Presentation on theme: "Organizing Your Ham Radio Station Presented to CRES ARC April 19, 2012 Steve Katz N8WL."— Presentation transcript:
Organizing Your Ham Radio Station Presented to CRES ARC April 19, 2012 Steve Katz N8WL
Is Your Station Orderly? Convenient? Ergonomic? Safe? (Ergonomics is the study of designing equipment and devices that fit the human body, its movements, and its cognitive abilities.)
Or Is Your Station Cluttered with junk? Crammed into too little space? Uncomfortable to operate for a long time? Awkward to change antennas? Poorly lighted? Poorly ventilated, too hot or too cold?
Your Situation If you're like a lot of hams, your station Started on a small desk or table Was never really planned, but evolved over time as you accumulated more gear And you never really gave much thought to Organization Convenience Ergonomics Safety
Your Operating Desk/Table Some hams (especially new ones) tend to occupy as little space as possible, in the mistaken belief that other family members or visitors might consider their shack ugly.
Your Operating Desk/Table The truth is that most family and visitors think the hobby is fascinating and aren't at all put off by an orderly and neat assemblage of gear. Note the operative words.
Your Operating Desk/Table But if your desk/table is too small, cramped, crowded, disorganized and messy, your shack won't be impressive to anyone. If you have to share space in a family room, an orderly and neat shack is a must for keeping peace in the family!
Your Operating Desk/Table So do yourself a favor and create a large enough space for yourself, your gear, and future growth. Don't skimp on space! A small desk/table can be easily expanded by an overlay of 1/2-inch plywood with a bigger (especially deeper) area. Don't have a desk? Buy/scrounge a flat interior door and put it on two 2-drawer file cabinets with knee-hole space between.
Your Operating Desk/Table Use vertical space wisely. Build strong shelves, but don't put things you use frequently (like your transceiver) up high. Add drawer space under the desk/table to store accessories not used often, office supplies, equipment manuals, old logs, and QSL cards.
Your Operating Desk/Table If at all possible, place desk/table so that you can easily walk around behind it. Access to the back panels of your equipment without pulling out all the gear is VERY convenient. Yes, it's wireless but that's only from the antenna to the other station. The shack has LOTS of wires and cables. Put them out of the way. (There's a reason why they come off the back panel!)
Your Operating Desk/Table Put clutter away. If it's not needed for operating, make it disappear. Don't use your desk/table for other activities (workbench, storing piles of papers, paying bills, e.g.). Dust off the space and your gear occasionally. Dust is not only unsightly, it's harmful to equipment.
Arranging Your Gear Equipment you use most – transceivers, mic, key, amplifier, panadapter, computer – should be right in front of you on the table. Accessories you use frequently – tuners, antenna switch, rotor control – immediately to side or above on shelf. Other gear or documentation you use less often can be put further out of reach or put away in drawers or cabinets.
Arranging Your Gear Special consideration for cw key Place it so that your entire arm can rest on the table, from key to elbow. Only your fingers should manipulate the key. Special consideration for computer keyboard Place it lower than table, at a height that's right for typing. Use drawer/shelf specially suited for keyboards.
Good Lighting Means less eyestrain, fatigue, and drowsiness. Although modern gear today has well lighted panels, most knobs, labels and many buttons are not illuminated. Keyboards are not illuminated either. Vintage gear is especially hard to operate without good illumination.
Good Lighting Means fewer instances of pilot error. Makes it much easier to read manuals, reference materials, and anything with fine print. If you log on paper, you will see your entries much better, especially if you use pencil.
Good Lighting Medium-intensity, soft (diffuse) lighting is best. If you're right handed, put it on the left so your hand doesn't cast a shadow when you write notes. If left-handed, put it on the right. Small student lamp or clamp on desk lamp is usually a good choice.
Comfort Get a GOOD, comfortable chair. A manager's chair that is well padded, fully adjustable, and has arm rests is ideal for long periods of time at the rig. Make sure the room temperature is set comfortably. Some gear can generate heat and get the room too warm after a while. Make sure the air circulates, either with a fan or by the HVAC system. A stuffy room will cause fatigue.
So... Now that you know all this, what ideas do you have for improving your station layout? We'd like to show some examples of members' shacks and engage in some discussion of what you see.