Ham Arduino Workbench continues our Starter Kit series. Our objective is to encourage hams and their clubs to engage with the local maker community.
Hams have been makers since the very beginning of radio. At first, we had to build all our own equipment because there was nothing to buy. Later, we built most of our gear because buying was really expensive. Early vacuum tubes cost a year’s salary or more, and were expensive to operate. Eventually, commercially made equipment became widespread. So we settled on building some of our stuff because we enjoyed doing so. Homebrew is still a big part of the hobby.
While most Arduino beginners buy a hardware starter kit, hams will find they already have most of the resources they need to get started. Most already have a well stocked ham Arduino workbench that just needs, well, an Arduino. Otherwise, a typical ham workbench already has the basics.
- A wide collection of electronics components. This includes resisters, capacitors, switches, coils, wires, transistors, diodes and LED. Some of these parts are new, many are junk box.
- The tools of the trade. This includes a soldering station, digital multimeter, and power supply. In addition, the basics like wire cutters and strippers, pliers and the always useful “third hand”. Some lucky hams will have an oscilloscope, too.
- An actual workbench, with a big flat work surface, good lighting and an anti-static mat.
Many makers starting out need to buy these things. Sharing your workbench and junk box is a good way to make friends.
Ham Arduino Workbench – Stuff You Need to Add
Next in this Starter Kit series, we will talk about the different Arduino boards and modules you might want. But for now, you can complete your workbench by adding some breadboards and jumper wires. Most Arduino prototyping starts out on breadboards. Wiring is connected using jumpers and pin headers. You can buy these really cheaply. Or if you want to invest in a crimping tool, they are easy to assemble yourself. Get a sense of what you might need by visiting the Adafruit Prototyping section.
To wrap things up, here is a short video about basic electronics parts for Arduino Makers.