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34274Soldering, aka Soldering Guns (and a good buy on one)

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  • Phil
    Jul 4, 2014
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      Hi All,
      My first "soldering gun" was a red 100Watt Wen that my father bought for
      my birthday somewhere around 1954 or so. Before that I'd been using a
      Wood burning set that I put a soldering tip in. I don't know what he
      paid for it, but it was the cheapest soldering gun you could buy at the
      time, and was vastly superior to the wood burning tool. I used it for
      maybe 15 years or so until somebody I was stationed with in the Air
      Force thought they needed it more than I did. I built MANY Heathkits
      and other electronic stuff with it.

      I replaced it sometime around 1970 or so with a 100 Watt (??) Weller
      (the little one). It was OK and did the job, but I guess I was used to
      the old Wen, it never felt right in my hand. It finally started smoking
      one day and I tossed it. Of course I also used many, many Weller guns,
      large and small in both my Air Force and later commercial career that
      belonged to the place I was working. I've also used and owned a few
      soldering stations of various makes and models. The past several years
      it's been a Philips Variable Temp Controlled station that was given to
      me when the owner dropped it and bought a new one. I fixed it and it
      works great. Also have had a 45 Watt Craftsman Iron for many years (2nd
      one). It gets REALLY HOT and is great for PL259 plugs etc.

      But I hadn't had a soldering gun since I tossed the old 100W Weller.
      There are times a Gun is especially handy, such as when working on
      outdoor antennas, the truck and so forth.

      Well I was back in the Harbor Fright store early this week picking up
      another "free" DVM that I'll give somebody who needs one, and decided to
      look and see what soldering equipment they have. Not a lot, a real
      cheap looking 30 Watt iron, a couple of torches. Then I spotted the
      180W soldering gun. It comes in a plastic case with a couple extra
      tips, a tiny bit of lead-free rosin core solder, container of flux and a
      wrench to change tips. Like I said, it came with three tips, one
      installed, and two extras. There are two types of tips, a couple
      flattened end ones similar to a Weller, and the other one is very much
      like what my old Wen used, just a squarish loop on the end.

      Hmm, $14.95, not a bad price for a 180W gun, if it works. . . I decided
      to think about it for awhile. Glad I did, I got an HF flyer in the mail
      with a one day 25% off coupon for 4 July, which would make the price of
      the soldering gun a whopping $11.25. So bright and early this morning I
      went down and snagged one, knowing that if I wasn't happy with it I can
      return it.

      I also found 4 handy little "soldering aid tools, the kind with a
      different tip on each end. Sorta like the old "soldering aid" that was
      so popular. Two were on clearance for 97 cents each, the other two were
      1.69 each, still not bad. Especially since I had a bunch of 20% off
      coupons that saved me a bit more on each one. Very handy little tools
      for poking and prodding things, reaming out holes in circuit boards
      (ones especially for that job), holding SMT chips in place while
      soldering and so forth.

      While there I also picked up their "free" 6 piece screwdriver set. I'm
      the piano player for the "House Of Prayer" men's rehab home and am
      collecting a LOT of their freebies to make up a Christmas box for the
      Men's home. A lot of those guys have almost nothing. . .

      Anyway, how does the soldering gun work? So far it seems to be good, it
      heats quickly and gets HOT, and has a light to see the work. I suspect
      that in actual use I'll have to "ride" the trigger or it'll probably get
      too hot for most work (but then the Wen and My small Weller were only
      100W). They call it an "Industrial Soldering Gun", but I suspect that
      in true Industrial use (high duty cycle) the transformer would probably
      heat up too much. But for occasional home use is MORE than adequate.

      The one thing I DON'T care about is the cockeyed handle, The Weller and
      Wen gun handles both sloped slightly to the back. This one is angled
      towards the front a bit, making it a little bit awkward, but maybe it'd
      become "natural" if one used it a lot.
      OK, now about Heathkit specifically (so somebody can't say I got
      completely OT).

      Right now I'm again listening to KMPH, the oldies station on my Mohican,
      my favorite radio for that station (it just seems natural). I STILL
      have the same "Panasonic Heavy Duty" (not alkaline) batteries that were
      in the radio when I got it on January 17th. The radio still sounds good
      (or as good as a set of that that type can sound). It must have at
      least a couple hundred hours on those batteries, I just can't kill
      them. Shoot, who needs the optional AC supply for the Mohican? And I
      bought three complete spare sets of Alkaline C-cells for it when HF had
      their alkalines at $3.69 a box/6 when they had their grand opening
      here. I bought spare batteries for all my battery gear, meters, radios
      etc, on that sale as I couldn't touch any alkalines around here for
      almost twice that.

      73 de Phil, KO6BB
      http://www.qsl.net/ko6bb/ (Web Page)

      Grundigs: S-350 (~2006), G6 (2011) & S450DLX (2014).
      Heathkit: GC-1A "Mohican". Analog Solid State (~1965).
      Icom: R-75 With Cascaded 250 & 125Hz CW Filters.
      Icom: R-71A With 250Hz CW filter (~1986).
      Icom: IC-735 Transceiver With 500Hz Filter (~1990).
      Radio Shack: DX-380 digital portable (~1990).
      Zenith: Royal-7000 Transoceanic Analog Portable (~1969).

      ACCESSORIES: Homebrew LF-MF Pre-Amp, MFJ-993B HF Auto-Tuner.
      Homebrew 6 Hz Audio Filter.

      ANTENNAS: 88' Long Ladder-line fed dipole at 35 feet AGL.
      Active Mini-Whip at 36 Feet AGL for LF/MW.
      30 Foot "Low Noise Vertical" for LF/MW

      Merced, Central California, 37, 18, 37N 120, 30, 6W CM97rh
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