Lab equipment is essential for homebrewing. You need a soldering iron to build electronics, a power supply to put life in your circuit, and some measurement equipment to test/verify its behaviour. This page lists the most important parts of my lab.
Dynatek 9005 (multimeter)I got this one in 1993, it was the last present I got from my father before he died later that year. It also was my first serious measuring device, and because of that I selected this model. Apart from the basic stuff it can measure frequency, duty cycle, capacity and transistors. These extra capabilities where very useful to me at that time, since I could only dream of an oscilloscope. Nowadays it is still my primary multimeter, including the original probes.
Dynatek is a dutch company and still creates measurement equipment nowadays. This model however is not available any more, but its successors are.
Weller WTCP-S (soldering station)
During my electronics study I learned that soldering isn’t that easy, unless you use a quality soldering station. That was the reason I bought this Weller WTCP-S. This soldering station is well-known for its quality. It is a solid machine, it has seen the floor many times already and still works. Ok, the iron holder can’t be attached to the console any more, but who cares? In 1994 I paid a huge amount of money (for a student) for this device. It is based on Weller’s Magnastat technology, which means that the operating temperature is regulated by the tip. Most of the time I use a #7, although I use different shapes of tips. Tips are still available, although they switched to a new type so I had to buy an adapter.
Weller is still one of the main brands when it comes to soldering. The company was founded in 1945 and is nowadays owned by APEX Tool Group.
Rotex RFC-250 (counter)During my first job in 1996 (test engineer at a pacemaker factory) I met a colleague who was a radio amateur too. He was not practising any more, so he offered me some boxes filled with parts and equipment, including this nice counter. This model is from the late 70’s but still going strong. Inside I found a modification which happened to be a crystal oven. Although I own several counters nowadays, this Rotex is still my favourite one. A few years ago I had the opportunity to verify its accuracy, it successfully passed the test: its reference frequency is spot-on!
Rotex is a dutch company, founded in 1967. After just a few years they quit producing electronics measurement tools, and focused on manufacturing fluid control systems, pneumatic actuators, valve automation systems and control components. They changed their name, however Rotex is still one of their brands.
Rotex RFG-150 (function generator)
During one of the dutch hamfests in 2016 I found this generator. I simply had to buy it, since it perfectly matches my counter. Once home, I immediately put it to the test and it still worked great! It has a built-in counter, using very small 7-segment LED displays, each provided with a small fisheye. The generator goes up to over 1 MHz and produces sine, block and triangle waves. It lack duty cycle settings or modulation, but I don’t miss these features that much.
The Rotex generator has never been as popular as it’s counter, so probably few still exist nowadays. Although I do own another function generator (heathkit IG-1271) I prefer this Rotex.
Hameg HM-205 (oscilloscope)
MiniVNA (Vector Network Analyzer)