34274Soldering, aka Soldering Guns (and a good buy on one)
- Jul 4, 2014Hi 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
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
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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