My Home Shack

I run four transceivers in my home shack:

  1. ICOM 9700 all mode VHF/UHF/1296 transceiver. I have a tri-mode antenna on the roof, and and considering adding a Yagi with an az/el rotor to operate satellite modes, using my own PiHAT interface and controller.
  2. ICOM 7300 HF/6M transceiver. Currently connected to a dipole on the side of the house.
  3. ICOM ID-1 1296 D-Star transceiver. Set up to provide a 1296 DMR portal into the mesh network, currently a work in progress,
  4. Kenwood TK981 900MHz transceiver. Set up for 900 MHz simplex and duplex operation for local repeaters.

I also have three hand-held radios:

  1. Motorola MTX9250. A handheld for 900 MHz, used mostly for testing in repeater development, but can also reach some local repeaters.
  2. Baofeng DM-1801 DMR/Analog handheld. Purchased at a hamfest, almost ended up in the circular file until I discovered open GD77 software. Works well and is easy to program with software and through the keypad.
  3. KwiCall VHF/UHF. A not so well known Chinese-built handheld, but it does work and has remote programming software. Difficult to set up otherwise.

The antique radio is a Hallicrafters S-53A receiver, connected to a long wire. Restored to operation with thanks by Jerry, VE6TL. Constructed the same year as I was.

I have an MMDVM hotspot connected to the AREDN mesh network which runs the HBLink software. Several mesh users are also connected into it.

The Polycom phone was rescued by Bud, VE6BUD from being thrown out or sent to a recycler. It is connected both to the mesh network via a local PBX which is part of the Meshphone network, and also has an extension to Hamshack hotline. Originally there were about 40, most have gone out to other Amateurs on the network. We maintain a software download and configuration information on the mesh server, so they are all configured the same. It also has the ability to look up in a ‘Corporate Directory’ which uses an LDAP data base. We recoded our local phone book to use this technology instead of SQL, so the phones can access it as well.

I found the shack PC on Amazon, described as ‘Lenovo Think Centre M92p Tiny Mini Business Desktop Computer, Intel Core i5-3470T up to 3.6GHz, 8GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Intel HD Graphics, VGA, USB 3.0, Windows 10 Professional (Renewed)’. It measures only 17.8 x 3.6 x 18.3 centimeters, (7 x 1.4 x 18.3 x 7.2 inches), and weighs 1.3 Kg (2.9 lbs). A great little PC for shack use, It has several USB ports, a display Port, standard VGA connector, Gb wired and 802.11/b/g/n wireless ethernet. It has USB connections to both of my ICOM transceivers. I ended up purchasing another for the living room TV to have internet access, enabling us to watch movies and connect with local arts organizations during the pandemic lockdown.

For software I use Ham Radio Deluxe for satellite tracking, sadly no rotators yet, and WSJT-X for FT-8 on both the 9700 and 7300. I also use it for programming my handheld and mobile radios. The dual LAN capability enables me to connect both to my home LAN as well as the mesh network simultaneously.

Interesting aside: I ‘rescued’ the monitor from a Staples recycling bin, just as the owner was going to throw it away. Nice find!

My entire shack is powered by an Astron RM-50A supply mounted in a rack just behind the wall. It accommodates a backup battery which can provide up to 250Ah of operation when the AC power is down.