It’s time for the 2012 Colorado QSO Party and likewise, it’s time to officially open my new ham shack, home office, podcast studio and general man cave that I’ve been talking about for so long.
One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2012 was to finish the basement ham shack and home office. This was a project that began eons ago (or certainly felt like it), but actually I began framing the walls for the new space in 2008. While the framing stage went fairly quickly, not a lot of work was done between mid 2009 and 2011.
My wife has always been supportive of my hobbies, especially amateur radio. I believe she could sense my frustration in finding the motivation to finish the new space. Some of the delays had centered around decisions on sheetrock (drywall) or paneling or ???. We began making decisions and started the sheetrock installation phase in February.
In the February timeframe I began looking down the road to select a date and goal to work towards. Let me state that I realize the work I’ve done (even including the framing from 200 all could have been completed in a very short time. Perhaps two people could have done everything in a short span of just 2-3 weeks working each day for several hours. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that luxury. Sure I could have hired a carpenter, but I wanted to do the work myself.
Anyway, knowing we would still continue to pace ourselves, I figured setting the goal date to be in the new space for the Colorado QSO Party weekend would be safe.
Of course, as winter turned into Spring and Spring turned into Summer and watching Memorial Day come and go, then Field Day come and go and 4th of July come and go….WHOA!!!! I woke up one day and it was August and inside of 30 days. Would I make it? Could I make it? What if I didn’t make it?
Of course, nothing bad would happen if I didn’t make my goal. My New Year’s Resolution was to finish the basement in 2012, the Colorado QSO Party date was somewhat self-imposed or should I say self-inflicted. In any event, if I wasn’t in the new shack…I could certainly still operate in the contest from my old shack location. I mean it works…right? Also, I didn’t want to just move a chair, a desk and a radio into the new shack for 24 hours. It was either all-the-way or no way.
Thankfully, things really began to click into place in August. On August 1st (T-Minus 30 days) the sheetrock work was done, the texturing, sanding etc. was done, the paint on the walls and ceiling was dry, the floor was down, the cabinets were in place and the countertop was on the way. I merely had just a few hours of finish carpentry to complete before the dust creation process was 100% complete. Once I no longer need to cut trim in the basement area, I could safely begin bringing in my computers and radios into the new space.
So what’s left to do? Before I answer that question…let’s take a short walk down memory lane through pictures. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of the plain concrete walls, so just use your imagination.
Framed walls before sheetrock – February 2012
Measure twice, cut once – February 2012
Everything I needed to know to do this I learned in Kindergarten. Just cut along the line. – February 2012
Getting there… – March 2012
Walls done – March 2012
It’ll need a ceiling right? – April 2012
You’ll have to trust me that this is a picture of the finished/textured wall. – May 2012
Warp Speed. From June 1 through end of July we managed to paint ceiling, walls, put down flooring and hang over 20 wall cabinets and drawer cabinets. – August 2012
Let me pause for a second as I’m getting dizzy. I worked mostly without any major plans. I had an idea in my head, but it wasn’t until we reached the cabinet stage that I actually attempted to create some form of plan or layout. I felt this was necessary so we could really get an idea of how the cabinets, countertop and space would all work. The image below was done before flooring was complete and before cabinets were installed. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any models of ham radios in the design software to place on the counter surface.
Now let’s look at the finished product. This is the brand new ham shack for KD0BIK.
In the above picture (from right to left) I have my Jetstream JTPS45 power supply which provides all of my 12v DC power. It connects into a West Mountain Radio RigRunner (mounted below desk). I also use the PWRGate which provides auto-switching from power supply to a 12v marine deep cycle battery.
Just above the Jetstream power supply I have an old style TV antenna rotator. This provides a little direction to my 20m hamstick dipole. Next is the Yaesu FT-950 HF radio. I use this radio primarily for SSB ops.
In the center below the two 21” LCD flat panel screens, I have the MFJ-4724 Desktop/Remote Antenna/Transceiver switch. This allows me to switch between either my 20m hamstick dipole or my Hustler 6BTV antenna to any of my HF rigs in the shack. No more having to move coax connections. YAY!!!!
Moving on around, next to the left 21” LCD I have the Yaesu FT-897 HF/VHF/UHF All mode transceiver. I use this rig primarily for all data modes. Sitting just below the 897 is the West Mountain Radio RIGBlaster Pro.
Just to the left is the MFJ Intellituner which I use with the FT-897 and sitting on top of the tuner is the Elecraft KX3. The KX3 is just posing for the picture. It’s main role is portable QRP and SOTA operations outside of the ham shack. Sitting just behind the KX3 (and might be difficult to see) is the IMD Meter by KK7UQ.
Finally, the radio to the far left is the Yaesu FT-857 which I keep mounted in a TAC-COMM TRC-1 metal enclosure and mainly mobile HF use. But at the moment it is connected to my V/UHF antenna and what I use for local V/UHF Ops and Packet. Just below the 857 is the Kantronics KPC-3+. Just above the 857 are two of the three HT’s I own. The Yaesu VX-8 is used on the trail and next to it is the only piece of ICOM equipment I own. It is the IC-92AD for D-STAR operations.
This has been an incredible project spanning many years. For much of the past six months I have worked for a few hours each weekend. Now it is time to sit back and enjoy the new ham shack.
Thank you for reading my blog and I hope it continues to inspire you.
Until next time…
73 de KD0BIK