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Author Topic: Framing Done, now want some thoughts.  (Read 2741 times)
VA3DJL
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Posts: 15




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« on: December 29, 2005, 07:01:16 PM »

I would like everyone's thoughts as to the "must haves" of a completely new ham shack.  Here's the status of where I am at and what I am dealing with.


*  My shack is in the basement of a older home (40's).
*  The shack is 12x11.  
*  I have only completed the framing thus far.
*  The basement has concrete block walls on two of the walls of the shack.  I have studded these walls and plan on installing insulation.
*  Floor is concrete also.  I plan on installing a sub-floor and then carpet.  Any advice on the sub-floor?  *  The only concern with any ideas is that the ceiling is only 6' 8".
*  I will run dedicated 120 and 220 lines to the shack from the box.  
*  I will run cat5, phone and video lines
*  I will run some type of "conduit" for feedlines, rotor etc
*  Any thoughts on lighting?

Am I missing something?  Any "I wish I would have done that or could do that!"  This obviously my prime time to do it before I start laying subfloor and drywall.

Thanks for everyone's opinon.

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HA5RXZ
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Posts: 380




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« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2005, 03:05:40 AM »

1) As the ceiling is only 6ft 8ins away from a concrete floor I'd forget about a subfloor. Two collisions between your head and the ceiling joists will convince you of this. Speak to a flooring contractor and see what insulated flooring you can get.

2) Install some sort of alarm to detect water. Flooding in a basement full of ham radio gear ain't pretty.

3) As most modern flourescent lights have electronic ballasts they're going to be a problem. Consider using either standard 110v filament bulbs or the 12v 'spotlight' bulbs with a transformer type PSU.

4) Fire extinguisher and emergency cutout switch by the door.

5) After checking for service pipes consider driving a ground rod horizontally through your shack wall and into the earth surrounding your house. Note that this may affect insulation or waterproofing, check with a builder.

HA5RXZ
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NA4IT
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Posts: 892


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« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2005, 08:11:01 AM »

Extra heavy grounding system with copper strapping going outside to a good ground, SO-239 type feedthroughs for each caox (read install extras!) into a bracket grounded to the system, feedlines going to one side and coax jumpers to equipment with the quick connects to the other side.

Equipment grounds going to the same centralized point with a way to disconnect (read unhook and move away).

Unhook ALL during storms / or not in the shack.
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VA3DJL
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Posts: 15




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« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2005, 11:10:09 AM »

That brings up another good question.  Does anyone have a clean/profesional way of doing feedline through the drywall?  I always just used 2-3" PVC and terminated it in the shack with a round plate cover like you would use for a 220 plug.  Thanks for the opinon's so far... keep them coming!
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N3BIF
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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2005, 09:16:15 PM »

Plan on supplemental heating at your feet for those cold Ontario winters as well as ventilation to remove heat being generated by  equipment. I also used a big piece of cloth as a wall-covering hung loosely behind the desk and covering the myriad of wires which can easily be raised to get at everything, looks nicer than  plain block
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N8AUC
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Posts: 80




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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2006, 07:31:10 AM »

I built a room in the basement a couple of years ago to house my hamshack.

The supplemental heating idea is a good one. Especially for a basement shack. It gets cold down there in January.
 
As for a clean way to feed lines through drywall, here's what I did. Take one of those plastic outlet boxes, the kind you nail to a stud. Cut the back out of the box, then nail it to the stud where you want the feedlines to enter. Cut a hole in the drywall like you would if you were putting an electrical outlet in that box. Then get one of the blank cover plates, the ones that do not have the cutouts in them for a switch or a duplex recepticle. You can either mount feedthroughs to that plate and mount the plate to the box, or just let the cable come in through the opening, and not worry about it. The nice part about that, is if you ever move, you can just install a blank cover plate over the opening. I found all the stuff to do this at Home Depot.

73 de N8AUC
Eric
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12983




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« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2006, 01:31:33 PM »

Home Depot also has the orange colored low voltage boxes that already have the backs removed.
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K7AAT
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Posts: 417




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« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2006, 11:25:15 AM »


   Most everyone here has already give very good suggestions.  I would add that you ought to have emergency lighting in that basement room, in case the power goes out.  If you are running off 12V battery system, then a 12volt bulb in a standard lamp hooked upt to battery would work fine.  At least get one of those little wall plug lights that automatically turns on if the power at the outlet goes off.


    Ed   K7AAT
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N2IK
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Posts: 220




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« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2006, 12:45:27 PM »

While you are planning all else, you might consider what your options will be for operating your station in absence of normal power to assist in meergency communications and to fend off boredom in nuisance power outages. Since so much of the gear runs on 13.8 volts DC you might want to think about some sealed batteries and chargers or large powersupplies to float them from. See the new ARRL Emergency Power book for some good ideas.

