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Author Topic: Building a new shack - literally  (Read 6938 times)
WS7X
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Posts: 25




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« on: March 14, 2013, 04:04:13 PM »

I have an opportunity to build almost what ever I want into the design of our next house.  So I'm soliciting ideas of what I should build in so to speak for cable entrance and for ground and lightening protection. 

I've heard I should put a ground rod at the closest place to my cable entrance and also tie it to the house's electric service ground.  I'm not sure I said that right.
Anything else you would do if you were building from scratch?

The shack will be in the basement this time and I'm worried about water coming in if I put a conduit from ground level to the basement.  How is that done and not cause issues? 

What size conduit should I use?  I was thinking 3 inch PCV at least.  Do I just have it installed through the foundation?  I'm thinking like a clothes dryer vent.

I'm having a dedicated 240 volt circuit put in.   But seems like there is more I should do.

What else would you do?
Thanks
Noel
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W5DPK
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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2013, 10:37:41 PM »

I have a little experience with what you about to do so hear my out.  Talk to your builder and foundation man and have him install a 4 inch shed 40 PVC pipe through the basement wall at a convenient place in the shack.Cap it so you do not get cement in it.  On the out side add a 90 and go up to the ground level and deadhead it about a foot above ground Add a 90 and a 45 to give yourself a weather head.  Now you can feed all you coax though the pipe and into the shack.  Your ground should be next to the pipe.  Have the electrician run 2 /230 volt runs and at least 2 20 amp 120 volt lines.  Drop your phone and cable lines along with internet into the room.  Give yourself plenty of light. Be sure to insulate the walls and ceiling for noise from and  noise transferred to the rest of the house..  Run a ground buss so you can easily ground everything. For a floor I found tile floor works best. Easy clean up and the solder will not stick.

Good Luck

Dennis
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KL0S
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Posts: 132




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« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2013, 04:33:42 PM »

Noel - while your electrician is running 110/220 VAC lines to your shack you should consider having him install a "pony panel" so that you can control all the power feeds to your shack. Besides making it easy to control the power it also lets someone kill the power in case there is an emergency. I did this in my new shack and the XYL knows exactly where to go and what to do if she finds me doing the "funky chicken" by grabbing the wrong wire at the workbench!  ;-)

Once you count up the number of outlets you think you need then multiply that by 10! Separate feeds for the ring around your radio desk/workbench will ensure you never overload any one circuit.

73 - Dino KL0S
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ONAIR
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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2013, 12:42:25 AM »

Will the shack be beneath a bedroom?  If so, you may want to put some soundproofing in so you won't disturb anyone if you do any late night rag chewing.
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WS7X
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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2013, 08:39:05 AM »

Got it one and all.   The responses basically confirm my way of thinking about how to do it.   I have always used a window for cable entry before.  But never had the shack below ground level before so that method wont work this time.  Basically, schedule 40 PVC through the foundation, to 1 foot above ground level and the 90 degree bend to make it more difficult for any unwanted intrusions.    Sounds simple enough, but of course the devil can sometimes be in the details.  I will be having an appropriate discussion with my builder and foundation person.   We are a month or so, before they pour anything so I'm hoping to get it decided relatively quickly. 

Oh and yes, the shack will be under the master bedroom.  I tried not to do that, but lost that battle during the design process.  So yes we're going to try and sound proof between the floors, but I dont have a lot of faith in that, so I expect she will regret having won that fight.  We will see, hi hi.   

Thanks again everyone.  And if you think of anything else I could or should have done, while I still can.  I really would appreciate an email directly or a response here.  I will check back from time to time.

73
Noel
WS7X
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AJ3O
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« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2013, 10:47:29 AM »

If this is a totally new QTH, look into Ufer grounding for the house. I would look at this closely myself if it were my building.
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WD8AJY
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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2013, 02:12:54 PM »

set every thing so you can get to the back of your equipment. makes it easier to hook up everything up or make changes.

Bob WD8AJY
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K8GU
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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2013, 05:44:57 AM »

Good suggestions mostly.  The best suggestion is to make it so your equipment is accessible from behind.  Because space is at a premium, I have lawn furniture stored behind my desk.  But, it's easy to move out of the way for major wiring tasks.  K1IR has photos of his operating desks which are on wheels so he can do wiring behind them.

I would avoid elbows in your conduits if you want to use anything other than flexible coax.  One way to get around this is to have a large outdoor junction box where you bring the (semi-)rigid cable up for grounding and lightning arrestors, as well as the conversion to small flexible cable.  Properly done, this also provides convenient and expansion-friendly weatherproofing as well.  KA9FOX has photos of his setup for a good example of how to do this.

Another thing you might consider is having an "amp room."  This keeps the roar of blowers out of your shack.  But, that depends on how serious you are!
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AA4PB
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2013, 08:25:02 AM »

Elbows are okay **IF** you use "swept 90s" so you don't have sharp turns. Electricians often use them for making turns that come up out of the ground. I have one at each end of my 100-foot underground run out to the tower and have never had any issues making the cable pulls.

At the exposed end(s) you can use two regular 90s to form an upside-down "U" to keep water out **but** don't use glue on them. Just slide them over the cables and into place.
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KB2WIG
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« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2013, 10:09:14 AM »

N,

Do try to do the  'single point ground'.
Do watt Dennis said r/e power. I'd suggest a seperate line for a workbench.
Do you have a 1/2 bath downstairs?
Do you have a small refrigerator available?
Do you have a wired phone, cable, internet.
Do put a lamp Under yer op desk and workbench.
Do you have heat or AC?
Do the sound proofing thing. My wife dislikes hetrodyne.
Do not put yer radios under an above floor sink/bathroom/toilet.
Do put in a wide door to the basement. Or an outside entrance.
Do you plan a tower? Pour the foundation for it when the house is built, even if its a future plan.

