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Author Topic: Building shack any suggestions  (Read 16926 times)
W3END
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Posts: 16




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« on: April 09, 2011, 07:28:36 PM »

I am currently rebuilding my shack have a little more room so doing some remodeling. I have a plan but........there is always something that is usually missed after everything is back in place. Getting opinions from fellow hams on what they added, subtracted, modified, anything that anyone out there can think of before the final nails are hammered in. Have plenty of outlets, desk with a riser to house radios and accessories, lighting seems adequate, insulated ceiling and walls, grounds, coax entry is finished, so OK, anything that anyone can think of that is more or less a "gotta have"? Thanks and 73  Smiley
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KS2G
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Posts: 440




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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2011, 09:05:55 PM »

1 - Not a "gotta have" (and most shacks don't) but REALLY NICE to have -- a configuration in which your operating desk is not against a wall, but instead is positioned so that you can walk comfortably behind it to access the rear of the rigs, power cords, coax cables, etc.

2 - Clearly LABEL all those cords and cables --on both ends-- (I use paper "hang tags") so that you know what's connected where.

3 - Standardize the connectors on low-voltage (12V) power cords (e.g. Anderson Power Poles) and connect them to your power supply through a fused power strip (e.g. Rig Runner) rather that having multiple power cords connected to the binding posts.

4 - Document your set-up (e.g. block diagram of the "sequence" in which the rig is connected to the coax switch, swr meter, amplifier, dummy load, etc.)

5 - Have a place to keep all your user manuals handy ... easy to reach in clearly-labeled individual file-folders or some such.

73,
Mel - KS2G

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K3GM
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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2011, 09:58:07 PM »

Dedicated 120 and if you're planning to run a PA, 240 lines.
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K9KJM
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Posts: 2415




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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2011, 10:34:17 PM »

1 - Not a "gotta have" (and most shacks don't) but REALLY NICE to have -- a configuration in which your operating desk is not against a wall, but instead is positioned so that you can walk comfortably behind it to access the rear of the rigs, power cords, coax cables, etc.

2 - Clearly LABEL all those cords and cables --on both ends-- (I use paper "hang tags") so that you know what's connected where.

3 - Standardize the connectors on low-voltage (12V) power cords (e.g. Anderson Power Poles) and connect them to your power supply through a fused power strip (e.g. Rig Runner) rather that having multiple power cords connected to the binding posts.


4 - Document your set-up (e.g. block diagram of the "sequence" in which the rig is connected to the coax switch, swr meter, amplifier, dummy load, etc.)

5 - Have a place to keep all your user manuals handy ... easy to reach in clearly-labeled individual file-folders or some such.

73,
Mel - KS2G



Some of the best ideas I have seen in a long time!    I agree!
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KC8WUC
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Posts: 54




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« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2011, 06:08:55 AM »

In addition to the usual advice that is usually proffered here about single point grounds use of RF grounds, ground rods, and surge protection at the service panel, I'll add my two cents: instead of using a power strip, I use a Zero-Surge protector (essentially an isolation transformer), to which all my equipment at home is plugged into. This of course is in addition to all the aforementioned protective measures. The advice about labelling all your coax (at both ends) and leaving a space behind the desk may seem very common sense, but is     frequently overlooked (at one point by yours truly).

73,
Michael KC8WUC/WDE9344
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W3LK
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« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2011, 08:40:44 AM »

I second the idea of separate 120V circuits for the radios and accessories - at least two circuits - with nothing else on them. No lights, no fans, nothing not radio related.

I also suggest thet the circuits terminate in a quad box- - 4 120V outlets instead of the usual two. This eliminates (or at least cuts down on) the use of tap strips.

I would also suggest 20A circuits, instead of the usual residential 15A circuits. The difference in cost is negligable.
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NA0AA
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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2011, 09:14:07 PM »

Lighting!

I like undershelf task light on the desktop, and like to have several other lights so that I can have bright light for working on something, average light and low light - depending on mood and what I am doing.

Workbench:  I like a separate workbench for taking stuff apart, working on wires, etc.  I have a complete workbench with the little drawers full of bits and bobs, tool drawers and shelves with scope and power supply, etc.

That way, I can work on something, turn around and operate on a 'clean' station.

I wish I had room to be able to walk behind my radio desk, but as I keep taking radios off the desk, maybe I don't need it anymore.

If I were building a room from scratch, I'd build in a wall of really stout, extra deep bookcases with adjustable shelves - make 'em deep like 18" - that way you can store oversized books, plus display stuff like old equipment and the like, if you don't have enough books.  I have a couple of old AM BC receivers for example, that I listen to [seems right to listen to Baseball on the radio, preferably my 1933 Philco...]

You could have cabinets below or drawers as well.

A vented battery room for the power supply/chargers and deep cycle batteries, plus shelves for HT chargers and other power related stuff.  Put a big switch in here for the main power disconnect?

Room for a comfy chair.

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KB2WIG
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Posts: 121




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« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2011, 05:49:59 PM »

" I like undershelf task light on the desktop, and like to have several other lights so that I can have bright light for working on something, average light and low light - depending on mood and what I am doing."

What I do is put a fluorescent light fixture under my workbench and opp table. Makes things much nicer when I'm moving cable or searching for whatever I dropped. The shack lighting is on a separate ckt; nice to have light when a breaker trips.

