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Klein Tools 11057 Klein Tools-Kurve Wire Stripper/Cutter, Blue with Red Stripe, 20 - 32 ga
Klein Tools 11057 Klein Tools-Kurve Wire Stripper/Cutter, Blue with Red Stripe, 20 - 32 ga
Offered by HVACR Tools
Price: $20.89
49 used & new from $13.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Best Wire Strippers I Have Ever Used, July 7, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
An outstanding product--well crafted and exemplifying quality construction. These strippers work well on solid and stranded wire and have presets down to 32 AWG. Strips off the insulation without breaking the wire. After years of coping with inferior tools (particularly the minimalist wire strippers that have to be manually adjusted via a set screw for each wire guage) I eventually gave in and upgraded to superior tools. These Klein wire strippers are terrific and a most welcome addition to my home workshop.

Klein Tools D335-51/2C 5-Inch Long Needle-Nose Pliers-Extra Slim
Klein Tools D335-51/2C 5-Inch Long Needle-Nose Pliers-Extra Slim
Price: $25.59
22 used & new from $24.65

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine Quality Craftsmanship, July 4, 2011
Well constructed and durable--these pliers are a must for delicate electronic work. After years of laboring with a mixed bag of tools from divers origins, I have switched to Klein as my manufacturer of choice.

SKIL 3320-01 120-Volt 10-Inch Drill Press
SKIL 3320-01 120-Volt 10-Inch Drill Press
Price: $126.47
8 used & new from $126.47

30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Welcome Addition to my Home Workshop, July 4, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I purchased this drill press for my 'garage' workshop. The drill is used in a variety of home projects (PCB board fabrication, project box construction (plastic and metal), etc.

This drill serves its function quite well. The press is durable and well balanced. The laser sight is very helpful in aligning drill bit and hole.

To change speeds, you do need to pop the top cabinet, loosen the motor mounts (thumb-tight screws), change belt positions and then retighten the motor mounts and snap the cabinet back into place. Not a serious chore, but it is a 'manual' not an 'automatic' transmission.

The press is heavy (about 50 lbs) and it is best to mount to a stable surface (e.g., a workbench).
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 30, 2012 6:49 AM PDT

Weller WESD51 Digital Soldering Station
Weller WESD51 Digital Soldering Station
Price: $132.17
69 used & new from $118.46

5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Soldering Station, July 4, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a first rate soldering station with ESD (grounded tip) protection and digital temperature readout. If you are serious about your soldering--this is an excellent choice.

After years of laboring with a 'cheap' soldering pencil, I finally broke down and bought a first rate station. The final straw was when I noticed that the cheap pencil iron I was struggling with was beginning to melt and the handle was becoming just a bit too hot to hold--ouch! If you spend much time doing electronic assembly work--do yourself a favor and invest in quality tools. They will pay for themselves many times over.

arrowhead brass and plumbing 363bcld 3/4 -Inch Female Iron Pipe x 3/4 -Inch Hose Connection
arrowhead brass and plumbing 363bcld 3/4 -Inch Female Iron Pipe x 3/4 -Inch Hose Connection
Price: $21.18
4 used & new from $12.96

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High Quality Faucet with Integral Vacuum Breaker, June 19, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a very high quality brass faucet for outdoor hose bibs. The faucet incorporates the necessary vacuum breaker to prevent backflow into your home water supply.

A couple of quick notes:

1. This is for 3/4" pipes--most homes are 1/2" -- so check your required size.
2. This faucet is intended for use in warmer climates. If you live where the winters are rugged and days below freezing are common -- you need a faucet designed for severe climates to avoid frozen pipe damage.

The ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications: The Comprehensive RF Engineering Reference [With CDROM]
The ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications: The Comprehensive RF Engineering Reference [With CDROM]
by Arrl
Edition: Paperback
26 used & new from $9.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Essential Amateur Radio Reference Book, June 19, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This classic reference packs a lot of information into a single volume, covering the gambit of amateur radio topics:

o Fundamental Theory (basics, analog, digital)
o RF Techniques
o Computer Aided Design
o Power Supplies
o Modulation
o Oscillators and Synthesizers
o Mixers, Modulation and Demodulators
o RF and AF Filters
o Receivers
o Transmitters
o Transceivers
o DSP and Software Radio
o Digital Modes
o RF Power Amplifiers
o Repeaters
o Propagation of Radio Signals
o Transmission Lines
o Antennas
o Component Data and Reference
o Construction Techniques
o Station Accessories
o Test Equipment and Measurement
o Troubleshooting and Maintenance
o RF Interference
o Safety
o Assembling a Station
o Space Communications
o Digital Communications
o Image Communications

Best of all, this edition comes with a CD ROM that includes the entire text, searchable on your PC. If you are just getting started in amateur radio, this volume is the closest thing to a 'one stop' shop for answers to your questions. For the experienced amateur there is still a wealth of information. Several of the chapters include projects to delight and motivate the homebrew aficionado. A fabulous reference source for many years and hopefully for many years to come.

