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Author Topic: Setting up a station with limit space  (Read 647 times)

Posts: 72

« on: December 16, 2009, 09:12:44 PM »

I want to set up a HF station but I have limited space to do it in.  The basement of the house is too damp and a mess, so I am limited to my office which is small and crowded.  So any ideas for a movable station would be appreciated.  The biggest problem is the antenna.  I do not own the house so I can not start punching holes.  There are no trees to run a wire antenna.  Has anyone used one of the apartment antennas with any luck?  if so Which one?


Posts: 232

« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2009, 02:00:48 AM »

First consider the rig. One of the "self contained" ones that has HF + VHF like the IC-706 gets you everything in a single box and the power can be out of the way. The rig can even be away/hidden to the extent you have the length and a way to route the seperation cable so just the face plate is "center stage". Run it at 1/4 or 1/3 or 1/2 power and you'll reduce TVI and RF expossure issues and also be able to better run it off a SAL or smaller (aka cheaper) power supply.

My Buddipole was great. Once I got past the learning curve and got the hang of it I set it up on the patio pretty quickly and it worked all the bands. A mobile whip dipole can also work. Put quick disconnects on each of them so you can dissassemble it quickly/easily. Use 2 or 3 sections of 5 ft cheap TV mast and bungie cord it to whatever and it's up/down in a minute or 2 and stored in a closet when not in use. This works better if you're only interested in a band or 2. 40 meters is usually open to somewhere so it's a good choice. 20 or 15 will offer some DX opportunities but are not open as often as 40. 30 is a great band for lower power and although not as populated it is often open and usually easier for a lower power guy to have nice QSOs.

For a while I had a 33 foot wire from the antenna connection up the wall and around the ceiling and a 33 foot wire off the ground lug around the baseboard. A 40 meter "bent vertical" with a counterpoise. Worked poorly but I did make Qs and have some fun. HOWEVER THE COUNTERPOISE AND ANTENNA WILL BOTH HAVE HIGH VOLTAGE -- ESPECIALLY AT THE ENDS -- BE CAREFUL YOU DON'T TOUCH THE WIRE AND IT DOESN'T ARC TO ANYTHING AND START A FIRE.

Some have used a mobile antenna on their vehicle in the drive and run coax to it when used.

Some have used a suitcase or briefcase or gun case or storage box and monted the gear in it to allow quick set up on a kitchen table and storage out of the way when not hamming.

With lower power and simpler gear you'll do better on CW than on SSB and you'll need less "stuff/expense" if you skip the digital modes for a while. They are great fun and PSK does well with low power -- but the laptop or modem is extra gear and cables and hook up each time and can about double the cost of a lower priced xcvr.

Mainly do what you can do. Work who you can work. Enjoy the Qs you do have and in time you will have better opportunities for better hamming.

John  W4FID

Posts: 530

« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2009, 09:22:02 AM »

Yaesu FT-450AT HF/6m Rig

Astron 35M Power supply

MFJ Hamstick Dipole - $49 - single band antenna - versions 6m - 75m. 6m-20 decent performance. Total length for HF bands no more than 16ft. Easy up/down
Masting set up how you need.

MFJ through window type uhf/239 feed coax into

RG8X / 213 / RG8 coax. Pick.

Icom 706mkIIg is going out of production, future parts?

73 K1WJ David

Posts: 5093

« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2009, 10:13:50 AM »

Couple of tricks:

1) Small rig with power supply under the desk.
2) Build your own furniture to fit the available space.
3) "Removable vertical" with quick-disconnect feedline and radials.
4) In the longer term, move. Real estate prices are down and if you don't have to sell your current place it's often a buyer's market.

The person who is in the best situation to buy a house is the one who doesn't *have to* buy.

Get your stuff in order, read up on how to buy a place, keep an eye on and similar, plus the RE pages of the newspaper, to become educated on what homes cost in your area, where the unrestricted houses are, etc.

73 es GL de Jim, N2EY

Posts: 1843


« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2009, 10:34:32 AM »

Flex 3000

If you can put up an antenna i.e no covenants then one of the popular verticals like the Hustler 5btv or the Butternut

The window feed through described above or make your own from a 1x3 and a 2" barrel UHF connector

500 to 1000ft of radial wire #14 solid from the Home Depot spread out around the base of the vertical

Some RG8X coax

A switching power supply like the Astron SS-30

The F3K can be stuck in a shelf and does not need to take up any desk space at all.  It also allows many programs like PSK31 programs or logging programs or CW programs to be hooked up to the radio by using software instead of wires and modules etc

Basically you add a Key, a Mic and some headphones a power supply and an ant and you have a very deluxe basic radio station and have some radio fun!!  

This presumes you have a computer already in your office.  Best results with a core 2 duo

73  W9OY
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