Shack in boxes

Shack in boxesThere is currently not much happening in the radio area, all the radio stuff is packed in boxes these days (shack in boxes). The reason for this is a renovation in our attic. This spring an extra dormer will be placed and the attic will be split up in two separate rooms. Those will be the new rooms of the two boys. The internal move will free up a room which is now the old baby room. This will be my new ‘man-cave’ and the new accommodation for the shack.

Ideas for the new shack

I really hate a messy shack. Other people don’t, that much I can see on ‘shack pictures’ all over the web. The idea for this new man-cave is to make it as zen as possible (not as zen as shack in boxes though). Only the most essential stuff will get a place. As far as the shack concerns, there will be only two radio’s: the Icom IC-7300 for HF and the Kenwood TM-742 for VHF/UHF. Inspiration for this layout comes from Jim K5ND, who has probably the most zen shack possible. Although my ideas are in the zen-zone now, they maybe change over time. But this is the moment to prepare for future changes. This is especially true for antenna cabling.

Antenna cabling

As of the move from the attic to the second floor, I need to pull all new cables to the roof. Although I only need 2 coax cables for the ‘zen-shack’ (HF and VHF/UHF) maybe I’ll participate in other ham activities later on. When I need more antenna’s for those activities, it’s handy to already made the preparations. I figured there should be abound 4 to 5 cables going to the roof. The distance isn’t that big, about 5 meters from shack to chimney. That means it isn’t necessary to use thick expensive coax cables. I guess RG-58 for HF and Ecoflex 10 for VHF/UHF would be more then sufficient. If I create an termination point in the shack and on the roof, I can use the coax cables universally. I will need to integrate the cables in the walls though. So it’s a one-time opportunity to do it right.

Lightning protection

If there is one thing I like to implement well this time it is lightning protection. Maybe I can combine that with new insights about adding a counterpoise. I think connecting the termination strip on the roof to a earth rod in the back garden should give enough protection and creates enough counterpoise for the Icom AH-4 antenna coupler (which absolutely stays in the new set-up).

Antennas

As starting point for the antennas I want back to the ‘one mast construction’. I tried two separate masts, one for HF and one for VHF/UHF. But it gets to messy on the roof and doesn’t add any other advantage. I’ll go back to HF, VHF/UHF and the weather station sensors in one mast.

But before I can start with building my new man-cave and unpack the shack in boxes, I first have to renovate an attic….

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