The first Radio Room at N1GY (I never liked the term Radio Shack) was built in place almost from the
first moment my wife and I moved into our home here in Florida. In the "Florida Room" on the side of our manufactured home,
I negotiated a "long term lease" for the south end of the area. Into the space we fit a desk for the operating position and
several book cases to hold all the stuff I read and sometimes write.
The station equipment included an Icom IC-706 MkIIG, a Yaesu FT-747GX as HF backup, two Alinco DR-150T's and
a Yaesu FT-7800R. Power was supplied to all radios by an Astron RS-35M PS. That Radio Room is now history. Elswhere on
the web site I have documented the reason for our change of address, suffice it to say that the change was traumatic in the
extreme. We are now set up in our new home with a real inside room for the radio gear.
Moving usually means downsizing in some way and the radio room was subject to the same rules as everything
else. I am happy with the results but I still miss my old operating position a bit. The new radio room has space for only
2 radios, and since the DR-150s both are stored awaiting repair, it seemed like a good time to mount only the IC-706 MkIIG
and the FT-7800. A mini-console for power distrubution has been created and room found for most of the binders and books I
had in the old space. The pictures above show the North and South views of the room which is about 9 1/2' x 11 1/2'. Along
with the change in location came a switch to Verizon FiOs with my ISP. That seems to be working OK so far. The VHF/UHF antennas
have been mounted on the roof, and as soon as I find a decent vertical antenna to replace the GAP Eagle I plan to be back
on HF again. There is nothing wrong with the Eagle, but the address change meant that the Eagle would have to be mounted in
the middle of the front lawn. My XYL said no and I do agree with her on that. A nice flagpole antenna will look much nicer
and so the search is on. Both the laptop and the desktop made the trip in fine shape and all of the file cabinets survived
as well. Some of the stuff I have collected over the years had to be culled from the pile, but with the price of new looseleaf
binders these days, I am happy to have a few empty ones to fill with new stuff.
The new radio room has a small problem with RFI between the desktop and the radios but as long as I keep the
speakers turned off and use a headset for PC sound all is OK. UPDATE: The old desktop PC has been replaced with a shiny new
laptop and I no longer have any RFI problems between the PC and my radios at all.
This is one of the latest additions to my radio room. This and the next two photos detail the additions to the shelf
space and the creation of a proper work area to the room. Before, I usually built my projects right at the operating position,
but one too many incidents between a hot soldering iron and my computer keyboard convinced me to create a proper work bench
area for the construction of new projects. This bookshelf sits between the laptop carrel/bookcase and the entry to the radio
room. It is high enough that no one under 6' need worry about conking their head.
This is the new work area with an updated (July 23, 2011) picture of the main work area. As you can see, I did get
a flat panel TV that is mounted on what little wall space remains in the room, to the right side of the work area. Small parts
are stored in recycled baby food containers and the hand tools are mounted on magnetic racks at the back of the bench. 110
VAC and 12 VDC are available at the bench and the file cabinets under the bench are used to hold larger tools and other supplies.
UPDATE: The old picture of the workbench has been replaced with one I took July 23, 2011. My children gave me the flat panel
TV for Christmas and so I now have my whole workbench top available to work on. The scope has been moved to a rolling cart
|My new (to me) oscilloscope and the cart I built for it.
|Side view of the scope and cart.
This L-shaped shelf fits between the new work bench and the book cases over the operating position. It just about maxes
out the available wall space for shelves in the room. Between floor mounted book cases and wall mounted ones, I have pretty
much used all the available wall space in the room. In fact, the parts and tool storage of the work bench covers the one window
in the room completely. There is still work to do in these photos. The shelves and bench have to be painted yet and I am going
to cover the work bench top in laminate. The cost so far has been economical, less than $100 for all the shelves and the work
area. I picked up the 4' flourescent fixture above the work bench for less than $5 at a thrift store and wired the switch
and power myself.
