Hamshack Upgrades

Introduction

My shack has been constantly evolving since I got into ham radio. It originally started as a radio on a deck with coax passing through a laundry room window. It then changed to a radio sitting next to my computer. The coax was still going through the same window. Now, I have a desk and permanent spot for everything. I looked up a lot of shack pictures. They ranged from simple and clean to unorganized and messy. My goal was to have a clean setup without needing to remove any equipment. Right now, I have everything I need on a desk with coax passing through the window next to the desk.

Shack as of July 10th. There has only been two changes since this photo was taken. Both changes were minimal.

Yes, the cable management is a nightmare. That will be improved over the coming weeks as I get in Velcro straps to organize everything. Same with the coax. I plan to get an MFJ window passthrough but need to plan out routes and cut coax to length. I’ll cover each item and the purpose so you can see how I fit so much in so little space.

Top Left Shelf – HT Shelf

This shelf contains all of my current HTs. From left to right, it is the Kenwood TH-D74, possibly the greatest HT. Next to that is the Alinco DJ-G7T, which is used for satellites and 1.2 GHz. Next is my wife’s Yaesu FT-70DR, one of the best bang-for-buck radios on the market. Finally is my Yaesu FT3DR. All are in quick charging stands. In front of my FT3DR is the Yaesu SSM-BT10, the bluetooth headset for the FT3DR and the biggest waste of money in ham radio. All have aftermarket Diamond antennas. In the picture, the Kenwood has the stock rubber duck but has been changed over to the Diamond SRH320A. This antenna was not featured in my antenna test since it arrived after.

Middle Shelf – Misc Shelf

This is the miscellaneous shelf. It contains some odds and ends. In the back is my DVMega Pi-Star hotspot. Yes, it also has a Diamond antenna. I don’t know the full range but plan to test it soon. I was able to get a response from about 1/2 mile away using a 25 W mobile radio. Originally, it was on the first floor next to my WiFi hotspot but has moved up since completing my shack. I have it running off an LG USB cable plugged into the surge protector. Next to it is a Linksys WRT54GL router used for Broadband Hamnet. The firmware has been flashed. I swapped the antennas for two high gain 7dBi Linksys antennas. I have another node downstairs plugged into my WiFi router so this is internet connected. Like most cities, I am the only router. The club has a half dozen of these ready to go but only use them for Field Day. I talked to the club, and there is no plan to expand add hotspots, which is a shame. I will keep mine running anyway. In the front is my Hamshack Hotline phone. It is a free service for hams that connects an IP phone to a network so you can call other hams. My number is 5513. If you dial 5513, this phone rings. It is running off WiFi but can be plugged into the Broadband Hamnet router.

Bottom Shelf

This only has my R&L Electronics RLPS30M, which is a garbage power supply. I should have purchased an MFJ or anything else besides this. It works but causes problems. It is also loud. When everything was next to my gaming computer, it was louder than my gaming PC with ten fans. It was $50, which is about $20 more than it is worth.

Main Shelf

On this shelf is my Vibroplex bug. I was debating what kind of key to get. I liked bugs and was kind of set on getting one. As a watch collector, I had the ultimate debate. Do I buy vintage and inherit the history or do I buy new and establish that history? I purchased a new one, which is okay. The brass plates are not as good of quality as the vintage designs. The mechanical parts are superior with a ruby used as a bearing. As long as it is cared for, this should outlast me. Since then, I have purchased a vintage key and plan to restore it. I picked up the vintage bug at a hamfest. I’ve always wanted a key manufactured on Broadway in NYC. Next to my key is my laptop. It is an HP. It works great and was under $600. The only issue I have is I wish they had a non-touchscreen model that had a little more processor. Other than that, it is amazing. I use it for digital modes and and web browsing. Behind that is my X1C5 APRS iGate. It is a Chinese 1 W portable iGate that I have connected to a roll up j-pole antenna. It is plugged in using USB mini to my power supply. It is setup as send and receive, but the location of my house, height of the antenna, and low power reduces its range to the neighborhood. On the right side it my Yaesu FT-991A. This is a good radio, not amazing. It does what I need it to do. I just with it had full duplex on VHF/UHF for satellites. I use the Yaesu MH-31 handmic, which is the non-DTMF version. The DTMF version is terrible quality, so I stopped using it. When working DX or if it is noisy in the neighborhood, I use the Heil Sound Pro 7, which are okay. They are overpriced, and I would not recommend them at all. I use the DX Engineering yellow foot switch, which it great. It is the only foot switch I’ve used but would replace it with the same model if anything happened to it.

Outside

For my antennas, I use a Diamond X50A vertical at 35 ft for VHF/UHF. It works well. I have no complaints. It is the biggest single section antenna that Diamond makes. For HF, I use the MyAntenna EFHW-4010K, which can support up to 1 kW of power. I run 100 W so I get nowhere near the maximum capacity for it. For coax, I use DX Engineering LMR-400MAX for VHF/UHF and MyAntenna RG8X for HF. I plan to replace the RG8X with DX Engineering RG-8/U.

Wrap Up

That is a quick tour of my shack. Nothing impressive. There will be changes in the future. I will post updates when that happens. Thank you for reading. If you have any suggestions of what to add, leave a comment or let me know on social media.

73, Adam

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