Radio W4KAZ

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The KazShack – Homebrew Station Cabinet/Desk

I spent some time re-arranging the station area in the basement cubby-hole after unloading the jed-clampett-mobile(my stuffed to the gills truck) in the days following Field Day. Here’s a picture to remember it by, because I’m sure it will soon again be covered by several years of miscellaneous unrelated items. Things seem to find their way their over time.

Photo of the re-arranged KazShack, post 2008 Field Day Here’s what the operating position is looking like after I re-sorted everything out after field day of 2008. On the bottom row, the FT-920, Diawa wattmeter, and Elecraft k2/100 w/KAT100. On the next level up, an MFJ tuner on top of MOAT, the “Mother of all Tuners”. centered is the junker laptop and K9AY switch, then the Yaesu SP-8 speaker with another MFJ tuner on top. On the top of the cabinet is the “wishful thinking”, a Ham-II control box(attached to nothing) and the switch box for an incomplete home brew remote switch project.

The desk itself is something I designed and built five years ago. Its major shortcoming is the lack of space for a monitor. I was previously using a side cart for the computer and monitor. Since I now have an old laptop for my logging, I have it included in the desk set up. The side cart is now gone, but I will build one to match the desk at some point. The Ham-II controller is a place saver, since I don’t have any tower or rotatable antennas up….yet.

The KazShack desk, front view, closed

The KazShack operating desk The KazShack desk, front view The KazShack desk, side view

Top: desk with fold down door closed. bottom left: side view with one panel of desk surface opened. bottom center: front view with desk top opened. bottom right: side view opened

The desk itself worked out very well otherwise, since my operating area is so physically limited. It’s nice to be able to fold up the desktop. Since the desktop also acts as a fold-up door, I can close and lock it up if bneeded. The whole kit is on heavy duty casters, so I can roll the entire station around fairly without needing to be too careful. It DOES help to unplug everything before trying to roll off with it. 😉

In use, the desk level shelf and the shelf above are in easy arm’s reach. Anything on the top of the box is a stretch, so its somewhat inconvenient to put tuners and antenna switches up there. The very topmost shelf is mostly out of reach for me, so use it for storage. The area below desk level is perfect for the APC line conditioner, power supplies, and the fire extinguisher. The desk top is itself held by permanently attached steel cables, and two fold out brackets below the desktop. I wasn’t up to the challenge of pocketed brackets, so they are hinged to the front of the frame. The desktop is at 27 inches, which I find the best height for me, and it has a slight slope downward when open. Just enough slope that pencils will roll off. Grrrr. I did that on purpose. Sometimes I think it was a mistake, but it makes long periods of operating and logging comfortable.

The photos don’t show it very well, but the desk is stained in two different tones. It was a carpentry experiment that worked. If I can find the plans I drew up for it, I’ll post them. The construction is simple, using common dimensions of lumber available from any big box here in the US. The frame is constructed of 2×4 and 1×4 material.

The case is actually aseparatepiece, just sitting in the frame. It’s weight is enough to hold it in, as long as no one is goofy enough to try and sit on the desktop when its open. It is constructed of 1×6 and 1×4 lumber, some of which is edge joined to make wider pieces. All of the lumber is pine, so it tends to scar easily. I’ve been touching up the dents and dings with matching stain, and I like the lived in look the markings add to the piece.

With the desktop closed the whole thing is just over two feet deep, so it occupies a relatively small footprint. It is a bit less versatile than a larger flat desktop, but I needed a space saving solution. If I ever get the chance to move to a larger area, I’ll have a new project – matching extension pieces.

1 comment to The KazShack – Homebrew Station Cabinet/Desk

  • Scot

    Great work and your photographs suggest vertical functionality instead of horizontal. And an excellent traditional touch to the technological visual one’s ham shack can create. The KazShack gets Feng Shui and ergonomical.

    You’ve got me thinking about the shackadelic.

    Scot KA3DRR