I have been doing lots of work on the Home QTH Radio shack.
In no particular order, here's what I've done:
- Paint. I painted the room. My shack is in a spare second-floor bedroom which the previous homeowners had painted a bright pink with a Disney "Frozen" motif. It's now a calming "Lighthouse Shadows" color.
- Bought a new shack computer. I purchased a Dell Inspiron tower, with Radeon R6 Graphics. It's a fine AMD Quad-Core computer with an adequate, low end graphics card. All in price: less than $500.
- Bought an LP-Pan 2 from Telepost. It's an aftermarket IQ Panadaptor for use with my Elecraft K3S. The KS3 already has an IF Out port, so it's an easy connection to the LP-Pan. I run the LP-Pan with the ASUS Xonar U7 external sound card, which basically acts as a analog-to-digital converter for the shack computer to decode the I and Q channels and produce a beautiful, and very functional display of band activity across up to 192 kilohertz of spectrum. It's very nice.
- I bought another monitor. Previously, I had been using a 28" Viewsonic monitor. I purchased a second one, so now I'm able to run a combination of radio-related programs through one display, and I have a spare display for general purpose use. Typically I run Ham Radio Deluxe, PowerSDR/IF Stage, and the Ham Radio Deluxe Logger, DM780, and WSJT-X on one monitor. On the other display I usually have a web browsers open with tabs for SOTAWatch2, SOTAData, LOTW, DXSummit.fi, aprs.fi, QRZ.com, WA7BNM Contest Calendar, the VHF Propagation Map, and email.
Here's my right monitor when it's running "Joe Taylor" digital modes, mainly JT65 or JT9 using WSJT-X. Here's my right monitor when I use DM780 for the other digital modes I run. My favorite digital modes are probably Olivia, PSK-31, and occasionally RTTY.
I use the left-hand monitor for displaying other websites and running other programs. Here, I'm displaying web browsers that have tabs for SOTA, a DX Cluster, APRS, VHF Propagation Maps, Contest Calendar, and LOTW.
- As mentioned earlier above, I'm using Ham Radio Deluxe (along with the Logger and DM780), WSJT-X, PowerSDR IF Stage (panadaptor software). I'm also using Dimension4 to keep my computer clock synched very closely to a time server (important for the JT65 and JT9 digital modes).
- Some months ago I purchased a West Mountain Radio (which hails from my hometown of Waukesha, Wisconsin) RigBlaster Advantage digital mode interface for use with the Elecraft K3S. Yes--I'm aware that the Elecraft K3S has a built-in interface, but I really wanted to take advantage of the direct FSK keying feature that the RigBlaster Advantage has. I did, but I found that for the limited RTTY operating I do, I found that the AFSK variant of RTTY was perfectly adequate to my needs. For simplicity's sake, I removed the RigBlaster Advantage from the K3S setup, and it's currently with my QRP and Portable shack (the FT-817ND). No--I haven't configured it for operation with the 817 yet, but I will. I intend to use it when traveling, mainly.
- The remainder of my shack is the same. I'm still using a W1AB Killer Antenna hidden on my property. Yes, it's a major compromise antenna, but it works good enough, and is very frequency-agile, able to function from 160-6 meters just fine. I also have a dipole in the attic cut for 20 meters.
- I'm still using the K3S/100, pretty much all the options except the 2 Meter board and the subreceiver. I'll get those another time.
- My key is still a Kent iambic paddle. I love it.
- I use the Heil ProSet headset with the K3S.
- An Astron RS-35A powers the whole thing through a West Mountain Radio RigRunner 4008 DC Power Strip.
- I'm still using a Yaesu FT-2900 2 meter radio with a home-made J-Pole antenna in the attic. This is for local 2 meter FM communication.
- My SOTA/Portable shack is still the same, too. I'll do another post on exactly what I bring for SOTA and portable operation another time.