The summer of 2002 witnessed big changes to the station layout. I made the decision to ‘come off’ 6m since I was unhappy with the VSWR on the 3 ele. beam. Basically, it’s position on the mast, with the coax for it and the other antennas running through it, resulted in the VSWR changing with beam-heading . . . . A far from ideal situation! So the 6m transverter (10m-6m) and the accompanying HF transverter (2m-10,15 and 20m) were stripped out. This prompted me to carry out a long planned refurbishment of the operating position . . . . . A job made easier by the fact that both children were on holiday at their Grandparent’s and I needed their bedrooms to store all the contents of the shack! This was a job that I had been planning and dreading for months!
Basically, the operating position has ‘evolved’ over the last 6 years at this QTH and the number of computers had risen from 1 to 3. My log and rig control is handled by a 200MHz Cyrix based machine. RTTY etc., high-speed CW is handled by a 100MHz AMD box and everything else in the shack is run on a 1GHz P3 machine. I wanted a shack where any one piece of equipment could be moved with the minimum of disturbance to the rest of the shack. We had also developed an earth-loop problem which had made it necessary to disconnect the IC725 from the MultyTerm and thus loose RTTY. I hoped that the plans I had for the revised wiring would resolve this issue. Rather than simply stacking equipment on top of equipment, I elected for a more ergonomic and logical layout arranged on a series of wall mounted shelves.
It took just under a week to accomplish the task . . . taking the opportunity to re-paint the walls and woodwork and generally brighten the place up! The revised layout has, as envisaged, resulted in much more desk space for making notes and an easier to maintain station. The top shelf comprises my 70cm, 23cm and 13cm transverters along with the 144MHz linear amplifier and currently redundant packet TNC (‘cos we don’t have DX Cluster access in Scotland!). The second shelf supports the monitor for the logging and rig-control PC, along with power meters, ATU and the two rotator controllers. The first shelf supports the IC725, home-brew 300W HF amplifier, IC260 and Timewave 599ZX DSP unit. I extended the back of the desk to support 2 of the 3 PSUs (the 50V PSU for the HF amp is under the desk), the transverter control unit, remote switch controller, MultyTerm and RF Speech Compressor.
Rather than having long wires from each box running back to the PSU, there is now a high-current LV ‘bus’ installed with convenient insertion points for the various pieces of equipment. The earthing has also been ‘rationalised’ in a similar way and has indeed resolved the problem as previously mentioned to the effect that we are now once again RTTY QRV.
11 coaxes, 2 rotator cables . . . and more!
Someone once likened it to the Starship Enterprise!