73 de Walt N2IK
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KZ1X
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Posts: 3229




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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2006, 07:11:17 AM »

Sounds exactly like what I did in my own basement.

I went with a toluene-vehicle epoxy paint on the floor in one room (the electronics shop) and in the adjacent room (a guest bedroom), I devised a clever sub-floor that only took 1.75" of vertical height.  The shop floor paint has worn very well over the past 12 years.

The shallow drop ceiling allows me 100% access to the drywall above it, so I can run new lines into the wall should I ever need to do so.

All RF cables are 1/2" FSJ4 flex-type hard line.  The cables end in long-barrel N females, and these in turn simply terminate in metal wallplates I drilled for the purpose.  So I have a row of N jacks along the wall.  Looks more like a commercial radio station or cell site.  Any cable can be used for any frequency or power level.

AC power is via many wall plates, all at the same 3' height at the coax jacks.  This allows for easy bench power, and benches can be moved around also.  Each dual-gang cluster has its own 20A breaker.  There is one 20A 240V outlet.

Lighting is a combination of 120V halogen, 120V fluorescent, and 12V halogen.  Undercabinet lights are 12V cold-cathode tubes, of the sort the computer hobby guys use to light up their PC boxes.

More 2/0 welding cable is used for the DC distribution from the adjacent (outdoor access) closet, where the three 200 amp-hour AGM cells are.

The outside ground is three 10' rods, spaced 2 yards apart and bonded with copper clamps and 2/0 cable, and then tied to the radio area inside with a 2" copper strap and to the house ground with the same 2/0 cable.  At one of the rods, the condensate line from the air conditioning (which maybe you don't have!) is arranged to drip on the adjacent earth.  In the spring summer and fall, this line generates about 2 gallons or so per day.
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WB2TPS
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Posts: 32




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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2006, 04:05:39 PM »

HD has some plastic "inspection ports" They are about 4X6 inches and make a clean hole in sheetrock for coax runs.  (mine is near the floor)

Why a sub-floor? I use carpet sold for wet areas with a water resistant padding.  It is installed righton the concrete.

For lighting I use high-hats with incandescent lamps.  Great overhead lights and no noise.

The ceiling is acoustical tile with an inch or so clearance to the beams. (tight, but can be done)

For desks I went to office/depot/Max and bought modular office furniture.  Sturdy with attractive laminate tops.  I added drawers and under shelves for power supplies, etc.

I have never found commercial "computer or office" shelves adequate for Ham Radio, so I built my own and stained and finished them to match the laminate tops.

Run a copper pipe along the underside of the desk(s) for a ground terminal.

Lots of AC outlets!  I used a few in the wall for the heavy loads (110 and 220VAC) and made my own junction boxes with brute force RF filters.  The junction boxes are attached to the underside back of the modular desks.

any questions?

Jim

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N3ZKP
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Posts: 2008




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« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2006, 02:32:16 PM »

You may want to talk to some flooring people before you make a decision on the floor. Concrete floors are cold in winter in areas such as your and suplimental heat won't do anything for conducted cold.

I would think some form of insulation between the slab and the floor covering will be a necessity.

73,

Lon - N3ZKP
Baltimore, Maryland
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WB2TPS
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Posts: 32




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« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2006, 03:09:02 PM »

The carpet and padding is the insulation.  A basement floor is below the frost line in many places.

With the outside temperature 35 degrees. The room is 69 and the carpeted floor is 62.  In the workshop the concrete floor is 55.

Jim
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VA3DJL
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Posts: 15




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« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2006, 07:17:35 PM »

Thank you everyone for all the thoughts, opinons and advice.  

I just finished the lighting, I went with recessed lighting that take incandecent bulbs to keep the noise down.  I've elected to hang drywall on the ceiling.  As far as the flooring, I still have not finalized my decision.  I will talk with a flooring guy soon, but am still interested in what everyone here thinks.  Jim, how do you affix the pad/carpet directly to the concrete?  I went with one of the 3x5 plastic access boxes as someone suggested
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WB2TPS
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Posts: 32




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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2006, 12:59:02 PM »

The carpet is installed with tackless strips around the border of the room.  They just whack'em into the concrete. (they might have used adhesive in a few areas)
The padding is laid and the carpet stretched. Just like you would install it on a wood floor.

The first carpet in the playroom was down for 15 years. The second and shack carpet about five years.  It has been subject to all the usual spills and dirt any carpet is subject to.
A wet/dry vacuum is handy for the occasional water problem.

Jim
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