Do be do be do.


klc
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W0FM
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Posts: 2057




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« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2013, 11:40:01 AM »

I had the good fortune of designing and building my current home in 1996.  Keeping my hobby in mind, and knowing that I would be utilizing my attic for some number of antennas, I had the builder route all A/C, audio, telephone and alarm lines below the attic floor.  Also, the attic was designed void of any HVAC equipment or ductwork. 

The roof is a "hip truss" design, giving more than enough room to stand up in the attic.  The trusses were engineered to leave a 16'x16' clear space in the attic center.  The builder constructed two "catwalk" like ramps of 2x4's and plywood so I could easily maneuver to the outer-most ends of the attic.  I had almost the entire attic floor decked with plywood and a 4" PVC run from the attic floor down between walls to the "shack" location in the basement.    Simple to drop coax and control lines straight down the pipe into the shack wall. 

The roofing material is non-metallic.  I have one AC outlet in the attic with a couple of portable work lights.  The shack ceiling is sound insulated as mentioned by others and it works quite well.  A door in the finished radio room leads directly to a workbench and shop on the other side of the wall. 

I made sure my builder understood what I was trying to accomplish and the effort was certainly worthwhile.  The total "upcharge" for the extra attic construction was around $800.00.  I currently have a dozen antennas in the large attic.  Everything from a 3 ele 6M beam/rotor, multi band dipoles, discones, ground planes, AZ-EL satellite antennas, M2 Eggbeaters for 2M and 440, a 2M yagi, loops and end fed wires.

So, even if you are planning to have a couple nice towers outside, don't overlook your potential attic space.  There is a lot that can happen up there.  And, particularly when you can address it before any wood goes up.

Best of luck with your build.

73,

Terry, WØFM

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KB2FCV
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« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2013, 08:43:27 AM »

I run both heliax and 600 ohm feed line out of my wall. My shack is also in the basement which is partially underground. I used the Andrew heliax wall feed-thru kit for the coax.. It has never leaked a drop. For the 600 ohm feeder I used 2 pieces of either 1/2 or 3/4 PVC spaced properly. To keep water from coming in I angled it slightly down. To keep critters out I stuff a little sponge in there.. Again never a drop of water in..
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KD4LLA
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« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2013, 10:04:56 AM »

I have an opportunity to build almost what ever I want into the design of our next house.  So I'm soliciting ideas of what I should build in so to speak for cable entrance and for ground and lightening protection. 

The shack will be in the basement this time and I'm worried about water coming in if I put a conduit from ground level to the basement.  How is that done and not cause issues? 

What else would you do?
Thanks
Noel
First off I would not use concrete for the walls of the basement, use wood instead.  "Wood" basements are common here in southern MN. 

Besides, concrete is COLD.  No matter how you heat the room, it will need heat for you to be comfortable.  The other thing I would do is use in-floor hydronic heating.  I got a neighbor w/ in floor heat in his garage.  It is nice to walk in there during winter.
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W8JX
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« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2013, 08:08:13 AM »

I have an opportunity to build almost what ever I want into the design of our next house.  So I'm soliciting ideas of what I should build in so to speak for cable entrance and for ground and lightening protection.  

The shack will be in the basement this time and I'm worried about water coming in if I put a conduit from ground level to the basement.  How is that done and not cause issues?  

What else would you do?
Thanks
Noel
First off I would not use concrete for the walls of the basement, use wood instead.  "Wood" basements are common here in southern MN.  

Besides, concrete is COLD.  No matter how you heat the room, it will need heat for you to be comfortable.  The other thing I would do is use in-floor hydronic heating.  I got a neighbor w/ in floor heat in his garage.  It is nice to walk in there during winter.

If you place a layer of 5/8 or 3/4 in celutex insulation board over basement walls you will be amazed how much easier it it to heat and cool basement. You can even put paneling over it or drywall if you prefer.   Lowes and Home Depot carry it in 4 x 8 ft sheets of different thickness. Far better insulator than wood. It is about twice as effective per inch as Styrofoam and is foil faced too.

Also, my garage is fully insulated and has insulated overhead doors too and easy to heat and after a few days of heating from a cold start the floor heat soaks and is fine to even lay on even without floor heat.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2013, 08:12:03 AM by W8JX » Logged

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KD0REQ
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« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2013, 03:44:12 PM »

spray foam insulation is good for isolating the basement walls, and mineral wool batts in the floor joists with isolation channels for the drywall will take down noise between floors about as far as it will go.

I much prefer the thoughts of a junction box exit for your antenna cables, rather than any number of sweep ells as a weatherhead.  joints must be glued in PVC, otherwise water can and will get in.  I rewired some power stuff Dad put into the backyard three times before I decided (in estate sale) to redo it all to get rid of nagging device failures.  oh, looky here, none of the joints were glued!  sorta explained the inch of water in each of the waterproof device boxes.  cable exit out the bottom, use hole putty around the cables to keep mice and bugs out.

a heated floor in the basement shack should not cost more than $300 in supplies net, and installed cannot run you more than a grand even if you have a billionnaire do the physical work in his good tux.

enjoy the new home!
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