My Current Shack Setup

Hello everyone.

So my shack needs a bit of work.

In it’s current state it is good for listening only which is fun, however, I feel like I am missing out on a big part of the hobby.

The Start of my Shack

Let me talk a bit about my journey so far. I started taking a course put on by the SaskAlta Radio Club in October 2017 and passed the Basic exam, with honors, on March 23, 2018. While I was taking my course I had bought a Diamond D3000N discone and SDRPlay RSP1A. I put the discone up on a 30 ft high tv tower attached to my house, ran a piece of LMR-400 that I had from a previous project, connected the sdrplay and I was receiving signals and had fun finding interesting things to listen to. I was decoding cw, and other digital modes,  monitoring FT8 and WSPR and reporting to PSK Reporter. It was fun seeing signals from as far south as South America.

Next Step, Buy a Radio

As much fun as I was having I wanted to get on one of the repeaters run by the SaskAlta Radio Club which is about 62Km NW from my location. I did a bit of research and decided to pick up a second hand Icom IC-7000. I got home with the radio, hooked it up to the discone, downloaded the manual, spent several evenings reading the manual and going through the menus.

I think I spent every night during the next week just scanning up and down through the bands listening to QSO’s.

Now that I had a radio I needed a better antenna and settled on a Diamond X50NA and a switch which only arrived later on in winter so I just put them aside until the weather warmed up and I could get out and get the other antenna up.

Well summer came and went, my wife and I were busy with a new addition to our family, and the antenna sat in the corner so I made my mind up that I would get out in 2019 and get that antenna up.

Another Year Came and Went

Over the winter I had been starting to think about getting a wire up so I could also operate on HF but was having an issue figuring how I wanted to situate it on my property. Initially I was going to do something like a basic dipole, a G5RV or a doublet but I did not want the feedline to be hanging in the middle of the yard as I have kids and accross the back of the lot across the alley is a power line so I am a bit limited with where to place a wire antenna.

As spring approached, I was still struggling to figure my placement when a friend who runs an WISP (Wireless ISP) was replacing a Wade DMX-52 with a larger Trylon 72 foot tower and asked if I wanted the old one. The only issue was they damaged the top plate when taking it down. I jumped at the opportunity.

So I put my upgrade on hold and started planning where to place the DMX-52.

I did manage to pick up a RadioShack / Realistic HTX-212 to use as a dedicated 2m rig for connecting to the repeater.

COVID

I planned and budgeted and started saving in order to build a proper concrete base in order to put up the DMX-52. I picked up a few things that I would need. A swr/wattmeter, an LDG autotuner and then waited patiently for another year to pass.

Then Covid happened.

My family switched gears, setup a home office for my wife to work from home, got situated with our “new normal” and made our way from day to day. There was no place for radio in my head. I got up went to work, came home and spent time with my family; day in, day out.

It Is Now 2022

So here we are, it is March 03, 2022. I’ve spent the last several months, after my family has all gone to bed, watching my favorite ham radio youtubers and letting the bug bite me all over again.

It is time to push forward.

So where am I at?

I have a Wade DMX-52 Tower to install complete with custom tilt over base, a custom cable entry box and some proper shack bonding/grounding. The tower will hold the Diamond X50NA, a Cushcraft A13B2 beam on a rotor and be a support in some form for a wire.

So much to look forward to, until then you can see in the feature image what my shack looks like at the moment.

I have the following:

Icom IC-7000
Radioshack/Realistic HTX-212
SDRPlay RSP1A

Diamond D3000N Discone
Diamond X50NA

I’m looking forward to the next steps, and will be documenting things along the way

VE5NDK

73