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Author Topic: Back to basics  (Read 2311 times)
N8TI
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« on: February 20, 2012, 12:08:07 PM »

Hello everyone. I thought that some of you may be interested in how I went "back to basics" with an operating position in my bedroom closet.

I have a ham station in my basement.  I have my main rig there, hooked up to the quad on my tower as well as a couple other antennas. Stacked about, but virtually never used are three complete boat anchor setups. I had a backup rig, my IC 706, that I hardly used.  My problem was that to come home from work it was "socially unacceptable" to go down to the basement to work ham radio. As a result, I was just not getting on the air.

 So, I decided to empty out one of the closets in the bedroom and set the IC 706 up there with a simple antenna I figured that working CW with the headphones would not disturb anyone.

Well, I did empty out the closet, used some of the closet racks to hold the power supply, the rig, my log books, manuals, some antenna books and put in one of the end tables to hold the keys. No computer. Because we have cats, I cannot leave the closet open, as cats, if you let them at your stuff,  are more destructive than Seal Team Six.  As a result, I brought in one of those cloth outdoor folding chairs that you are supposed to bring with you to watch fireworks or when you are camping.  I have a favorite one that is comfortable for me and it fits into the closet. Power is via an extension cord that is unplugged and placed into the closet when not operating.

I have been having a blast getting my antenna set up (I started with a long wire, and then went to a fan dipole I made up), and working one or two guys every night by calling "CQ" on 80 meters.  I am alternating between one of my straight keys and my bug. Don't even have an electronic keyer.

I only spend about 30 minutes a night on the rig and am just running the 100 watts that the rig puts out.  Nothing fancy, as my IC 706 does not even have DSP, only a 500 hz CW filter. The coax just comes through the window which we leave cracked all the time for fresh air anyway. I am using the LDG 125 watt capacity tuner that I only used with the IC 706, when I did use that rig.

The important thing is that I am on the air making QSO's and, like the old fashion hams, just rag chewing on CW with other guys around the U.S. At night on 80 meters you can cover a lot of States. Plus, it's just about pounding brass learning about the other guy's antenna, seeing how your signal is getting out and making new friends. That's what Ham Radio is all about.

I made a few contacts during the ARRL DX contest last weekend, just to see if my antenna was getting out and if making a contact with New Zealand is any indication of how the new antenna works, (on 10 meters, at least), then I'm happy. I could hear everything that showed up on the DX Cluster, although it took me a while to break the pileups. As we all know, a dipole gets you 80 or 90% of the performance of a modest tower setup.

I did get on the main station and listened for a while and the FT-1000D with the quad certainly did a better job than my closet station.  However, I did not try to set up a "contest station."  I  set up a "closet station."

I am thinking about bringing up one of the boat anchor stations so I finally get to use them. Might even try to work some AM at times when the other members of the household are watching something on TV.

The bottom line is that I thought that some of you might have a "backup rig" that you don't use that much.  Take an unused space in your house somewhere, close to where you actually spend a fair percentage of your time,  run some coax out the nearest window to a simple antenna and you may be on the air a lot more than you used to be.  Nothing fancy, just back to basics hamming. 

Joe N8TI
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K1CJS
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2012, 11:02:20 AM »

Just one question, Joe.  If you find that you feel better up there, why not just move your station up to the closet.  That way, you're not limited.  You can always leave a coax access panel downstairs and leave a larger 'work and experiment' station down there, but you would have access to your antennas and other rigs where you would enjoy them more.

In any event, glad you found a way to make it easier on yourself and the family.  73!
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VE3FMC
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2012, 07:32:47 PM »

Just one question, Joe.  If you find that you feel better up there, why not just move your station up to the closet.  That way, you're not limited.  You can always leave a coax access panel downstairs and leave a larger 'work and experiment' station down there, but you would have access to your antennas and other rigs where you would enjoy them more.

In any event, glad you found a way to make it easier on yourself and the family.  73!

Unless Joe has done some seriously down sizing since my last visit his station would not fit in a closet. Unless it was a 10X12 walk in closet!
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K1CJS
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2012, 09:06:22 AM »

I didn't mean his entire ham shack, I meant just extend the antenna connections and move the rig(s) that he uses most.  Again, to have access to his antennas and the like from that closet instead of being limited to the one makeshift antenna he is now using.  73!
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WD4ELG
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« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2012, 12:03:16 PM »

Why not access the basement station remotely.  There are lots of great remote-access programs (I use Radmin, but there are free ones as well), and the latency should be absolute minimum on the home network from wherever Joe connects to his wireless signal.

Just a thought

Mark Lunday
WD4ELG
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W1JKA
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« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2012, 02:19:28 PM »

      As well as myself I'm sure many XYL's would like your article (out of sight out of mind ),  unfortunatley until my XYL decides  on which size she is going to be from season to season her clothing collection takes priority to any would be available closet space.  Ouch honey,you did'nt have to slap me on the back of my head.                   
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VE3FMC
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2012, 06:21:48 PM »

There isn't enough room in our bedroom closet to put a chair  Cheesy

Years ago when I was operating "Another Band" I had a little closet setup. It was out of sight out of mind.

Now I have my own room in the basement, and I have a 32 inch HD TV in here, two computers, my rigs, some golf stuff, fishing rods, old BC radios. It's packed!
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