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  • Bruce H. McIntosh
    Visit my work homepage
    Last revised Jan 04, 2021

    Invisible airwaves crackle with life
    Bright antennas bristle with the energy

    Amateur Radio

    My Humble Hamshack

    I'm going to try to keep this page more current,with updated photos and notes as I change things around and get the rehab projects back on the air. Thanks for stopping by for the 50c tour!

    As documented elsewhere (see here and here too oh and here as well) I moved out the old secretarial desk and built a new set of desks that'll give some room to spread out and be more functional. This of course set off a reconsideration of what radio gear went where. After a couple of interim arrangements,I finally settled on a nice,compact solution that put all the radios on my right; that's an important consideration for a southpaw - keep the writing hand free to write and/or type.

    Across the top lives the VHF equipment:

    • Icom IC-551D,an indefinite loan from AA4FL Jay; replaced a borrowed IC-551. There's an old Aiwa portable stereo speaker fed from a cheap Radio Shack DSP unit connected to the 551D; it helps with the local electrical noise.
    • Icom IC-271H,purchased at the 09 Orlando Hamcation from a chap down in the Keys. It's a terrific rig and I'm having a blast with it.
    • Icom IC-451A,refugee from the GARC club station
    Down below sits the primary HF rig,a classic Kenwood hybrid setup:
    • MFJ-949C Deluxe Versa Tuner II
    • Kenwood SP-230 speaker,picked up at the 06 Orlando Hamcation
    • Kenwood TS-830S HF rig,bought at the 04 Ten Tec Hamfest from AB4IQ Doyl.
    • Kenwood VFO-230 remote VFO,acquired along with the 830
    • Shure Commando Model 430 mic,with a PTT switch and footswitch hooked to a cobbled-together adapter box to get it to connect with the 830

    Over on the other side of the office live the boatanchors. Ok,granted,that stuff on the top shelf isn't ham radio related,but there are tubes involved,so it qualifies. For those curious,I have a McIntosh MX-113 tuner/preamp and an MC-275 stereo amplifier (ancient, not a reissue) driving a pair of Lahti U-2 bookshelf speakers. The only modern touch is the Panasonic DVD player I use to play CDs. It keeps me in jazz when I'm not on the ham gear.

    The ham gear is a complete Collins S-Line setup,which belonged to my father,W3PNT(sk) Ken. It consists of:

    • 516-2 power supply
    • 32S-3 transmitter
    • 75S-3 receiver
    • 312-S4 station control/phone patch
    I made my very first HF contacts on this gear a couple days after I passed the Extra exam,on the Collins net on 3805. Unfortunately I haven't had it on the air since then,as the equipment could use some TLC. The transmitter has started arcing on tuneup on 80 and 40,and the VOX circuit has gone spastic - it keeps cycling in and out of transmit,no matter how it's set or even if it's disabled entirely. The receiver has some AGC and s-meter issue that keep it from working as well as it should. One of These Days ™ I'll get all that taken care of and put the Collins station on the air again.

    Out back there's a 40m dipole fed from the MFJ-949C via 300ohm twinlead. I took the dipole down and rehung it somewhat higher over the summer; it's performing much better now. The antenna is oriented broadside east-west. The dipole is just off the left edge of the picture. Next to the house is a 25' TV antenna mast supporting a 17m Hamstick dipole and a 2m/70cm collinear vertical for simplex and hitting the local repeaters. A homebrew structure dubbed The Two-by-Four Tiltover Tower holds the VHF antennas:

    What's up the mast:

    I hope to put together a Minooka Special,a shortened,coil-loaded vertical for 160 meters,and try things out on the Top Band. The only dicey part is the utter lack of room for ground radials. One possible solution is a set of tuned,elevated counterpoises,an idea I glommed out of the ARRL's Vertical Antenna Classics book.

    Above is a shot of how the shack was aranged when I first set it up in the winter of 2005-06. It stayed that way until the end of April. The wife talked me into turning the desk 90 degrees so the futon would fit on the wall next to where the desk is in the picture.

    This is how it looked up until mid-November,with the desk turned and scooted over enough to get another file cabinet into the corner.

    The mast out back used to be in a different location; at the time it had the 10el 2m beam,the 70cm T-reflector beam,and my 3el 6m travel Yagi. One day I was outside for an Armstrong Rotator session,and I tripped over the 6m beam's feedline,ripping it right off of the antenna. That is what prompted me to drop the mast,move it to a better location in the yard,and build the stopgap Moxon that the 4el beam replaced. I got it all reassembled and up in the air again the day the June '06 VHF QSO Party started. I do this every year - rebuild my V/UHF antennas the day of the QSO Parties!

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