New radio room is on the air

It took more than two years of planning (see original post), but the new radio room — my ham shack — is ready to use. And what a comfy little space it is.

Just 11′ x 14′, I’ve packed in about 19 feet of desktop surface, a bed, lots of storage shelving and everything else I had on my wish list:

  • It’s BRIGHT with 10 LED recessed lights overhead, equivalent to 500 watts of bulbs using just 90 watts when they’re all on. And I can aim key lighting at the operating position so no more hunting the keyboard or radios in the half-dark.
  • Plenty of electrical outlets — a total of six duplex outlets under the desk, and four more above the desk at the operating position. Plus a pair of 240-volt outlets under the desk for the amplifiers, on their own circuit. The rest of the room also has generous electrical outlets provided. Ran two extra 120-volt 15-amp circuits (originally three fed this part of the house) to make sure nothing will be over-taxed.
  • A comfortable beech laminate floor. No more painted concrete.

Here’s a quick tour of the place:

The project began on July 2, 2016, immediately after the annual Canada Day RAC contest. I started with a real mess of a space, which had accumulated a lot of clutter and junk over the previous decade. I’ve never had more than an old office desk in a small corner of the unfinished basement — it worked for me, but was horribly untidy and not at all a welcoming space. No place to spend so many hours, as I tend to do.

Here’s what I started the project with. You can see it’s no place to while away any time at all.

The old space on July 2, 2016, when the project began.
The old space on July 2, 2016, when the project began.

My initial vision was laid out using SketchUp software:

BUD ROOM -- Aug 19

Six weeks of effort resulted in a space in which I am happy to be.

The new radio room at VA7ST
The new radio room at VA7ST

It was the hardest project I’ve ever tackled around the house, and couldn’t have been done without the able help of my wife Kim. We demolished walls and put up new ones, hauled drywall, furniture pieces and scrap, ran wiring, mudded and taped, painted, put down flooring… every day was a major enterprise.

Now that it is complete, I look forward to another decade or two of contesting — but in an environment ideally suited to my operating preferences.