Edsyn Soldapullt, Silverstat, Plastic, Conductive
Edsyn Soldapullt, Silverstat, Plastic, Conductive

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Quintessential Solder Sucker, June 19, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The finest solder sucker I have ever used. If you are going to invest a significant fraction of your life wielding a soldering iron--do yourself a favor--and procure high quality tools. Nothing makes an electronic construction task more miserable than limping along with mediocre equipment.
Well designed and constructed--this solder sucker is a must have for the professional or serious hobbyist.

QUINT GRAPHICS Electronic Symbols Template
QUINT GRAPHICS Electronic Symbols Template
Price: $9.75
2 used & new from $8.05

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High Quality Electronic Component Template, June 19, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
For the few stalwarts who still enjoy drawing out a schematic by hand--this is a find template. Made of heavy, but flexible plastic--it is quite durable.
Includes outlines for the following: antennas, JFETs, MOSFETs, bipolar transistors, diodes, R, L, C, transformers, lamps, switches, batteries, crystals, speakers, microphones, pickup heads, op amps, logic gates (AND/OR/NAND/NOR/buffer/inverter).

Practical Antenna Handbook
Practical Antenna Handbook
by Joseph J. Carr
Edition: Paperback
34 used & new from $15.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good "Practical" Reference on Antennas, May 30, 2011
NB: This is the fourth edition of Carr's classic handbook on antennas. Carr's handbook had been a very popular reference for those who needed to understand the nuts and bolts of antennas without the requisite 'theoretical' background. I didn't think there would be a 5th edition since Joe Carr passed away shortly after delivering the manuscript for the fourth edition (circa 2000). However, I see that a fifth edition is indeed in the works with George Hippisley carrying on the tradition. The book is scheduled for release in late 2011. So, if time is not of the essence--you may wish to wait for the fifth edition.

With regards to the fourth edition....this is a good reference book on antennas for those who need to have a working knowledge of the basics, but lack the mathematical and theoretical background to seriously dig into antenna theory. The book makes few demands on the reader. If you can cope with a few simple algebraic equations and do a little arithmetic with complex numbers--this volume will be completely accessible. There are some trig functions, a few hyperbolic trig functions and several logarithms. You won't encounter Maxwell's equations, you won't be confronted with vector calculus and you will see very little theory. There is a chapter on electromagnetic fields that is highly intuitive which constitutes virtually all of the 'theory' in the book (this chapter leans heavily on a US Army training manual).

The rest of the book is a 'hands on' guide to various antenna types, their salient properties and practical advice on construction and tuning. The book is abundantly illustrated with figures which are simply drawn but provide great clarity.

Summarizing the contents of the book:

o Basic introductory comments
o Radio-wave propagation
o Transmission lines (very nice discussion with lots of 'scope shots' to illustrate reflections and the effects of an impedance mis-match)
o The Smith Chart
o Fundamentals of antennas (leverages from the US Army training manual)
o Several chapters on every antenna imaginable (dipoles and a litany of dipole variants, verticals, multi-band, longwire, limited space antennas, phased arrays, beam antennas, loop antennas, VHF/UHF antennas, radio astronomy antennas, marine antennas and much more).

There is advice on tuning, picking the feedpoints, etc. The author briefly discusses antenna design software (this was a new topic for the fourth edition). Note that EZNEC (mentioned in the book) is alive and well -- but the software that comes with the book dates to the late 90's--and I couldn't get it to run on my Windows Vista machine (hopefully this will be corrected in the fifth edition).

There are MANY reference books on antenna theory and design. The ARRL alone publishes the Antenna Book (now in its 21st edition), 8 volumes of antenna compendia, a book on small-space antennas, a designer's notebook for antenna design, six volumes on classic antennas (wire, VHF/UHF, verticals, Yagis, etc.) and a book on antenna towers. And then consider all of the other publishers of 'antenna books' and you are faced with an impressive corpora of antenna know-how.

So, who should buy this book? What is the intended audience?

I see two groups that would benefit from this handbook:

1. Those who crammed for the radio propagation and antenna components for any of the amateur radio examinations (elements 2, 3 or 4) and now are interested in gaining a broader knowledge of these topics.

