In late October 2020, I realized that the paint in the shop, shack, kitchen and bathroom was now 10 years old, and had endured rearing 4 young children. It was time for fresh paint. But instead of exclusive flat white, I got courageous and asked for suggestions from my wife Sharon KW5MOM and my adult daughter Jordan KF5GDJ.
They both suggested adding some real color to the mix, which I gladly obliged. The results were far better than I could have anticipated, and I love the colors in the entire shack area. It’s actually hard to believe what a difference it made!
Finished the project with 4 coats of clear concrete sealer on the floor.
Added two new beverage receive antenna – southeast and southwest.
Southeast is 580 feet long.
Southwest is 480 feet long.
Installed them both 2 feet above the existing beverages for NE and NW using PVC pipe as a vertical standoff.
Built a home-brew EZ-Way Wonder Post to ground-mount the EZ-Way Tower that had been on my utility trailer as a portable tower. This 50 foot tower will be used for 6 meters, 2 meters and 70 centimeters. I rebuilt a Ham-II rotator for this project.
6-meter antenna is a Hygain VB-66DX – 6 elements on a 24-foot boom.
Don’t yet know what will go up for 2m and 70cm.
Implemented an EA4TX INTERLOCK to keep us honest in M/S and M/2 contesting.
And a good time was had by all. 12 hours B.I.C. We had trouble with the SixPack with 15, 20, and 40 meters. Had to coax jump around the SixPack to use 15 and 40 on the right radio. No time to fix during the contest!
Thanks to all for the QSOs, and especially all the >3 band QSOs.
With high anticipation, regular ops W5WZ and WM5H had prepared the W5WZ station for a serious Multi-Single effort for this contest, with full ability for in-band S&P at full power using EA4TX interlock. A portable tower set up 700 feet west of the main tower, with KT-34XA at 60 feet, an 80-meter dipole at 55 feet, and 40-meter dipole at 45 feet provided sufficient antenna separation. First-time guest Dave K5UZ joined the team for the effort.
As always the food was excellent, the station performed well – except the air conditioning – in the 100 degree heat and Louisiana humiditiy it couldn’t keep up with the ops and 3 amplifiers.
Since last weekend\’s NAQP CW, all the shack Window 7 computers were replaced with Window 10 computers. Added a single Logitech wireless keyboard/mouse – discovered that RF causes problems with – putting both computers in a F1 voice keyer loop. During the 15 meter run in the 2nd hour of the contest, something in the RF path failed, sending the SWR very high, prematurely ending our work on 15 meters. No other problems. Me and Bobby both stayed in the seat.
Our best performance to date in an NAQP!
Thanks for the QSOs, and thanks for those that accepted our invite to move to other bands.
After nearly 10 years, I decided to change the layout of the 3rd and 4th positions in the shack. The mult station had been under the stairs, the the 3rd station on a very small table. Additionally, all 4 computers were replaced. And I decided to identify the stations by letter, from left to right, rather than by number.
I’ve had a Mackie 1202-VLZ Pro sitting on a shelf for years. For Christmas 2018, I bought a gift for myself – a pair of powered JBL Control 2P monitor speakers, and integrated the mixer and the speakers into the shack. Connected the K3 at A, the K3 at B, and the computer at B (my main single op and “work” computer) to the mixer. This has really improved my enjoyment of shack time. I can listen the the bands without being tethered to headphones; I can listen to music from my computer; shack guests can hear the action; the list goes on. I’ve told some of my ham friends that this single change has had a bigger impact on my shack time enjoyment than anything else I’ve ever done!
At position A, I added a vertical dual monitor stand. The EA4TX interlock will sit on a shelf between position A and position B. The desk remains unchanged.
It was a different story at the other end of the shack. I had a desk that my father had built for me when I was in 4th grade. It was somewhat custom built for a old 19-inch black-and-white TV, my Commodore Vic 20 computer, and an Atari 2600. I replaced the table top when I became a ham, making it longer and deeper. A removable hutch on top was still functional. Letting go of some sentiment, I took the desk out of the shack, but kept the hutch to use on the table top under the stairs.
Several years ago, after I custom-built my L-shaped desk for A and B, my friend WW5RC (ex:KC5WA) had me build a nearly identical desk for him. He recently moved into a retirement apartment, and had to downsize. He offered me first refusal on the desk I built. So, with a modification to utilize what I needed, the desk built by me returned home for position C and position D.
Dual vertical monitor stands were added, and new computers also installed. An Astron RS-70M supplies power.
I think the next remodel project will be to epoxy the floor- the bare concrete is constantly dusty and gritty.