Amateur Radio Stuff: What’s Going On

It’s been quite a while since I mentioned mentioned amateur radio, but that’s been because of a lack of time, not a lack of interest. Things back in the radio room are about to get — interesting, as they say. I’m facing a situation that every amateur radio operator does sooner or later, having to tear down everything.

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It’s even worse than this looks here. There are two more desks crammed into that room, an old drafting table, three book cases, a work table… It’s bad.

The radio room is, to put it bluntly, a mess. There is equipment piled everywhere, test gear shoved onto book cases or in drawers, amplifiers and radios laying on the floor, piles of printouts of manuals, booklets, stacks of mystery electronics in those anti-static bags, drawers full of connectors and parts, coax jumpers, meters, microphones, tools three full sized computers, three printers, all my Raspberry Pi stuff. There are cables and wires snaking along behind the desks, running into holes in the floor. The operating position is too cramped and awkward. The old drafting table my solid state amp is parked on it is too tall and too small, the desk the radios are on is in poor condition. The list goes on and on.

So everything is going to get torn down, moved out of the room. The room is going to get a good cleaning, etc. Then I start trying to put everything back together.

What sparked this is that MrsGF found a huge old teacher’s desk, made out of solid oak, for $50 at St. Vinnie’s. MrsGF already has one of these and I’d been looking for one for a while. The finish isn’t very good and it has it’s share of scratches and scars, but it is rock solid, lots of big drawers, and is long, wide and deep. That is going to get moved in, some of the old, particle board crap I’ve been using is going to go away before it collapses under the weight of the equipment, and then I can start trying to put everything back together again.

If I can remember how to do it… Meters, jumpers, wires, coax. You’d think I’d know enough to label all that stuff, right? I mean I have a label maker laying right there. But no, of course I didn’t. Sigh…

Anyway, Monday is the day when I start all of this. It’s taken me three years to accumulate this mess and put together that rat’s nest of wiring behind the desks, so this could take a while…

 

5 thoughts on “Amateur Radio Stuff: What’s Going On

  1. Wow – me i live in a place where I really can’t build out a shack per se. Plus I’m on the outer edge stuff like DMR etc. Also a big QRP guy. See how far I can get on very little power. Now if I ever do get into I’ll build a big metal frame and then lay stainless or MDF on it.

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    • I’m fortunate enough to have a rather large house with space for things like that. If you do get around to building your own, I’d go with MDF rather than a metal top. It’s more forgiving if you drop something on it, and it would be a lot easier to replace than a metal top. I don’t think I’d want to do any kind of repair work on a metal surface. Dropped screws tend to bounce like crazy. And if you work on equipment that uses large caps or line voltages, having a metal workbench top could be dangerous if you have a lose wire or stray voltage.

      BTW: I love QRP! The most fun I had after I got my license was running about 3-5 watts into a vertical in the backyard and making contacts in Europe on PSK.

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  2. I’m planning on acquiring or building a desk/table in my basement for similar purposes. Would 24″ deep be enough, or would you recommend 36″ deep based on your experience with radio equipment?

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    • I’d go for the 36″ if you have the space for it. Some of my equipment is pretty large and I like to have space for my paper logbook (yes, I still use one of those), notepad, key, etc. right in front of the transceiver so I can watch the meters and waterfall display more easily. My current work bench is about 36″ deep so I have space for the test equipment behind whatever it is I’m working on.

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