Steve’s Wish List

For quite a while now, I’ve had a wish list on my website. This wish list is not for any particular holiday, just things that I wish I had. This way, I can point people to here when they ask the question, “So what would you like for [insert holiday here]?” Also so I can keep a list of links to things that I like, that I can come back to and drool on. The list started because I was saving money for future purchases, and a couple times would think, “Now that I have the money saved, what should I get?” Of course when you’re on the spot like that (say, for example, when someone asks the above question) you can’t easily think of something. By doing this I can track what things I want to get in the future, and just have to update it when I get something or want something else.

If you’re looking for places to get good deals on things, you can check with Google’s Prooduct Search service. You should of course be careful of online vendors, since some are not as good as others – do a little research on the vendor listed, even through the reviews listed on the search site, and use your best judgment. If you’re not sure, feel free to ask me about a vendor. I’ve got a few that I use more often than others and trust.

Also, if you don’t want to scan through and don’t have an idea what to get, don’t feel bad about picking up PlayStation Network gift cards.  They come in $20 and $50 denominations, are available at retailers such as Target, and can be used for purchasing anything on PlayStation Network.  There’s plenty of things I’m always interested in picking up there, so don’t feel like you’re cheaping out if you want to go that route.  I won’t mind – and Stephanie won’t either since there’s games she wants too.

