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Tuesday 7 August 2018

Plans to improve the shack

Having been in the current QTH for a bit over a year now I have not turned attention to sorting out a bigger desk for the shack as the current metal desk is very cramped indeed.

Firstly of course is how big I want the desk, the wall on which the desk is currently on has both double sockets for the room on it, the set in use is under the existing desk and the other set by the cupboard and once supplied power to my now disused and power hungry web server, my plan is to utilise that space, though the metal desk will be retained for soldering work.

I plan to build the radios into the desk, with fans circulating air for them, all powered by a suitable power supply (a "fredintheshed" type power supply if you like, all in a safe enclosure with a switch to shut it down all properly wired in), the front panel removable and the radios held in with bolts suited to the screw holes on the side of them.

The computer monitor will be fixed in place on the desk using the VESA mount holes on the rear panel of the monitor, space will be provided either side to accommodate a widescreen monitor, that and some CPU and RAM upgrades are planned for the computer though not in the short term, the radios will be placed to the right of the computer closest to the window and radiator in order to run the coaxial cables to antennas.

As the radios will be fitted inside the desk (possibly excluding the QYT KT-8900D as the front panel is an obscure shape, the speakers will need to be brought out, cheap speakers can be got off the Internet for a few pounds or salvaged from dead equipment (my homebrew extension speaker with blue LEDs will not be stripped down) as well as headphone jacks in line to allow me to plug in headphones for private listening, all neatly labelled as to which radio they go to, and should I swap out the CRT SS9900 for a SS6900 (or any of the AT5555 variants) I may also require to bring out a microphone connector as well.

Going back to the radio power supply, the unit I refer to as the "fredintheshed" power supply is actually a cheap switched-mode PSU capable of delivering up to 33A and can adjust up to the 13.8VDC a radio expects using a trimmer pot, and according to "fredintheshed" they can be linked together to produce higher amperages though I have not explored that part and my existing radios don't pull anything close to 33A (the SS9900 is at most around 12A), though I may wish to run other 12-volt devices off this unit the enclosure will be fitted with a couple of cigarette lighter sockets, as well as a feed out to the radios capable of handling the current, the radios as fitted (Grant II, SS9900 and KT-8900D) are well within the supply's spec however extra 12-volt outputs are always handy and naturally everything gets a fuse, my Grant 2 and my KT-8900D will have modification to the power lead to fuse both sides of the power lead, I am progressively changing fuses on units to the blade type automotive fuses (though my Leixen VV-898 has a mini-blade fuse) as these are more readily available than the glass fuses and quicker to replace.

I have not as yet got an antenna up though I have a plan for this, as the outside wall of this building is white (and it is not difficult to paint brackets and poles in this colour) and the Diamond X-50 is a white antenna I plan to put one up, with consent from the landlord of course, and if I can use white coax to feed it if low-loss coax is avaiable in white, this should happen after the National Hamfest if I can obtain the antenna then, for HF the trees will have to do but this is still a work in progress, having an X-50 up low down (bracket close to window) will generally not be noticed and the surrounding trees should obscure it), however the antenna plans will have to come after the desk because it is the desk that will dictate where the feedlines will go (the X-50 will be fed all being well by RG-213 or some other low-loss coax plugged into the QYT KT-8900D, hopefully pager interference will be low (there was none on the homebrew dipole at this location last time I tried however I did notice it today when attempting to enter the 2-meter FM activity contest).

Though my woodworking skills are not brilliant I have faith I can pull this off and build a desk suitable for the spacious shack that I now have, complete with a custom power supply and a space to run coax and the radios built in and out of the way allowing the desk to be used as a desk, designs are to be drawn up soon, and I'll post an update as soon as I can.

And on closing I did try to enter the 2-meter FM activity contest from home but heard no stations as I believe my antenna may have been too low, if I am free next month I may give it a go again however I will be well into preparing for the National Hamfest so may be busy

73 de 2E0EIJ

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