Thursday, May 23, 2013

Shack in Progress

I have mentioned before that I recently relocated to New Jersey. The move has been, for the most part, a good one. However, as a Ham, it's been a great one. Still, there is a lot of work ahead.

My "shack" in the last QTH, was a small desk crammed into the corner of the master bedroom. As you might imagine, late night contesting was out. Not only were my operating hours limited, so was the freedom to create a desirable operating position. The XYL is fairly supportive of my Ham passion, but not at the expense of aesthetics. So, when we moved to the new QTH, I was prepared to move the "shack" to the garage (a luxury we didn't have at the last place), but shortly after moving in, my wife mentioned that the hallway closet was, "...pretty big and should fit all your ham radio crap." SCORE! I had a room, with her blessing, in the house.

I painted the walls and stuffed a desk into the closet, set up my Icom IC-7410 and began listening. At first, I only had an attic mounted G5RV that gave me nothing but S9 +10db noise. A week or two later,  my Dad (W2PJM) arrived with a tennis ball gun under his arm and a smile on his face. "I've needed an excuse to try this thing out. What do you say?" He asked.

"Where's my antenna line?" I replied. Now I have an OCF up about 50' running NE to SW. It gets into Europe and across met of the US. I'm happy with it. That's not to say that more antennas aren't coming soon. In fact, better than the closet shack, I have a space less than 200' from the house to put a tower. And…the tower is sitting here waiting to be erected; ASAP. Since that project may take a bit, I decided to refocus my attention on the shack.

The more I have operated in that tiny little space, the more I like it. It's quiet, warm in the cool months and cool in the warm ones. The layout, however, sucks. So I've started to redesign it. I've been sketching up plans and making sure to leave some space for the K3 I'm asking Santa for. I've attached the sketch for no other reason than to archive my hair-brained idea of what it may look like.

I've had a few people ask what gear I'm using, so here is the current lineup:

Icom IC-7410 HF Tranciever
Yaesu FT-2800 2-Meter Tranciever
Uniden BC-396XT Scanner
Yaesu VX7R Tri-Band HT
Hendricks PFR-3: Build in progress
YouKits HB-1A
Bencher Paddles
American Morse Porta Paddle
Alinco DM-330MVT Power Supply
Heil Traveler (rewired for my Icom)
A decrepit Thinkpad that needs to be replaced ASAP!

So, that's my shack. Pics of the finished product should be up by this weekend.


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