Ham Shack a lack a lacka…

Not that it lacks anything, per se, but it is a pretty basic station. 


Yaesu FT-450D transceiver, LDG YT-450 tuner, with a Yaesu MD-100A8X dynamic desktop microphone*.  There's an SEC 1235M 30-amp power supply hiding behind my license (on top of my mini-CentOS 6 machine, which basically does nothing but run DNS).  Hiding behind pretty much everything is a West Mountain Radio RigBlaster Plug & Play that connects the 450D to the computer for digimodes like SSTV, DTV, RTTY, PSK31, etc.  In the corner under the TV is the Windows 7 box (i5 processor with 4GB RAM I think…I'd have to go look).  Obligatory azimuthal amateur radio map of the world behind everything. 

Behind the UTC clock is a coax switch that I flip for 6 meters vs. HF.  There's an Arrow Antenna GP52 ground plane antenna up on the roof pretty much right over my head when I'm operating.  The HF side of the switch goes to an EARCHI end-fed matchbox antenna** fed with 25' of RG-8X and mounted around the corner of the house hanging from a 31' Jackite kite pole as a ground-mount vertical.

The computer runs Fldigi software for digital modes and is otherwise used as a glorified web browser so I can access QRZ.COM and ARRL's Log of the World.  I do also keep a paper log which you can see next to the monitor.

There is no key or paddle because I don't know code.  Learning code is on my bucket list, but right now I don't have time.  I do think this is a fair little station given I started from scratch after I got my Tech license just over a year ago.  I've been an Amateur Extra since the end of last November and I would have had this up and running a lot sooner if the recent Global Warming event had been a little warmer.  As it was, I was outside pounding an 8' copper ground rod into the ground almost before the snow had melted, and the HF antenna went up at the beginning of April.  (The 6M ground plane went up before it snowed.)

"Where does the wire go?"  To the operator's left there is a window.  In the window is an MFJ-4603 feed-through panel.  Six feet outside the window is a ground rod with Alpha-Delta lightning suppressors for each of the two lines.  Then one line goes around the corner to the HF antenna and the other goes up on the roof to the 6M ground plane.

In a couple of weeks, the boy will be down from Fort Wayne and we are going to get the G5RV wire antenna that has been sitting here for nearly a year into the trees.  Then there will be some DX worked.  I've worked Italy and Hawaii with the matchbox and PSK31 digital, but it just isn't a DX antenna in its current configuration.

I can only thank $DEITY that I have a long-suffering but patient wife who actually didn't flinch when I told her I wanted to spend a couple grand on radio equipment.***  Thank you, dear.  Now if you'd just go get a technician license so we could talk on 2 meters…


* This is the item that recently took a short vacation in Hawaii on its way here from Cincinnati, as recounted below.

** The EARCHI matchbox antenna is nothing more than a 9:1 UNUN in a plastic box with an SO-239 socket on one side and 35' of #18AWG wire attached to the other.  The other end of the #18 wire is hanging from the top of the Jackite pole.  You can build this matchbox yourself but I decided to buy one because I don't have a garage-full of radio parts to make it from.

*** On the other hand, she may simply have been relieved that this was the extent of my midlife crisis and that I wasn't telling her I was going to buy a vintage Camaro or Mustang or something.  What she doesn't know (yet) is what a money pit this hobby can be if you really let it all hang out…