ItemDescription / LinksPrice
This wish list last updated February 28, 2012 20:49
Playstation 3 StuffI've got a Sony Playstation 3 now (in addition to the PS2 I've had for a while). What's neat about it is there's games I can buy online too, but here's a list of ones you'll find in a brick-and-mortar store. These are in order of release (roughly) so the ones near the top you might find used for less.
  • The Godfather: The Don's Edition
  • Medal Of Honor: Airborne
  • Monopoly
  • Far Cry 2
  • The Godfather II
  • Fat Princess (PSN Downloadable Game)
  • Fallout: New Vegas
If you'd rather, you can pick up "Playstation Network Cards" at many retailers in increments of $20 and $50 which can be redeemed on the Playstation Network for downloadable games. And there's a lot of those available too!
$20.00 - $60.00
Radio Shack Butane Soldering IronI have one of these, however the tip is a bit worse for wear. Interestingly, it's also stuck to the end of the iron; so since a new tip is about half the cost of the unit, and I might break it trying to get the tip off...$22.99
Radio Shack Dual-Heat Soldering GunThere's a reason these suckers are heavy. All they are is a ginormous transformer. The power cord goes to the switch and then one side of the coil, and the secondary attaches to the tip. I've heard that in a pinch you can stick a piece of 12ga wire in the tip ports, flatten it a bit at one spot, and solder away. This is not a tool for delicate work, it's for soldering coax connectors and anything else that's big. But they're wonderful for that purpose.$32.99
LED Desk Lamp w/ MagnifierI've realized the last couple times I've soldered stuff that having a nice desk lamp I can move closer to my work piece is definitely useful. The magnification won't hurt either. Shaddup.$59.90
MFJ Enterprises MFJ-5124KWay back when I ordered my antenna tuner, MFJ's website said that an interface cable for the Kenwood was "coming soon". Just recently, their website still said that - but someone on one of the mailing lists I'm on mentioned that they'd used this product. Sure enough, if you hunt around on their website, you find that they're making the interface - it's just not listed on the page for the tuner. What's it do? Press a button on the front of the radio, and it changes power to 10W, changes to CW mode, transmits, tells the tuner to tune the antenna, then goes back to the power and mode you were running before. Much easier than doing it all by hand, and faster too.$59.95
Evil Mad Science KitsEvil Mad Science Laboratories spawned this website where you can get kits and components to build stuff.  One of their recent products caught my eye, a bulbdial clock (so named because the LEDs create a type of sundial-like appearance on the clock face).  Base price of $65 with the tri-color LEDs, plus $20 for the "granite/clear" case to display it nicely on a desk and $10 for the "chronodot" which improves accuracy and provides a battery backup - plus I get the fun of assembling it :>$95.00
West Mountain Radio PWRguardThe PWRguard is a device you put in-line between your power source(s) and your loads; if it detects the voltage is too high, or too low, it automatically turns off.  This would have saved my current batteries, which died a premature death because I forgot to turn the power supply back on a couple times and woke up to my TS-2000 clicking at dead batteries that were overdrained.$99.95
Morse Code PaddleOne thing I don't have for my radio is a way to send morse code, or a "key". Except I don't really want a key - straight keys just open and close a circuit and turn the transmitter on and off while the operator does all the work. Meanwhile, electronic keyers will send the dots and dashes as you have the paddles closed, and you can operate a lot faster as you get more proficient.
I haven't decided which kind I prefer; the Bencher BY-1 is slightly cheaper, while the Vibroplex Iambic Std seems more solidly built and nicer quality. Other places might have these, but Google Products searches were strangely barren.
$109.95 - $149.95
West Mountain Radio CBA-IIIThe Computerized Battery Analyzer, or CBA, allows you to hook your battery to your computer and load test it. Why would you want to do this? So you can see how it performs before you go to rely on it in the field, and it dies. Many remote control hobbyists love these, and hams do too since they can check their backup or portable batteries when they're new, and then again every so often to know if it's time to throw out the set they're using and break in new ones. Ordering information is here.$149.95
Greenlee K210 Crimp ToolOne thing that is important when doing electronics work is good, clean, and secure crimp joints. I've got a couple cheap crimp tools, and one really nice one for specific connectors (Anderson PowerPoles) and the good crimper always makes me wish I had a good tool for standard crimps. This.. this is that tool. Interchangeable dies for different connectors, ratcheting handles, and well respected in the Interwebs.$160.00
Fluke 902I'd like to get an ammeter, but they're usually quite expensive.  The Fluke 902 would cover the amperage measurements, and 90% of the things which I use my multimeter for (I have an old Calterm meter, which can - believe it or not - measure automotive point dwell).  It's not great for resistance measurements, but most of the time I'm looking just for continuity. Google Products link here.$225.99
MFJ Enterprises MFJ-259BWhen you're dealing with HF antennas, there's two ways to handle things. You can either throw up whatever you can and use a tuner to try to make it work, or you can analyze the antenna and adjust it so it matches the radio and frequency best. This device analyzes the antenna and can tell you the standing wave ratio it will present at any given frequency, what its bandwidth is, and much more important information for building or adjusting antennas.$289.95
Uniden Bearcat BCD996XTWide band scanner w/ TrunkTracker (Can receive trunked radio signals). Universal Radio link, Google link here. Many public safety groups in the area have moved to trunked radio systems, so a digital trunked radio is almost a necessity to listen to them anymore.$455.99
Ingersoll-Rand SS5L5 Air CompressorAfter doing a bit of research on air compressors, I think I settled on this one. Of course it's an expensive one, but I doubt I'd need anything larger for anything I would do at home - just about every tool I looked at will be fed happily by this model. Looks like Northern Tool has it for a decent price.$919.99
Generac Guardian 5875As you may have guessed, I'm not that fond of the power company here. Both billing screw-ups which have ended up in them turning off our power without notification, and general problems with line quality and outages - sometimes on clear, sunny days - have prompted me for some time to want a backup generator to handle the house in the event of them doing something stupid again. The most recent event has almost cemented the fact that something must be done (or we must find a new place to live, this Nazi regime is too much for me). This particular Generac model would handle the worst-case scenario: the power goes out in the middle of the summer, with A/C units and such all running, and not cause damage to itself or any of the equipment in the house. Doesn't require a lot of rewiring, since the transfer switch goes between the existing meter and your main panel. Price isn't too terrible either.$4405.00
Oregon Scientific WMR968Partially because I have a house with multiple floors, partially because I’m always curious what the temperature is and what the weather’s been doing. I’ve always thought that home weather stations were neat, and this one is pretty affordable. Google lists some well-reviewed places that have it for a decent price. This one comes with four sensors (anemometer, temperature/humidity outdoor, indoor temperature/humidity/pressure, rain gauge) and room for three more. No, it’s not a nice Davis unit, but it doesn’t cost $800 either. (This unit seems to be discontinued, but I don’t see something that’s a direct replacement – so I’ll have to go hunting.  And I don’t want to delete it and forget the research I’d done before :P )$???.??
Various ItemsIm putting this line down here because these are things that I want to add to the wish list, but don't know what it is I'm looking for (or maybe where to get them) yet. Since I thought of a couple of them, but don't necessarily feel like researching them yet - but now I won't forget that it's something I wanted. Yes, forgetting I wanted to buy a new toy. Sucks getting older.
  • (Sliding?) Compound miter saw
  • 120v circuit toner
Various