For years I have been using a basic pen style soldering iron from Radio Shack (bought it back when we had those here in Canada). I never could quite get my connectors, or wires, to solder just the way I would like them to. Or for that matter, the way that I always saw folks doing it in YouTube videos.
I finally got smart and asked my father in law, who does marine electronics, and he said that I should have at least a 40w iron to properly solder PL-259 connectors. When I came back home and saw that mine were 30w and 25w I realized that was likely the reason (and I needed more practice of course).
After realizing that, I started thinking about where I could get myself a good iron (or gun) for the good price of $0. I remembered that my grandfather had once had a soldering gun and wondered where it went. I asked my father the other day, and lo and behold, he had it. Apparently before my grandfather passed away he was giving away some of his stuff and dad had picked it up because no one else wanted it. He gave it to me, on the condition that if he needed anything soldered, I would do it for him.
That sounded like a fair deal to me and I now have a Weller 100/140w soldering gun. I’ve already put it to use and have realized how much easier, and better, I can now solder things. All this time my main problem was an under powered tool.
Now with some practice, I might actually get half decent at it!
73 de VE1DCD