Home Station

Left half: L to R – Tools, bench, test equipment, test leads, adjustable ventilation.
Right half: L to R – Dual Display IT gear, Win7 Radio computer, radio corner, RPi with propagation display.

HF: I run a Yaesu FT-450D connected via a switch to an 80-40-20m Fan Dipole at 35′ or a Cushcraft AV-5 ground mounted vertical.

Input to the FT-450D comes from multiple sources.

It’s digital port is connected via a SignaLink USB sound card to a Windows 7 computer running Sysinternals Desktops v2.0. I run voice, digital and CW modes. I’m currently running WSJT-X, FLDigi, FLRig, JS8Call, DM-780 and Winlink Express. The digital mode software changes from time to time.

For voice modes I have a boom mounted Shure RS25 mic via a Behringer Xenyx Q802USB mixer to feed into the radio. The mixer also can connect to my Mac Mini for Audacity and I use that setup to record voice announcements for FARS.

For CW I use a Bencher BY-1 or sometimes American Morse Products DCP Mini built from a kit. I’m continually working at improving my CW and use a W8BH Morse Tutor and Just Learn Morse Code software to help with that.

Moving to the RF side of the HF setup,

The FT-450D has a hi-z panadapter tap from KD2C that I installed in the RF line of the radio. Tapping the RF (instead of the IF) not only lets me listen on SDR via whatever antenna the radio is on at that moment, but it also allows me a full alternate receiver. The panadapter tap isconnected to a SDRPlay RSP2Pro receiver. That receiver also has multiple antenna inputs, and on the 2nd port I have it hooked up to a random longwire antenna running along the top of a fence.

Nothing beats living in the middle of nowhere, alas. Because I don’t, I have a QRM-180 noise reduction system. There are other products like this such as the MFJ-1026, Timewave ANC-4, the VK5TM Noise Eliminator and so on. Both the VK5TM and the QRM-180 are sold as kits. If you like building kits (like I do), get the QRM-180 as it is well thought-out and an intermediate level build.

A Raspberry Pi 3+ runs Hamclock software and displays spots posted for my gridsquare (DO30) to a dedicated monitor, so I can see what the bands are up to in a glance. It’s one of 3 RPi here in the shack.

VHF: I run a Yaesu FT-8900 quad band FM radio capable of cross-band repeat. It is connected to a dual band collinear antenna at 40′ giving me 8dB of gain.

All of my antennas are fed with LMR-400 or equivalent to minimize loss right to the termination point in the shack for maximum flexibility in what line goes where. Antennas are brought in via an entry panel like the K7FP but not nearly as fancy or nice. Each of the four feedlines has lightning protection and the box has its own ground stake. Plans are perpetually underway for new antennas in the farm.

All the other stuff: Things are divided between those used by myself and those used by FARS. I host one of the labs here at this location and it has its own dualband antenna at about 12′. That antenna is used to test repeaters and other things that come about periodically. A separate entrance box takes another two feedlines into the house and is grounded and lightning protect just like the first, and all cables from the termination point to the antenna are LMR-400 or equivalent. Test gear comes and goes as do repeaters and cavity filters for setup and calibration.

Slowly digging into APRS as my priorities permit, I recently put up an iGate. It’s duplexed into the test dualband antenna.

A couple of Zumspot digital voice hotspots round out the collection, one on DMR and the other on C4FM. I can sometimes be found on Brandmeister TG98003 and TG3023. The Pi-Star software is open source and easy to use if you have some background in computing and networking.

 

I guess it’s safe to say there’s always something going on around the shack 🙂

 

2020-05-01