Mel's ideas r/e documentation. It's saved me a few times. The paperwork in a hamateur operation is usually lacking

I have a small refrigerator and microwave in the basement shack.. Saves walking up and down the stairs. A guzunder is OK.

Eric has several nice points. Bookcases come in handy. Spacing behind the desk is nice... My shack is in the basement. My feed lines come across the basement ceiling through a partition wall and down the wall face and make a turn to the equipments. In the future they will feed through a panel so I can improve the lightning characteristics.  Ah, the comfey chair. You don't have to fear an inquisition, but your butt will be spending lots 'o time there.

Most newer rigs have appropriate filtering. Look around at the garage sales for a nice 'high fi' speaker. Just because the audio bandwidth is restricted does not mean that you have to listen to distorted audio through the rig's speaker. And you may just listen to AM opps or shortwave.
CO2 Fire extinguisher.
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K1CJS
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Posts: 6061




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« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2011, 07:30:39 AM »

You already have a desk, but if you didn't, or you would want to change it, I would get a desk that had at least four drawers.  One 'file cabinet' drawer, preferably with hanging file folder rails for your manuals, paperwork and other papers, and a few drawers for tools, parts and smaller equipment.  If your desk doesn't have drawers and you want to keep it, consider a file cabinet.  You can get cases for the tools and parts and store them in the file cabinet drawers.

Either way works well--AND has the advantages of keeping your shack looking better (if it is in the house, to please the XYL) and having things put away where YOU know where they are, but are out of sight of inquisitive young fingers.  (Of course, ONLY if there are any of those around!)
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N3JBH
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Posts: 2358




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« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2011, 03:17:01 PM »

I agree with W3LK run 20 amp 120 lines. I like having a filing cabinet near the desk to keep all your manuals and other items you might want to keep near by.
I also have a dummy load wired right in to my coax switch so i simply just flip the switch when tuning the amp. It also make a nice feature when you simply want to check your stuff with out needing to fumble around with wires.    Jeff
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W8JX
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« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2011, 03:22:30 PM »

Actually you want to run a 240 volt line to shack. You can then split it in a small sub panel and have 120 and 240 volts available for one run from main junction panel. .
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You can embrace new computer/tablet technology and change with it or cling to old fall far behind....
NO6L
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Posts: 179




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« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2011, 03:19:42 PM »

1 - Not a "gotta have" (and most shacks don't) but REALLY NICE to have -- a configuration in which your operating desk is not against a wall, but instead is positioned so that you can walk comfortably behind it to access the rear of the rigs, power cords, coax cables, etc.

Clearly one of the best ideas used in a shack. I've used it, space permitting, for over twenty years. However, you can have the best of both worlds. Use a regular "against the wall" bench, hinge one end from a stout base anchored to a stud inside the wall. If the bench is going to be a big one that you intend to put one or two "desktop" legal limit amps on, make the hinge base wide enough to span two studs, you don't want to rip a stud through the paneling or sheet-rock. Put "fixed" (non-castor) wheels on the far end and when you need access to the backside, unlock wheeled end from the wall and pull it out. If you own your own house or shack and the room it's in is a little small, like mine, this is the thing to do.

You could also put the whole affair on four heavy duty fixed wheels, lock it in one place against the wall to a stud within and simply role it away from the wall when access is needed. This works great with concrete and tile floors. On a carpet floor it would be difficult to get the lock/s to land exactly where they were before pulling away.

Think about it, just how much do you curse the day Amateur Radio was invented just because a fuse cap or small connector that needed to be accessed was way in the back, on the bottom of and against the wall of an "against the wall" bench? Please, save your sanity and use one of these ideas. Hi!

Chuck
NO6L
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N2GZ
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« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2013, 07:54:23 AM »

Others have suggested these, but I will put my vote in for them as well.

•Have access to the back of your equipment.
•Label all your cables and keep a hookup digram for them.
•Install a sub panel for your electrical outlets/lights.  This allows you to safely tag out outlets for safely working on upgrades or equipment repair in the future. You can also consider putting in a transfer switch and outside power inlet so you can run your station from a generator or battery+inverter.
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K1CJS
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Posts: 6061




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« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2013, 09:16:07 AM »

Concerning the bench/desk against the wall, if you're able to and can afford it, simply build a wall out from the present wall about three feet.  You can then cut openings in it to run your wiring from the various rigs you may have, and for added ventilation.  If the openings are cut just below the shelf above, they would be hardly noticeable.  The added advantage is that you can leave enough wire on the connectors to pull the individual rigs out to connect/disconnect them, and only have to go into the 'closet' to run new lines when needed.

The back wall of the closet can be used for storage hanging of cables, and if you build the wall out another foot, you can have shelving against the original wall to store parts and equipment.   

That kind of setup makes for a very neat and ordered shack--something even the XYL would appreciate.  She wouldn't even have to be embarrassed about anyone seeing your shack.  Just don't let her--or anyone else--see into the closet!   Grin
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KC0KEK
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« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2013, 05:04:13 PM »

Make sure that the desk is deep enough for modern rigs. My current shack is in a basement that the previous owner finished. It has a built-in desk that runs a good 15 feet along the wall. I think the wife was into crafts. Anyway, the desk was just fine for my TS-570, but when I got a 7700, I was surprised how suddenly shallow it was. For example, I can't rest my elbows on the desk while operating, and I have to keep the mic and stand off to the side. Not a huge problem, but it's good to avoid if you can.
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