2. Those who need to know some practical basics of antenna construction and tuning but are unprepared to tackle the underlying theory.

For those in category 1--you should find this book very much in line with the material you studied to pass the examination elements--but covered in much more detail. For example, to pass element 4, one needs to understand the 'anatomy' of a Smith Chart. This book demonstrates how to use the Smith chart to match the impedance of a load to the impedance of the transmission line by using a shorted stub.

For those in category 2--you will find a lot of useful information in this volume that is readily accessible to anyone who can work with complex numbers and do a little trigonometry.

Now for the big question: If I could only afford ONE reference on antennas for my home library, would the Practical Antenna Handbook be my choice? Sadly no. If I was limited to a single home reference I would choose the ARRL Antenna Book--more information packed into roughly the same shelf space. Nevertheless, this is a very good reference book with a more remedial approach focusing on the 'practical' aspects of antenna design and construction.

Homebrew Cookbook
Homebrew Cookbook
by Eamon Skelton EI9GQ
Edition: Paperback
6 used & new from $34.92

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Book for the Electronics Hobbyist, May 29, 2011
This review is from: Homebrew Cookbook (Paperback)
Published in 2010 by the Radio Society of Great Britain (the UK equivalent of the ARRL)--this book is an excellent guide for someone interested in homebrew amateur radio projects.

The first chapter focuses on construction techniques including 'dead-bug' or 'ugly construction', home PCB fabrication and ends with a little advice on sheet metal work. The author tackles home PCB manufacture in depth and discusses not only his personal favorite techniques (e.g., the toner transfer method) but also includes advice he has gleaned from others.

The remainder of the book walks through a series of homebrew projects including:

o Direct conversion receiver
o Superhetrodyne receiver
o Frequency counter
o HF transceiver
o Transverter
o Linear Amplifier
o Grid Dip Oscillator
o Various antenna projects

Along the way, the author tackles some nifty sub-projects including:

o A home-made five-pole crystal filter for SSB (3 kHz BW)
o Audio-frequency derived IF AGC

The author also demonstrates great creativity in conjuring suitable means to test and tune his projects without significant capital expenditure. Examples include:

o Building your own noise source for filter characterization.
o Using your PC's sound card along with a VFO and mixer (sub-projects in the book) to make a simple (albeit narrow band) spectrum analyzer.

The book is well written with ample notes on design and construction. On any volume of finite size (particularly a thin tome such as this) some details will necessarily be omitted. For instance, advice on how best to dispose of the various chemicals involved in PCB fabrication is minimal--and the reader is advised to do some homework before setting up shop.

The author takes an incremental approach to home projects. Major projects are broken into useful stand-alone projects. For instance, on your way to building a superhet receiver, you will build:

o An RF filter
o An audio amplifier
o A Mixer
o A two-stage IF amplifier
o An AGC circuit

Most (if not all) of the text was assembled from articles the author contributed to RADCOM (the UK equivalent of QST magazine) over several years--and this leads to a few quirks in the text:

o Some projects are presented incrementally as the author revisits an older topic with a new slant months or years later. This is best manifest in the series of projects on frequency measurement. The author begins with a simple uC-based frequency counter, then adds on a high impedance front-end. Later he adds a pre-scalar for VHF/UHF frequencies and finally spends several pages of text describing various ways to achieve higher stability and accuracy (oven-controlled crystals, synchronization with a GPS receiver, etc.). The incremental approach will delight some who relish the synthesis process and are always anxious to revisit projects to see how they might be improved--and will frustrate others who simply want to jump to the "terminal" project.

o The author switches style somewhere between the receiver and transmitter projects. In the early chapters, he conscientiously includes a formal parts list for each project -- which is most convenient. In the later chapters, the reader is left to examine schematics and scan the text to generate his own list. A small thing, to be sure, but the summary lists were nice (especially when you are about to embark on a procurement expedition).

o Once in a while, the prose belies its origin in phrases like, 'in this month's project'.

o The active devices (most especially the RF/VHF/UHF transistors) tend to be a little stale suggesting that much of the design work was probably done in the early 90's. Many of the author's favorite devices are a little hard to come by these days (notably, the 2SC1969, 2SC945, 2SC2539, 2SC2329, BFY90, BSX20, BF2452, BC558, BC548, BFW16A). In some cases the author mentions alternatives, but this is less so for the core high frequency devices. So, if you don't have an extensive junk box, don't enjoy researching device substitutions and don't appreciate an old fashioned scavenger hunt--you may be a bit disappointed.

o The proof readers missed a typo or two.

Caveats so noted, this is a dandy book and a wonderful read for the technically inclined.

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