Shack Update – Aren’t We There Yet?

I wish….

I just realized I haven’t published a blog update regarding my new basement ham shack, home office, podcast studio and man-cave in some time.  Actually, I believe it was sometime in May just after I finished the texture phase.

Of course, I’ve been using my other forms of new media to keep everyone informed.  I’ve talked about my progress on PARP.  PARP is my weekly and monthly amateur radio podcast.  PARP + is a weekly review of all the on-air (and some off-air gatherings) taking place in the amateur radio community.  My regular version of PARP is monthly and includes a educational topic such as SOTA, JT-65, Preparedness, How to get your license etc.  Please visit to learn more about the practical amateur radio podcast.

According to the countdown clock located on, we are getting closer and closer to the big day.  That is the Colorado QSO Party and the day I planned to be in the new ham shack.  Will it happen????

The last time I blogged about my ham shack progress, I mentioned having just finished the texture phase.  Boy what a mess that was.  After texture came the painting phase for both the ceiling and the walls.  The paint went on with ease and was completed in two weekends. 

It was around the time I wrapped up the paint phase (mid June) when we started making decisions on flooring and cabinets.  The cabinets were ordered via Home Depot and their Hampton Bay line of custom cabinetry.  I wanted to make sure I ordered the cabinets earlier enough so they would arrive in Denver just after the flooring was finished. 

The flooring we selected for the basement area is TrafficMaster Allure from Home Depot.  It goes down in strips measuring 6 x 36 inches and is advertised as the easiest floor to install. 

I need to stop for a minute just to say…I haven’t always worked in the Information Technology field.  I’ve done a wide range of jobs and for a number of years I worked for the State of Texas Public School system and performed general maintenance.  But even before that, I’ve always enjoyed building things and learning about construction.  I spent four years in high school taking classes in wood shop, metal shop and even in the agricultural trade.  Most of what I learned between my own high school education and working in the Texas school system is what I’ve used to construct my new ham shack area. 

However, one area of education has been more important than any other.  My Dad can make anything out of nothing.  Fortunately, all through my life my Dad has shared his knowledge (some he learned from his Father) with me.  Now I’m not a master craftsman…far from it, but what I’ve learned from my Dad is truly what has allowed me to do all this work.  Even including installing a tile floor. 

Oh…one more thing.  The time I spent working at the school in Texas, was also 3-4 years I was able to work alongside my Dad.  It’s hard to imagine just how much kids can damage a school in 9 months and we had 3 months during the summer to patch it all back together.  That was a lot of fun and something I’ll always remember.  Thank you Daddy!

My own tile floor went down just as advertised and really looks good.  My wife and I spent the week of July 4th on a staycation (a stay at home vacation) and while we managed to get out of the house and up to the mountains (including one SOTA activation) I also managed to get all of the flooring installed. 

The cabinets arrived almost on schedule.  They are great quality (real wood) and the price was right.  All cabinets were pre-assembled (no flat pack) and arrived on three pallets.  The trucking company rolled them into my garage and I unpacked, inspected and moved each one through the house and down into the basement. 

The picture below shows both the wall cabinets and the floor cabinets installed in their final location (along with flooring).  Across the top of both sets of floor cabinets will be the countertop/desktop/worktop surface.   


There are many reasons why this project has been years in the making.  Remember I began framing this space in 2008, but didn’t work on it much from 2009 – 2011.   With some excellent guidance, planning and encouragement from my wife, I kicked off 2012 with the New Year’s Resolution of completing this space.   She has been instrumental in getting this space from the 2×4 phase to what you see above.  Thank you honey!!

However, each step (painting, flooring, cabinet) including the countertop decision has been one that has taken time.  In other words, we had to pick flooring to match cabinets and cabinets to match wall.  The countertop needed to blend in with all and it just required a lot of shopping around.  While we never contemplated going with granite, as we began shopping around and comparing different products such as laminate, solid surface, quartz and granite, we learned the price difference between quality solid surface and granite was close….actually very close. 

The other consideration is resale value.  While we have no plans to sell our house,  the decisions we make regarding everything from the type of roof shingle, type of window replacement and the home office area are all with resale value in mind.  This basement space would make someone a fantastic home office or even a hobby/craft room.  Likewise, it will also make a fantastic ham shack. 

Alright…time to wrap things up.  Just yesterday (Monday, 6 August) we had the granite counter install company come and perform a laser measurement of the space.  I’m told the lead time from measurement to install is approx. 10-14 days.  As of today, Tuesday 7 August I am 24 days away from the planned opening date.  So YES!!  I do believe I’ll be in the new space on-time.

Meanwhile, I still have a few items of trim to install.  I’m hoping to finish the trim work (requires sawing and that creates dust) in the next two weeks.  Then if the countertop install is on schedule, I can (and will) begin moving into the new space.  Painting of doors and trim (and wall touchups here and there) can all be done with radios and computers in place. 

I’m really excited and yes I’m a little burned out on working on this project almost every weekend.  But I’m in the home stretch now…see you at the finish line.

Until next time…

73 de KD0BIK

Category(s): Construction
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