and one heavy one,
- resin (or rosin) core solder,
- small pliers and diagonal cutters,
- 6″ slip joint pliers,
- sharp knife for cutting insulation
- small scissors,
- an inexpensive volt-ohm meter,
- black electrical tape to waterproof outdoor connectors, etc., and
- cable ties of various lengths.
Bill, AB9BC replied:
I’d add an SWR meter, and be sure to check that it’s appropriate for the bands you are using.
Tim, N9PUZ, adds:
- A nice long tape measure to measure wire antennas, map out your yard, etc. I have one of those roll up style 250′ long ones that makes a lot of tasks easy. They don’t have to cost a fortune. Buy an inexpensive one at Harbor Freight or somewhere similar. You are going to use it a few times a year to play with antennas NOT try to earn a living with it.
- Safety goggles. Wear them, don’t store them in your toolbox. You only have one set of eyes and a blob of hot solder, sliver of wire, or a metal filing or wood chip while cutting or drilling can really ruin your day.
- A decent pair of wire strippers for wire up to about 12 ga. Yes, you can use a knife or carefully held side cutters (DON’T use your teeth) but a wire stripper will be so much easier. I like the style with fixed sizes rather than the adjustable ones. Any home center type store will have them.
- A pair of “Vise-Grip” type adjustable, locking pliers. You can use them to
hold coax connectors while soldering, etc. as well as all of the normal things you’d use them for.
I would add some kind of adjustable, bench power supply. This is NOT the supply you use to power your transceiver. If you have such a supply handy, you’ll find yourself more willing and able to play around with circuits. If you don’t have one, I guarantee that you won’t ever do any experimentation.
What else should every shack have? A selection of different fuses, perhaps? Different kinds of connectors and wire so that you can make up a cable when you need it?