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Author Topic: Radio Station Setup (Console Building)  (Read 4283 times)

Posts: 1


« on: December 25, 2003, 03:18:59 PM »

I have a mess of wire and cable behind my radios. Everything is mounted on some MDF shelving, sitting on top of my desk. I want to build some "Custom" radio and equipment shelf units on top of my desk, and keep a 6-8" partition, or fake wall, behind the radios so all the cable will be hidden. My coax travels straight out the side of the desk, through the exterior wall and up to whatever antennas. My ground is a 3/4" copper pipe that mounted on a 2x6 behind the desk, on the wall. It has a 4AWG stranded ground wire going about 11 feet to a ground rod outside the shack. All inside radios and chassis are soldered to the copper pipe as well.

Any ideas or tricks from hams that built the 'ultimate control console" or at least lessons learned? I'm taking vacation in late Januar just to dedicate two weeks to this rebuild. (My XYL said if I start it, and put all my crap in the livingroom, I better finish it unless I want to see my stuff in a garage sale . . .)
So- Success and minimal 'down time' is the key. Let me know  . . .

Loren B. Cobb / KD7PLU


Posts: 21837

« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2003, 01:35:38 PM »

Hard to do this without pictures...but here are a few small tips, learned from relocating my own station, which has been rather large at times, sixteen times to sixteen different homes over a period of about thirty years:

-If possible, leave a walk space *behind* all the gear, so you can service it or rearrange it easily.

-Don't ever locate anything that requires adjustment or tuning so that it's out of reach when you're sitting down in your operating chair.  (I've seen hams locate commonly-used gear on a shelf five feet above the floor and then wonder why operating is such a chore.)

-Arrange equipment according to air flow requirements, for anything that generates heat.  Leave manufacturer-recommended "breathing space" around equipment...almost all equipment operator/user manuals do recommend minimum required breathing space, and tell you where it needs to be.  If some equipment has no such suggestions, use common sense!

-One great way to eliminate the coax cable jungle/jumble is to use *remote* switches (relays in sealed enclosures, activated by simple station switches and interconnected by a thin, flexible control wire) and leave all the cables outside, or in a closet, or someplace they can't bother you.

-You get a lot more desk/operating surface space when you eliminate "desk microphones."  I think desk mikes are one of the worst possible ideas for hams who don't have unlimited space -- they take up valuable room better used for other items.  Use boom mikes, boom headsets, or even hand mikes instead.  One of my happiest days in ham radio was when I sold every "desk mike" I owned!

-If you operate CW, place key paddles comfortably back on the operating surface, at the location you hand would naturally fall if you place your "sending arm" elbow on the desktop in the most comfortable positon available.  This usually means placing paddles pretty far "back" on the desktop, towards the back end, far away from the front edge of the desk/surface.

-If you use a station computer to assist with operating/logging, place its keyboard in front of you at the correct height above the floor for fast, stress-free typing.  Any good "touch typist" (I'm typing 120 wpm as I do this) will tell you the keyboard should be no higher nor no lower than the height of your elbows when seated comfortably.  If your desktop is too high for this, get a slide-out keyboard drawer that corrects the height.  If your desktop is too low, get a keyboard "riser" (every PC store sells them) to elevate it slightly.

-And, if you use a station computer, arrange its monitor to face you straight on when you're operating, so you don't have to turn your head to see it.

Happy re-arranging!



Posts: 184

« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2004, 11:45:53 AM »

In my last house I built a 3 ft. false wall out from the real basement wall where all cables between things ran.  It afforded me the opportunity to run stuff all the way across the bench, which was L shaped, and the false wall was also, with the cable going in one port, around the wall, supported by L brackets on 2x4's which were waist high around the rear of the false wall.  I used two sets of 2x4's 12 inches apart, top layer was communications and control cable, bottom layer was RF.  I also had two overhead lights so I could see what I was doing back there.  My operating bench was in the short part of the L with the Functional Shop in the long part of the L.  Currently I have a two level computer table for the Operating station, and a smaller L shaped Functional Shop table.
Good Luck
Steve W4CNG
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