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Author Topic: Table depth and shack rearrangement  (Read 11620 times)
N3QE
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« on: December 14, 2012, 06:59:38 PM »

Right now I have an approx 30" deep table I operate from. Holds screen, keyboard, trackball, rig, tuner, paddles, straight key, amp, power supply, some antenna and filter switchboxes. In the winter I like to get the old tube rigs out and I start stacking rigs on top of each other (usually the constraint is, antenna and keyer cables must reach each rig, so they end up stacked on top of each other.)

30" deep was about right when I had a big-ass CRT on the table. Now it's just a LCD.

Most of the gear sits at the back of the table and all sorts of clutter builds up in front. I'm pretty bad at letting clutter build up.

Thinking of rebuilding the operating position. 30" seems too deep. My modern rig is only about 11" deep. I think somehow the rig should be run by my left hand, and my keyer by my right hand, for top efficiency.

Deepest thing I have is the linear which is only 14" deep.

Rarely do I use pencil and paper while operating. Yes, sometimes. Almost always use computer logging for past couple of years.

Would it be ludicrous to have an operating position that was only 16" or so deep? Computer screen and keyboard at center, rig on left, key and paddle on right, and least touched stuff, the amp and the tuner, further off to the right. Best of all, less table space will stop me from letting clutter build up. Did I mention that I'm bad about letting clutter build up?

Computer screen is widescreen, which probably takes too much horizontal space. Maybe turn it sideways? Does anyone get rid of the stupid LCD monitor base and just mount it on a wood panel?

Anyone know of nice shacks along the lines I'm thinking, can link me to a pic? Would be nice to have a position that let me bring out the tube rigs in winter and kinda display them the rest of the year. I'd love to do a little work with lumber and plywood and come up with something this weekend. Out with the old, in with the new.

Tim N3QE
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 07:05:38 PM by N3QE » Logged
K8AC
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« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2012, 08:43:02 PM »

I wouldn't go with anything less than 30" deep.  There are plenty of rigs that are much deeper than what you have now and you may end up with one of those someday.  I have a couple of large screen LCDs and the one with the panadaptor window and logging program windows is mounted on an arm that extends from a pillar that's mounted on the rear edge of the desk.  That allows me to pull it forward even with the front of the transceiver and down against the top of the transceiver without the monitor being supported by the transceiver cabinet.  A 30" hollow core door makes a nice tabletop and can be cut to the length you want.  You can often find a damaged door at Lowes or Home Depot and take it home for a considerable discount. 
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K6AER
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« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2012, 09:07:55 PM »

Typically high end amplifiers are all over 17 inches deep. I would add a 10 inch shelf extension to the rear of the table for added room. I like at least 20 inches of operation room in front of the radio gear.
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N3QE
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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2012, 04:20:51 AM »

Seeing the responses... maybe I already have the ideal operating table, and the problem is me, letting clutter and junk build up on the table :-)
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K1CJS
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2012, 06:48:22 AM »

Like you, I also have a 30 inch operating bench, an old desk, which are usually a standard 30 inches deep.  And like you, I seem to have a constant buildup of 'stuff' on the front part of the desk--because I also use it as a work area for small things.  Like you, I thought it was too deep, so I got a half of a folding door (18 inches) at a local home center and set that up as an operating position.

It was the worst mistake I made.  Yes, I used a computer with an LCD monitor, but anytime I wanted to open a reference book or had to use a pencil and paper (diagramming or other stuff a computer couldn't easily be used for) I was stuck with not enough room.

About two months after I had that brainstorm, the desk became my operating bench once again--and the 18 inch door became a shelf with a six inch overhang in the back on top of it.  It's ten inches above the desktop, which leaves adaquate room for all but the largest rigs, and even though the desk is out further in the room, the top stays neat--because I can't put stuff on it and still see the underside of the shelf.

Unfortunately, the shelf now gathers the stuff that used to get put on the desk, but it works out well, since I can just grab the stuff I want to work on and put it back when I'm through--and it stays out of the way.  As to the gathering point for the junk--well, sometimes you just can't win!   Roll Eyes
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KB1NXE
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« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2012, 10:03:44 AM »

Remember, while the rig depth is 11 or so inches, you still need to run cables.  RG-58 and RG-8X size coax needs a minimum bend radius of 6".  RG-8 size more like 8".

My operating desk is 36" deep with a 17" shelf above it for accessories.  And those items on the shelf have only enough room to run all the interconnect cables behind them.  I cut holes in the rear of the shelf to run cables from one shelf to another.

There's 17+" of space in front of the rigs.  When you place a keyboard, key, mouse, and still need to reach controls, this is about the minimum.  Don't forget you need to support your wrist and arm to be comfortable while typing, keying, or writing. 

Keep the 30" desk.  Like they do in cities, it's easier to go up than spread out.
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W8ATA
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2012, 12:59:49 PM »

As a rule of thumb I like about 20" from the front edge of my table to the knobs on the the radios on the table level. That allows me to rest my elbow on the table while fine tuning. My improvement under way will have a rear sloping ramp on which my lowest level radios will rest to give me a more perpendicular line of sight to the front panel of the radios. In other words it will give me better ergonomics. You are getting good comments from others.

