Control head stand

Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention.

To address the need for a stand for the radio’s control head, I headed off to the workbench and dug up some scrap pieces of MDF (it was actually part of the packaging for a treadmill we bought a while back). Fired up the table saw to cut it to an appropriate size and glued/screwed the pieces together.

It’s a simple L-shaped base with the top part where the control head mounts to at a bit of an angle (30┬░ according to my table saw)

Building a control head stand
Building a control head stand
Rear of the control head stand
Rear of the control head stand

4 screws provide the attachment point for the mounting plate from a goose neck stand. It was already on the radio and made sense to make use of it for this table stand. Here it is with the control head mounted.

Control head stand
Control head stand

A little bit of spray glue and some rubber kitchen liner on the bottom finishes off the stand. Not the prettiest thing, but it works.

Shack project ideas

Putting together the new shack has given me a few project ideas to work on:

  • Large dual display clock
  • Radio head stand
  • Window pass-through for coax and wires

I have a couple ideas in mind for the clock, including something powered by one of my *duinos, and something widget-y that can run on my tablet. Needless to say, neither one will be coming quickly since I have a lot to learn about doing both.

The control head for the radio doesn’t really sit all that well by itself on the table. There’s supposed to be a “foot” for it, but it’s lost in a box somewhere. I’ve got a few ideas to craft one out of some scrap pieces of wood lying around the garage. Shouldn’t be too hard to put something together that will work in the shack. Might not be pretty, but it should do the job.

The coax feed out the window to the antenna is a little less than optimal. The coax is sandwiched between a couple pieces of foam pipe insulation, which works but doesn’t look that pretty. There are window feed through units like the MFJ-4601┬áthat would look nice. I was thinking it would be a fun project to make my own version.

Off to the workbench!

Shack relocation

We’re getting ready to move the shack out of the office/shack into what used to be the guest bedroom. It will still be the guest bedroom for the rare occasion we actually have people stay over, but it will become mostly the shack.

It should be a much better room for playing radio, especially from a temperature standpoint. The office tends to get pretty warm in the summer and especially so when the computer/heater is running as well.

The room is also a lot closer to the antenna and I’ll be able to have a much shorter coax run out to the antenna than I do now. The room is all prepped for painting, and we’ve selected what we think is a nice shade of blue for the room. A day to paint with primer and let it dry, another day for the paint and we should be ready to move the shack into the room.

Right now the plan is to have a long table with the radios against the inside wall.

Future ham shack
Future ham shack

The antenna feed point is just outside the windows, so I’ll bring the coax through one of these windows and run it along the walls to the radio.

Windows in the shack
Windows in the shack

This should also make it easier to use the back yard for antenna projects since it will make the feed line runs shorter and easier.

Assembling the shack

Spent a bit of time decorating the shack today in between contacts for the ARRL DX contest. The two big maps at the top are CQ and ITU DX zone maps. On the right for easy reference is the ARRL band plan/WAS map, country prefix list and US grid square maps.

The shack
The shack

Still need to tidy up the cable clutter around the radio a bit but I’m liking the way things are set up so far. Have the radio sending audio into some surplus computer speakers, and headphones handy for playing on the radio without disturbing the rest of the house.

Still need to finish setting up the logging station. In the meantime, it’s paper logging.

Temporary ham shack

This is a very temporary set up of our two radios, a 2m Kenwood and the HF rig.

Temporary shack setup
Temporary shack setup

Until I make myself a better antenna, the 2m rig is running at 5W feeding one of my extra HT antennas (a Diamond SRH 77CA). Perhaps not ideal, but it works well enough to pick up the CARS repeater on the Yorktown (146.790 MHz). The radio has a few issues with the display operating intermittently or just displaying random LCD segments. It receives, I just may not know what frequency I’m receiving on. Hopefully it’s nothing more than just a loose connector to the control panel.

Soon the radios will move into their permanent corner of the office/shack. Then we’ll be cooking with fire!