Ham Radio: Workbench-2, Hand Tools

In this episode of The Workbench, George @KJ6VU and Jeremy @KF7IJZ take a look at uses of and options for hand tools at the workbench.

They highlight the tools that are practical and useful with many suggestions on what to buy and what features to look for when considering your purchase.

MCM Electronics 5% Coupon Code: radio5 (July 19-31 2016)

Segment 1 – News and Updates

Autodesk buys CADsoft. New web site http://www.cadsoft.io
Free version for non-commercial hobby use is now called Eagle Express Schematic, layout, router, 2 schematic sheets, 2 signal layers, 100mm x 80 mm. News:
Doug Hendricks, KI6DS, is restarting the famous Nor Cal QRP club. Monthly meetings take place in San Jose, CA. Check out the norcalqrp yahoo group.
Our friend, John Pugliano, N7PUG, from the Wealthsteading podcast, talked about ham radio and hobbies on the July 2 episode of his podcast. http://www.wealthsteading.com/
Using PC power supplies for ham radio:  http://ac8gy.com/pc_supplies.html
What’s on George’s bench? – Building a repeater for Cale – 2 CDM1550 radios + SRS Controller – Radio shelf monitoring board as part of our Motorola CDM repeater radio upgrade
Dayton Mini Maker Faire – https://makerfairedayton.com

Segment 2 – Hand Tools
Needle nose pilers
Diagonal Wire cutters
Wire strippers
Helping hands
Precision screwdrivers
Usual mechanical hand tools – source from big box stores
    • Pickup cheap from local big box store
    • Metric and Standard
    • Small 1/4” drive right angle socket set
Hex Wrench Set – Metric and SAE
Xacto knife
Soldering Iron & Accessories

Special Coupon Code from MCM Electronics to save 5% on your entire order!

Enter this code at Check-Out:  radio5 (good 7-15 thru 7-31 2016) for Workbench Listeners!


New Ham Radio 360 iOS App in the App Store!  Brought to you by our friend Nick (N3WG) of Pignology!

Find us in the App Store!
Find us in the App Store!


  1. Great episode. I really appreciate the candid discussion on soldering stations. Ive been using a Weller 40w pencil for years and have been very frustrated. Im purchaing a soldering station soo. And will have to really lern how to solder now.

  2. Based on your comments, I bought a pair of the Irwin Self-adjusting Wire Strippers. I’ve used them on several projects over the past week, and they are nothing short of fantastic. Thanks for the great info and podcast!

    1. Agreed!I have an older pair from Lowes myself, they spoiled me from the beginning-I can’t think of stripping wires w/o them!! Thanks for listening K4CDN

  3. Ok, I’m not really a Harbor Freight fan. I will purchase specific tools that aren’t crucial and fill the bill. Upon leaving yesterday I noticed their wire cutters, needle nose pliers, etc. They had a line of hand tools w orange handles who’s fit and finish really suprised me. For the budget oriented guy, this might be a good way to start. I may buy a few and see how they function.

    Thanks for the show- Loving it !


    1. HFT: a Poor Mans Toy Store 🙂
      which reminds me, I need a new stool for the shop! *off to find a coupon!

  4. Great show. I’ve had a Weller station for 30 years and am looking forward to updating as I “retool” my bench. I’ve got my eye on either the Hakko or a Metcal. The Metcal appears to be a lot more expensive and I’m wondering what benefits/features if any come with the Metcal. Comparing the Hakko FX888D-23BY vs Metcal MFR-1110.

  5. I recall you mention Dremel rotary tool in this episode and the drill press you can buy for it. Why hasn’t the drill press proved very useful? For light work i would have thought a good option- if you don’t have a heavy proper drill press

    1. from KF7IJZ

      The Dremel press in question is here: https://www.amazon.com/Dremel-220-01-Rotary-Workstation-Station/dp/B00068P48O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494935097&sr=8-1&keywords=dremel+press

      The problem I always found is that I used my Dremel as a hand tool more often than not and it was sometimes inconvenient to have to move it into and out of the press. Also, because the press was so small, it would get moved or put away and it wasn’t always out for use. Some may say buy a second Dremel to be dedicated, but at that point, you can purchase a 10″ bench top drill press from any big box home center or Harbor Freight (for much cheaper with their coupons) and have a dedicated tool with more capability/power.

      If you just need the capability for infrequent use, then the Dremel press is a fine option for light duty.

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