This shows my Chevy Blazer set up for HF/VHF/UHFat a local park. The mast collapses down to fit inside the Blazer. Here it is set up as a 22 foot mast, supporting my "Octopus Antenna. It can also be used as an NVIS antenna at about
12 feet above ground level. The base is a home made wood and steel unit. The Blazer's front tire
pins the base in place. The mast is 6 telescoping sections of aluminum tube.
The "Octopus Antenna covers 75, 40, 20 and 15 meters with the aid of an LDG RT-11 auto tuner in the SUV. The vertical antenna
above the HF antenna is a 2 meter and 70 centimeter modified J-Pole inside a PVC radome. Note: this mast has recently (8-27-11)
been replaced with a stronger and thicker mast and a new tilt mechanism attached to the existing under-tire base plate. You
can see the details on the Tilt-Base and Mast page on this site.
This is the first photo of my new "flagpole". Right now that is all it is, beautiful to be sure, but just a flagpole. Now
that most of the residents (snowbirds) of my MHP have gone home, the modifications have begun. First, I added four
radials in varying lengths around the base of the flagpole and extending as far as I can run them just below the sod. Then
the addition of an Icom AH-4 tuner/coupler at the base of the antenna, I mean flagpole. Finally, a trench was dug from
the base of the flagpole to the house so that I could bury the coax, the control cable and a ground wire to connect
the ground rod at the base of the flagpole to the station ground and the safety ground for the house. The coax is of the buryable
type, as is the control cable and the ground wire (#6 stranded copper). By the time the snowbirds return in the late fall,
all will be as before, except that I will have a totally disguised 10 through 80 antenna in plain sight. My wife and I even
planted flowers around the base to hide any visible wires from the casual observer. A suitable cover has been placed
over and around the base to make the installation seamless and good looking. The flagpole was originally a 22 foot boat mast
kindly donated to me by a fellow ham, Jim, KE4INM. The finial on top of the mast was created with a copper toilet tank float
and a little bit of wire to bring the total length to 23 feet. That is the minimum reccomended length according to Icom to
allow 10 through 80 meter operation. The base is also grounded to an 8 foot copperclad ground rod driven about 10 inches away
from the base. The custom fabricated base extend 2.5 feet into the ground and is secured in concrete. The base has a tilt-over
design of my own that allows me to drop the flagpole/antenna when a hurricane is forecast. The slight tilt that is apparent
in the photo may be the effect of the wind, but more likely is just due to the lack of talent in the photographer (me) and
a slight tilt of the camera. UPDATE: My article about this antenna (flagpole) appeared in the December 2010 issue
of QST Magazine. There, you will find full details on the construction and erection of this totally disguised HF antenna.
Here is a view of the backside of the tilt base. The silvery bar with all the machine screws is a 15 position ground
bus bar normally used in an electric service panel. Here it is used to secure the ends of all the radials. The 2 holes just
above that are two of the four holes in the mount which will secure the Icom AH-4 to the base. You can see a slightly better
view of the back of the mount in the next photo. Just behind those, you can see the 1/2" ID nuts that are welded to the
tiltable portion of the mount. There are 2 more at the upper end of the tilt plate that keep the flagpole in an upright position.
The pole is held to the tilt plate with 3" muffler clamp U-bolts and cradles. The plate itself is 1/4" plate steel. The rest
of the mount is made of 1/8" x 2" steel angle, firmly welded together by a local welding company.
This picture shows a little more detail about the base mount for the "flagpole". We have added mulch around the
flowers, and added the concrete edging around the flower bed. With the enclosure placed around the base, all of
the metal works are hidden, so the focus will be on the flowers and not on the electronic bits which will be safely out
of sight. The radials are buried just under the sod and mulch and the coax and control cables are buried in a trench
about 9 to 12 inches deep from the mount to the foundation of the house.
Here is a closeup of the finial atop the flagpole. I guess the wind has bent over the small whip at the very top. The
next time I drop the pole I will straighten it out but I doubt that it makes any difference in the performance of the antenna.
You can see the short wire that connects the copper finial to the aluminum mast creating an overall length of 23 feet.