Given that I'm supposed to be a photographer of some sort, amazingly inept photos of my radio shack
My lovely YL bought the leather chair for me as a birthday present a couple of days ago... I love it, numb buttocks are no more and I can pretend I'm important. I have banned far more people from our forums since sitting in this chair ;-)
Oh, the clocks... yeah a bit naff , something 'Carry on Cruising' about them but it's good to see a proper clock face. I don't bother about local or UTC, I know that anyway. Picked the clocks up for about £10 for the 3... not ebay this time.
Where's the Kenwood TS-711E ? It's now indoors, where I'm allowed one plug-in the wall radio. So, unlike HF, if you work me on 2m, you are unlikely to hear me scream as a spider appears on my desk.
I must admit, I do like the TS-711E it comes from a time when Kenwood had a beautiful line-up of radios (R-5000, TS-440s, TS-811E). It's a good solid radio, big buttons and a decent size.... you're not going to misplace it in the shack, unlike most of these miniture marvels of today. It's how a radio should look ... even my Icom IC-756 Pro III doesn't compare to my eyes and taste.
A Sommerkamp/Yaesu FC-102 tuner is found, as has a good old, reliable and heavy Welz SWR/Pwr meter. Maybe it's just me but I always thought those brushed aluminium Welz meters looked really good back in the early 80's and still do. Icom PS-125 is added, A cheap find on ebay...again, who in the right mind would buy one new Icom PSU? Even at less than half price, it's still 50% more than it's really worth. Drake R8E receiver having a second life, with a surprisingly sensitive VHF module fitted.
The Old faithful Cobwebb, June 2008- July 2008, 186 DXCC
To the left the aerials. The G3TPW Cobwebb 20-10m (6m at a pinch). If you are unfamiliar with the design, it's basically just squared horizontal dipoles for each band. It's no magic antenna but it is efficient, full 1/2 wave dipoles so no traps/coils, and for the footprint I don't think you can do much better.
Atop is the ubiquitous 'white stick' in the form of a 2m/70cm Comet GP9 3x 5/8ths on 2m and 8x 5/8ths on 70cm colinear. Not quite ot the build standard of a Diamond Antenna, but close.
As the keen eyed may have observed, there's been a
bit of a change in the shack of late. Out goes my trusty
IC-756 Pro III, and in comes the large and heavy IC-7700
Joining the new transceiver is the Palstar AT2K tuner, which should help in allowing me to cover some of the band extremities. The microphone is now the Heil PR-781, as I could never get my old SM-20 to sound good, no matter what in-radio adjustments I made. Initial reports indicate the audio from my station with the PR-781 is a league above what I produced before. Currently set at Bass -1, treble +3, with ssb AF spread of 200-2800Khz.
Out goes the old SP-23 external speaker, again it was always a bit lightweight and tinny, where-as it's replacement, the SP-20 is far larger and produces a more pleasing sound, but with the ability to resolve speech from very weak signal if need be.
Yep, the clocks have gone, but not too far, they are now on a side wall, as they were just taking up too much desk real estate. Although the big IC-7700 looks a bit out on a limb on top, it is actually at a perfect operating height for me, the display at eye level and the vfo knob at just the right height for my hands, as I'm an 'elbow on desk' operator. The hefty SP-20 speaker is also a nice fit.
I had designs on an external lcd monitor for the 7700, but upon reflection, it would serve no real purpose as the display on the radio is large enough. If I pursue the built-in psk31 and rtty features in the future, I may revise that... but for now, I'll do without what would have only been 'eye candy'.
I do have a second mini keyboard for the IC-7700, but more for easy voice memory sending than anything else.
Oh, and a glimpse of the ACOM 1000 over to the side, although not really a new addition to the shack.
Update to my house 'shack', a few months ago I purchased a Kenwood TS-2000. Impulse 'buy it now' job on ebay, I got it within minutes of it being listed at a very good price. As it turns out, it was an immaculate example, and a very late serial number as well. OK, it no beauty to look at but not quite as bad in the flesh as you'd imagine from photos. It's quite compact, about the same footprint as that of my TS-711E, albeit I have to have an exteernal psu unlke the 711E.
I like the TS-2000, it's surprisingly easy to use and just beats the TS-711E in resolving weak signals on 2m, although it's marginal. I really only bought if for 2m and 70cm. It's 'jack of all trades but master of none', but it is master of 'jack of all trades' transceivers ;-)
An antenna update to the shack this time. The Cobwebb being phased out in favour of the TGM MQ-26SR 20-6m beam. Mounted on a 10m Spiderbeam heavy aluminium duty push-up mast, with a lightweight Yaesu G-450. I can indeed push this lot up... but it is easier to get slightly higher than the bottom section and actually pull it up, and it's also a big help having glovers with good rubber grip on the palms.
I hope to add the 'director' kit to this antenna in the future, although I'm not sure how much of an improvement that will really make. In choosing the TGM, I went for it's ability on the WARC bands, otherwise I would've been looking at the ubiquitous Cushcraft MA-5B.
The results from the TGM antenna so far have been a significant improvement on all bands over the Cobwebb (great compact antenna that it is), and results on 10m are in a totally different league. 8 new dxcc in less than a week!
A bit of change in the shack, my old shelf unit had to go, and it went in about an hour or so of advertising over at ML&S Lynchline I had outgrown it a bit. I found a cheap alternative in a secondhand, but unopened, 'Ikea Beno tv bench on castors'. Naturally I didn't bother with the castors, which also keeps the height of it to ideal, rather than too high.
Oddly enough, this is the first piece of Ikea I have owned/built.
Click below for live weather from my QTH in Watford, Hertfordshire
Anyone reading my blog page recently will know that my shack has undergone, in my opinion, some substantial refurbishment. The end of the brick shed that my HF station lives has now been partitioned off, with insulated walls on all sides, as well as an insulated ceiling...and of course, a door!
The cement floor now has underlay and a carpet
on top, so gone are the days of whizzing around
on my leather chair ...often involuntary whizzing!