73,
Russ
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KC8YXA
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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2012, 07:57:21 PM »

You'll Be Sorry. Embarrassed
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VE3FMC
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« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2012, 04:43:34 AM »

My operating desk is 36 inches deep. My equipment sits back 17 inches from the front of the desk. That leaves room behind for cables, power bars etc etc (and there is a lot of etc back there  Grin)

I could move the equipment back further if I wanted but I find where it is now makes it easy to operate.

Main desk holds the following from right to left.
Switching PS, SP-2000, FT-950, those three pieces sit on a small wood shelf to elevate them off the desk by a couple of inches. I can place paper underneath that small shelf if need be.

Next is my 2 meter rig, Palstar tuner, two rotor controls and one rotor control that sits on the desk. All of that equipment sits on another small shelf and under that shelf sits a SignaLink USB and a K1EL Winkeyer.

Two keyboards sit on the desk top. My mic is boom mounted on another small wood shelf on the right side of my chair.

One shelf above the main desk holds the following from right to left
Computer tower, AL-80A, Wattmeter, ANC-4,two remote coax switches, Icom 7000, LDG tuner which has a small shelf supported on two sides with another CPU monitor on it. Switching power supply sits at the left hand side of that shelf. Main monitor sits on a small wood platform behind the wattmeter etc.

BTW I have no AC lights on when operating. I have LED strip lights that are stuck under the bottom of the shelf on the desk. They run the entire length of that shelf and are powered by the same PS that powers the FT-950. I put a small strip of wood on the front lip of the shelf to keep the lights from being too bright on my eyes. All of my equipment is well lit, and I get enough light off that strip light to see my keyboards.

You can see my desk etc here. http://www3.bell.net/rickpp/webdoc9.html

When those photos were taken the only lights on in the room were the LED strip lights I described. So you can see there is plenty of light to operate by.

Crowded? You bet and there is no room for clutter on the desktop. I have thought about rebuilding my operating setup since I retired in 1007. Every winter I say to myself "This is the winter you do this project" and every winter has passed by and not much has changed!

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K0RS
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« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2012, 07:44:30 PM »

Personally, I prefer a minimum of 36".  YMMV, as they say, but I operate CW and like to have my elbow on the desk when I use my key.  I find my sending is more accurate and of course there is less fatigue when your entire forearm is supported.  Many guys can use a key with only the edge of the palm of their hand on the desk and their forearm swinging around in free space.  I am not one of them.  I read years ago as a novice, (maybe in an ARRL publication?) that one should have their arm supported when sending with a key.  I took it to heart and now I'm stuck with it as sending that way has become second nature.  I even put a piece of foam or a towel under my arm to make the position more comfortable.  You can see my desk here:

https://sites.google.com/a/wildblue.net/k0rs/Home/station

The rigs have changed.  There is an Orion 2 in place of the TS-950SDX, and it is huge, especially the front to rear dimension!  So I don't regret having plenty of depth.
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VE3FMC
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« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2012, 04:45:36 AM »

Ladies and Gentlemen, K0RS, Larry shows us all what a ham shack operating desk should look like!

Larry, that is a great looking shack you have there. Although I am not a CW guy I love those display cases you have your bugs in. Nice, very nice.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

73, Rick VE3FMC
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VE3TMT
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« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2012, 12:27:51 PM »

Hi guys,

Do a search of my call and take a look at my operating position. My desk is a 30x60 as well. I previously used "computer" desks but they lack the necessary depth. The shelves housing the equipment were cut from 16x96" shelves available at Home Depot. I then had them cut the risers to size depending on the equipment. This leaves me about 16" for keyboard, mouse etc, and is ample room when working on a piece of equipment. I finally wall mounted the 21" monitor to free up some desk space and plan to upgrade this to a 24" very soon.

Max
VE3TMT
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KCJ9091
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« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2012, 04:48:51 PM »

16"-20"  does not leave much room under it  to stretch your legs or for the dog to sleep.
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VE3FMC
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« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2012, 06:26:47 AM »

Honestly, does any of us have a big enough operating desk?  Grin
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KB2WIG
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Posts: 119




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« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2012, 10:29:41 AM »

"  big enough operating desk "

No.   Most don't.   I don't.   But watt I did was to visit the Homely Despot. I purchased a sheet of poplar plywood eight by four feet. 'They' riped it so I had a piece 3 feet wide, and a piece 1 foot wide. Buy some good 2X4s construct a box frame, add legs and there you are.

 It looks somewhat like this - http://www.hammerzone.com/archives/workshop/bench/below20.html

I used the 1 foot piece for a bottom shelf and place it about 1 foot from the floor. This adds a bit of extra support and stiffens the whole structure. I also ran some 2X4's the 'long way' under the plywood sheet. I have a fluorescent tube under the desk. Makes a big difference when looking for stuff on the lower shelf or things dropped on the floor.

One might want to use steel pipe for legs or parts of the frame. The nice thing about the above design is that you could have the Despot do all the cutting for you.

klc
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