Saturday, May 01, 2010

The shack is back

I finally completed phase 1 of the shack renovation. G4ILO is back on the air!

The floor is now covered in wood laminate, and there is a shelf unit on the desk that displays all my radio equipment "ready to go".

On the "ground floor" is the VHF antenna rotator, the MFJ noise canceling unit, the tuner for the MFJ magnetic loop and my two Morse keys.

On the next level is my Diamond GSV3000 power supply and my Elecraft K3. There is space for a new addition to the right of the K3. This will not be a P3 panadapter, the pictures of which haven't excited me at all, nor will it be the recently announced Elecraft 500W linear amplifier - as if I could use one with my attic antennas!

The shelves above the K3 lift out to make it easier to access the back of the radio for changing cables. On the second storey is my QRP K2 with its matching power supply. The K2 is really there just for display, as it isn't actually connected to any antennas, though I could easily swap an antenna from the K3 to the K2 if I wanted to. The K2 power supply runs a few other items including the FT-817ND, seen on the right with the Microset R50 144MHz amplifier. The 817 is doing duty as my 2m rig at the moment - I have given up the transverter due to a number of issues including poor memory ergonomics of the K3 and the fact that it is convenient to be able to monitor or even operate on 2m while the K3 is otherwise occupied.

The top shelf holds the Medion computer speakers that deliver decent-sounding audio out of the K3, my KK7UQ PSK IMD Meter and my collection of VHF/UHF hand-held radios and their chargers.

The opposite wall is still a hodge-podge of shelves screwed to the wall. Phase 2 is to install a custom designed system of shelves and cupboards so the boxes of "junk" can be hidden away behind closed doors. There is a firm that has a web site where you can design your own unit from standard modules and it arrives as a giant flat pack which you assemble. Olga is designing it as she is much better at that sort of thing than me.

I'm not very skilled at joinery and my home made shelf unit doesn't look all that professional but it's better than what I had. Having all (well, most of) my radios at my fingertips I feel for the first time in my life like I have an actual radio station. I made a few contacts today including a PSK31 QSO with Greece on 12m, two SOTA stations on VHF and a nice slow morse contact with Helge, LA1PRA on 80m.
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