Swapping, Meeting and Buying
I've read for ages that Ham Radio Swap Meets are great places to get good deals on various electronics bits and pieces (and, admittedly, junk too). A while back I discovered the website of the local Christchurch, New Zealand Ham radio branch. Unfortunately their most recent events page mentioned a swap meet in March but with no indication of which year!
Until a couple of weeks ago I hadn't followed up on the idea any further but on a whim I decided to email them. In a happy coincidence it turned out that their next annual swap meet was to be in two weeks time (this past weekend).
The shopping list
Although I got to the event later than intended I still picked up a few interesting items. Indeed, it was probably easier on the wallet having less temptation in purchase choice. :-)
Among a few other bits and pieces I managed to pick up three oscilloscope probes and related items for $NZ1, a partially used wirewrap set for another $NZ1 and some small project boxes. It will be interesting to see if having proper probes makes any difference when using xoscope—the Linux sound-card oscilloscope.
Also purchased a box of assorted ICs for $NZ5 which may turn out to be both a convenient and reasonable deal. I'm around halfway through cataloging the contents of the box and about two-thirds of the 70+ ICs seem to be useful with a good assortment of 7400 series, 4000 series and op-amps amongst others. It's taken ages to do the cataloging (Octopart and similar sites have been very helpful) but hopefully it'll pay off in the long run—if nothing else I'm learning things along the way. Looks like there's a few "historical" items dating back to around the late 70's/early 80's too.
My largest purchase (something approaching "real money" :-) ) was a PCB Soldering Vise which I later found advertised here at a price that made my purchase price seem reasonable.
Described as a "Mark III Circuit Card Fixture" seemingly made by Technical Devices Company of Torrance, California it's like a PanaVise circuit board holder but presumably cheaper and less well made...
The device looks like this, but less shiny:
It's likely to be larger than what I need but should hopefully be a useful addition to the tool chest. I even found a scan of Mark III Circuit Card Fixture assembly instructions (original image source) in case I unassemble it accidently...
All up it was an interesting time—I ended up stopping in at the SuperShed and a few garage sales on the way home but only added an ethernet cable to the purchase pile. :-)