December 3, 2023

The right tool at the right time is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” – Ancient Aphorism (well, something like that)

There is just something about having the right tool for the right job at the right moment that makes everything better. Here are some tools that worked out perfectly for me in the last couple of months, and using them brought a smile to my face.

Why not increase your odds of having a good day by being prepared with these great additions to your tool collection?

Kenny B.

Note: is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program.

RigExpert Stick 230 Pocket Size Antenna Analyzer for 100kHz – 230MHz – Don’t leave it behind!

I was at our amateur radio club’s monthly “Day in the Park” trying out my newly acquired “Big Ears” antenna. A new ham showed up with a low power end fed antenna and wanted to give it a try. We deployed the end fed from one of the “big ears” telescoping points to the top of a ramada support post. Not ideal, but enough to see if the SWR was OK before connecting the antenna to the radio. I was really glad I had this Rig Expert Stick-230. A press of the “Ham” button and we cycled through the HAM HF bands. With SWR readings of less than 1.5 on 40m and 20m we considered that good enough for a trial run. This antenna analyzer is a pleasure to use, with a SO-239 connection, 2800 mAh Li-ion rechargable battery, compact size and light weight. I had that great feeling of having the right tool at the right time. Several HAMS took pictures of this one to look it up for their field deployment kit. I highly recommend this for every ham!

Data/Voice Modular Plug Crimp Tool Kit

It was my turn on the weekly ham club net. I confidently gave my update and when I released the microphone PTT key on my FTM-400XDR, it was obvious no one had heard me. After pulling my Jeep to the side of the road and doing some debug I found the problem. It was a loose microphone cable caused by a broken retention tab on the remote mount extension cable. Fortunately, “back at the ranch,” I had this nifty Ideal RJ-11 crimping tool that included plugs. I was able to cut the cable, strip the insulation, trim the data wires and crimp the new connector plug using this one tool. A quick test confirmed that everything was working again. I like this combined RJ-45, RJ-11 tool so much that I also bought the Klein version to put in my Jeep toolbag. Don’t leave home without it! 🙂

DROK USB Tester, USB-A 2.0 Digital Multimeter

We were adding a phone charging cable to my son-in-law’s Indian Chief motorcycle. After connecting things up, his phone didn’t seem to show that it was charging. Was the 12V to USB converter working or not? Reach for the trusty DROK USB digital multimeter, and yes the converter was able to put out 1.8A at 5.1 volts. On to check the phone cable and other potential issues. This tool is great for all those USB situations where you are not sure if the port is working or not. At an airport using a USB charging port… is it working? In the car and it “should” be working but nothing on the phone… is it working? Plenty of sun but… are your portable solar panels putting 5V out on the USB connections? I gave the one we used to my son-in-law. I like this tool so much I have them in my travel bag, my workbench, the car tool bag. Replacing confusion with clarity for such a low cost…. priceless! 🙂

Multifunction Tool Pen, 6 in 1 Tool with Ballpoint Pen

I got one of these for Christmas a couple of years ago. With the small Phillips and flat screwdriver, it is perfect for opening up toy battery compartments, project boxes, and numerous small gadgets with screws. The stylus has been useful more times that I expected, and the included level… hanging pictures anyone? I frequently get questioned about it when signing things, I thought I should carry a spare as a “give away.” Looking for Christmas stocking stuffers? To give is better than to receive!