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Author Topic: Your thoughts??  (Read 3414 times)

Posts: 3

« on: July 29, 2002, 09:43:03 AM »

Been a ham about 4 years now, and it's time to look at making some sense of all the gear I'm beginning to accumulate.

I started with an O'Sullivan computer desk that continues to serve well for the primary operating position. It has only required a couple of minor modifications to accommodate a wide array of HF/VHF and supporting gear. One or two additional simple mods should nicely accommodate my Alpha 374A.

Over the past couple of years, I have aquired some classic Collins and Drake gear. It's getting to the place where my comrades are calling me a "curator"  

I was fortunate enough to fine equipment in fine condition, and believe that these pieces should be operated and not just stored in anticipation of their increasing value. I DO consider myself to be the keeper of a bit of our heritage.

I've been able to accommodate one of the stations at a time on some bookcases in the shack, but this doesn't prove to be a great arrangemet. What would be your suggestions concerning benchwork? Specifically, dimensions. I assume that desk height for the first level would work nicely, but perhaps you have a different idea. Double deck, certainly. Triple? The usable floor of the room is about 8X12. The most logical wall area is about 6 feet on the width of the room, and the length of the perpendicular wall.

I have the luxury of a spare 50A 220V circuit that I've thought of bringing into the shack on a surface mount sub-panel, using conduit to the outlets for maximum flexibility.

I already have a 50A 12V supply, and have just converted to PowerPoles, using the RigRunner from WestMountain Radio. This beats the heck out of the ?FJ stuff I was using. How about your ideas on incorporating some battery backup into the 12V system?

Cable trays or other cable management systems?

I'm on the second floor, electrical and RF ground systems.

Help me get creative. Sure, I don't have any money, so we're free to shoot the moon. Heck, the government does it all the time  

Let's see what you come up with.
Bill in Richmond, VA

Posts: 21764

« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2002, 02:12:55 PM »

I've assembled an awful lot of hamshacks over the years, and can offer only the following as the best advice you're ever going to receive:

-Don't triple stack equipment by using high shelves, unless the gear is for "show only," and you don't ever intend to use the higher stuff.  If you can't play with it while seated in a comfortable chair, it all becomes paperweights.

-No matter how you install your gear, make the rear panels of all the gear, including all the interconnecting wiring, highly accessible.  You can space everything away from a wall; or put it all on sliding tables/benches to you can slide the whole station out to service it from behind; or you can make a section of wall behind the gear "removable," so you can get at the rear panels from a closet or another room.  All sorts of ways to accomplish this; but if you don't accomplish it, you'll eventually wish you had.

-I use, and recommend, a bench height of 28-30" (28" if you're short, 30" if you're tall) for the main station, and a floating shelf 24" deep mounted 16-18" above that bench, to hold everything.  By "floating," I mean shelving that is secured in place away from the wall behind it, not right up against the wall.  Reason: For cabling behind the equipment, and interconnects between lower-tier gear and upper-tier gear.

-Never put anything very heavy on the shelves; use the shelves for gear that weighs <40 lbs per chassis, so when you slide it out for servicing, you can grab it without breaking your back.  Leave the heavier stuff on the main bench surfaces.

-Only "stack" equipment (directly on top of each other, with the only spacing provided by rubber feet and such) that is solid-state and runs cool.  Most (not all) solid-state gear is cooled by heatsinks on or near the rear panels, so as long as those have reasonable exposure to air, or better still, airflow provided by cooling fans, you're in good shape.  Stacking tube-type equipment might look nice but isn't advisable.  (Exception is some amplifiers that vent only to the sides or rear and have no "topside" venting at all.  Some Alpha amps are like this, and others might be, too.)




Posts: 9930

« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2003, 09:04:27 PM »

Think about using some of those shelving units you can buy at the Home Depot with the white finish and the little peg that go into the holes so you can adjust the shelves. These can be bought is many sizes and are easy to change.

Here is a thought for a desk, use a couple of cleats ( a couple of 2x2's a couple feet long or so screwed into the studs), in a corner, one on each wall horizontaly, and a filing cabinet or a fancy leg for the front. You use a door ( interior door is fine) and screw it horizontally  to the cleats which hold up the other end and the back and the front on this end is held up by either the cabinet or a fancy leg or even the edge of another desk or something. The little 2 inch hole that you usually put the door handle on is where you drop all the wires through.  Nice desk cheep and it is smoother than a piece of plywood.

Use the $6.00 power strips to turn on and off your equipment. These are easier to replace than the power switch on the rig. ( FT101's are notorious for this).

Mount your power supply on a board on the floor or on a shelf below the desk (You just turn it on and off, no need to take up good desk space). Put your hf rig and linear on the desk top ( easiest to tune in this position) and then go up to the first shelf with 2 meter fm stuff, solid state amps, and other things you just turn on and off. A tuner and antenna switches would be nice if you mount them where you can easily reach them.

If you use a door for the main desk you can slide back and forth about 6 feet to reach stuff, if you use a comfortable roller mounted desk chair. Just don't use the bathroom door, the wife will get mad.

I like to use a piece of 4 inch PVC pipe through the wall with a turned down elbow on the outside to bring in the cables and wires. I shoot the foam in a can around the PVC and then stuff in a rag into the extra space in the center of 4 inch pipe to keep the cold and the bugs out. Don't forget about hanging a piece of large pvc pipe under the eves to run you coax in ( looks neet and is cheep).

Make sure that you have a wall you can reach to hang the qsl cards and awards on that you can reach. It sucks to have to climb on a chair and reach over the gear to hand your WAS....

hope this helps

73 and good dx

tom N6AJR  
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