Yes, “operation ham shack” has been completed. I’m not sure if I’ve really blogged much about this subject, but I have talked about it on my podcast from time to time. What am I talking about when I say “operation ham shack”?
The area that consists of my ham shack is a multi-purpose area in my basement. In this relatively small space, I have my ham shack, my podcast studio and my home office. All of this is area less than 6 x 10. It is truly a small, cramped space that I have grown to hate. I find it hard to get excited about spending any time in my shack.
Now I know there are people less fortunate than I am. I know I’m lucky in the fact that I have a lot of available space. Part of the issue has been an on-going construction project I’ve been working on. I started this project over 2 years ago and basically consists of finishing out a portion of my basement (approx. size is 24 x 80). This area consists of a laundry room and the rest (approx. 24 x 24) was going to be turned into my hamshack, office and just general “man cave”. I completed the framing in about 3-4 months and I’ve just stalled on doing the drywall. The fault rests squarely on my shoulders. Let me repeat….this is ALL MY FAULT!
I haven’t given up on the basement project. Due to work schedule, my wife and I have decided to have the drywall and drywall finishing done by a contractor. It’s not that I can’t do the drywall…it’s just the time it would take me versus the time it will take someone else (especially if they have a crew) will be so different. As I’m sure you know, the drywall process (especially the finishing process) is incredibly messy. The mess is unavoidable, but due to my available time to work on the project (weekends and evenings) the messy stage could take weeks, perhaps months. A contractor will come in and do it and be done in a matter of days. Anyway….the plan is to still have this done. But we have a few other projects we want to have completed prior to this.
So what am I doing? 50% of the basement is already finished as we had this done just after we purchased the house in 2004. The size of this area is approx. 24 x 60 or so. Most of this consists of storage and if I’m honest about it…it consists of un-organized storage. The plan is to better organize the “junk” in this space and clear out an area to become the new ham shack.
I was going to construct a desk/bench, but my wife had a much better idea and her idea saved me many hours of time. She found on CraigsList someone who was selling two 8 foot folding plastic tables. These tables retail for over $100 each at places like Costco and Sam’s Club. Needless to say, I picked my two up for less than 50% of what new would have cost me. Best of all, they are functional and saved me a lot of time. I truly do have the best wife. Thank you, Farah.
I setup the two tables in an “L” and positioned in the corner of the basement. I was able to get my maps up on the wall and even framed some of the wallpaper I’ve collected over the past couple of years. My operating position is in the corner of the “L” and within easy reach I have my pride and joy, HF rig the Yaesu FT-950. This rig is truly amazing. I’ve worked DX with this radio that I know I would have never been able to work with my FT-897. But the FT-897 is not collecting dust. It’s dedicated to the digital modes like PSK31 and RTTY. While I don’t operate the two rigs simultaneous, it does come in handy to have them separated. I can have the FT-897 running WSPR on the 6BTV vertical and listen to 20m on the FT-950 from the hamstick dipole.
In addition to this space serving as my ham shack, it also provides a dedicated space for my podcast recording equipment. I wanted to have an area free of clutter to setup my audio mixer and Heil PR40 microphone. This area is perfect for this setup. I can record an episode of The Practical Amateur Radio Podcast and then swing right over to my computer to edit and upload to the web. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to my podcast, please check it out. You may download The Practical Amateur Radio Podcast through iTunes or listen direct from the podcast website by visiting MyAmateurRadio.com.
Finally, this space also serves as my home office setup. I work from home a few times per month. This new area allows me plenty of space to setup my laptop. I have a land-line telephone and can also direct connect to my home network when I want to use our VoIP based telephone system at work.
While a ham shack is anywhere you have a spot to setup a ham radio, do yourself a favor and pick an area where you have plenty of room and can spread out. You’ll enjoy it…I promise.
Until next time,