Category Archives: Shack

Call Sign Placque Now Available at Oak Originals!

The gift I received months ago from my two great nieces–Addison & Caroline–proudly hangs in my office/ham shack over the roll-top desk and mantel clock I inherited from my namesake Grandfather. It was designed and made by their Mom, our niece, Amy Houston Hunt, as part of her custom design art business in nearby Flowood, MS.

Due to the great feedback I’ve received from blog readers, Amy has now made this type of amateur radio call sign plaque one of her store’s items.


Antique Ham Call Plaque from OAK Originals

Her store, OAK Originals LLC, can be found at: She can do alternate designs and so forth but, ahem, they all will please anyone else inhabiting the space where your amateur radio station is situated (if you know what I mean and I think you do). It’s available for now at the steal of a price for hand-painted custom artwork on cabinet-grade plywood of $42.

OAK Originals LLC, 5352 Mississippi Hwy 25, Suite 1000, Flowood, MS 39232 Phone: 601-919-1682


Shack layout

With the decision to put my office and shack on the second floor, we worked with the house plan designer on “what” it was I needed. Not having done this before, I’m sure that I would do it differently if there were a second time. But, here’s what happened.

Ham Shack Alcove

Layout of Office on 2nd Floor

The layout on the left shows a 17×13 office space, adjacent to a closet and bath. The U-shaped closet has a door and was reconfigured to just be shelves for books on the left and a cabinet on the right with work shelf and hutch above. This proved ideal to sequester laser and color ink-jet printers for the household as well as a Drobo NAS box. Plus reduce the potential for RFI. At the top of the diagram are two French doors leading out to a screen porch.

The small window at the top (bottom in the diagram) of the U-shape in my alcove shack proved unworkable so that was scotched in favor of identical cabinets and shelving on the left and right. That may need to be changed in the future but that’s what I did.

I had the carpenters/plumbers run a 3″ PVC pipe from behind one set of cabinets—I’d run one behind each in a future build!—up to the attic for coax. I thought it was kind of small but it was the largest diameter to fit the studs so I went with it. In the attic, they floored a catwalk for me to get to this PVC pipe. On the opposite side of the house where the shallow alleyway between houses is located (see previous post), I had another PVC pipe run from the attic down the wall and outside. More on the development of that venue for cabling later.

The first draft of the built-in cabinets looked like the picture on the left. Note that the vertical separation is right in my eye line! So, carpenters did a re-do by splitting this up as I diagrammed it, into three cubby-holes for equipment. The right photo shows some of my equipment just placed randomly during the move where I made sure that I handled each piece. Plenty of electrical outlets as the 120 vac line to just my equipment is on a separate circuit from the rest of the house as is a 220 vac line for a linear amplifier. I hope this reduces RFI both from and into my shack. But some of that detective work will have to be done later. More on the current layout, grounding, and antennas in a future post.

Final Version of Cabinets (on each side)

Final Version of Cabinets (on each side)

Carpenters don't read your plans!

Carpenters don’t read your plans!

First Shack

My first ham rado shack

Here is my very cramped first ham radio “shack”: a very small corner of our den. This built-in computer desk houses a Dell PC with a 30″ monitor, a JRC NRD-545 DSP receiver, FT-8900R VHF/UHF transceiver, Icom IC-706 HF/VHF transceiver, and LDG IT-100 autotuner. Underneath are a Perseus SDR, Diamond power supply, back-up hard disk, a Drobo 4TB NAS, a 2nd PC running Linux switched to the monitor and keyboard via a switch beneath the monitor. The shipping box containing the venerable Kenwood TS-830S that I bought off of eBay never “left” my temporarily setting it up to test. It also has the Kenwood AT-230 antenna tuner, SP 230 speaker, and a MFJ 259B antenna analyzer.

Small beginnings….but I hope to have more space in a new QTH in the near future. But there’s nothing like the first one, right?