What was your very first "shack" setup?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W7UUU, Jun 4, 2020.

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  1. W9RAC

    W9RAC Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Im asking for a blistering here even at the mention of a CB "rig", let alone a RS 446 but that's it in the late 60's, on the kitchen table with a hidden vertical antenna at an apartment complex. That's what can happen when you live rural and have no one to show you a better way, although I had a great time anyway. I did move up to a Siltronx 1011d the finally to Yaesu 757 gx once I got a license. Do not have any pictures handy for sure but memory are close at hand. I envy all the guys who have tons of photos of them in the shack or the like from those days, I never had the for-site to figure someday I would like to reminisce with such a photo. Some great stories here thanks for the post Dave. 73 Rich
    KJ6IMZ and W7UUU like this.
  2. N8YQM

    N8YQM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Living at my folks house for the first year of college when I hooked up with the amateur radio club at the university and got my ticket. Picked up a used Icom IC-740 when I got my tech plus license, and used a 40 meter dipole outside my window. Actually still have a few QSL cards I earned with that setup making some CW contacts.
    W9RAC likes this.
  3. W7UUU

    W7UUU Super Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I ONLY have the scant few pix of me and my shack because there was some reason for them. The "red wallpaper" I believe had just gone up and my mom only took the photo (without me being in it - I was in school I'm sure - note the clock says it's 2:00 PM!). Another clue is the desk is clean - my desk was NEVER "clean"! Also, my key is not visible. Mom probably thought it "clutter" and tucked it in behind. She was really just after her lovely wallpaper :)

    I really wish I had a LOT more pictures - mostly of my myriad of shack variations over the years as I moved from rig to rig, always trying to improve things, then on into my General Class years.

    But the reality is we just didn't live in a world where we all took photos of "everyday things" like we do today with our cell phones.

    WB4IUY, K9ASE, W9RAC and 3 others like this.
  4. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've got a couple of pics, but not sure where they are. Not very remarkable anyway...typical late 60s Novice station. Corner of my bedroom on an old cast-off vanity/desk. The HW-16 was the queen of the show. What else? A general coverage receiver the old man helped me build using an ARC5 as a tunable IF (it sported a nixie tube to indicate band selection; I was proud of that)...J38...a Johnson SWR meter...castoff Soundesign speaker I got somewhere...pair of earphones...A WRL US call area map on the wall...and...that was it. :)
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  5. W7UUU

    W7UUU Super Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Cool beans! Would love to see a photo of that ARC-5 setup with Nixie!! :)

    W9RAC likes this.
  6. KA2RRK

    KA2RRK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    My novice station in March was 1983 a complete S-line clone. From the US Navy. Do not know it's history.
    It was manufactured by Eldico on Long Island, NY. The transmitter had the unique ability to work 3-30mhz,
    More or less, with a nice roller inductor in the tank circuit. So long as you had a crystal for the Local Oscillator,
    You were there. With a pair of 6146 double U'z! This rig had the transmitter, receiver, station console, power supply which was placed on the floor. This was loaned to me by my elmer, he said have fun. So I set out to
    have unsupervised fun.

    I used this rig with a trapped dipole 120deg apex inverted V, huge from the pine tree trunk in the backyard.
    I climbed the tree and installed a 1/4" eye screw and then attached a pully and rope.
    It was up about 35ft to the apex. The traps were a pair of Bristol, PA - made B&W stock issues. And new house construction reel ends of #14ga copper, with elmer donated ceramics for the end Insulators...
    I also fooled around with making a 15m ground mounted vertical.

    The 15m ground mounted vertical was a 1/2wave. And it required a matching circuit. I hobo'd a circuit together. Alligator clips and battery clips were handy. A plank of 1/2 plywood to mount it near the feed point.
    With a surplus inductor from a HF marine transceiver I got for a few dollars @ a yard sale. And liberated a
    A doorknob Capacitor from it too... No Solder required. It was all nut and bolt...

    Well, the inductor turned out to be a tesla coil, that tended to flame out, I made a few 15m contacts the next weeks between near full blown fire truck dispatches to my parents property. I concluded that the 1/2wave vertical was simply too good for a cheap ham and a cheap matching network. My father was very influencing with my curtailing the db gain and low angle pursuit on 15m. I dismantled the 15m vertical. And decided to modify the trap dipole with capacity hats ten or so ft out on the 40m sections of the dipole. It worked well enough. But not as exciting.


    I returned the Eldico set to my elmer after 6mos or so. And I had reached up to 18wpm CW. Made several
    DX contacts and nearly every lower 48 states. And started two significant fires in the backyard with 100watts
    of 21mhz RF and one on 3.7mhz. Most kids thought playing with matches was fun... I played with RF Matches.

    K9ASE, K2NCC, KO4DNI and 5 others like this.
  7. WN1MB

    WN1MB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Oh, the memory of that very first RF burn! The odd smell. The peculiar yellowish burnt skin. RF 101. I blame Lew McCoy and Doug DeMaw.
    W9RAC, WC5P, KA2RRK and 2 others like this.
  8. W7UUU

    W7UUU Super Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    DANG!! Talk about a "Cadillac of Novice Stations"!! I'd have given a minor-but-not-replaceable body part to have had a station like that as a Novice :D:D

    WN1MB likes this.
  9. KD2ACO

    KD2ACO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    When I was about 10 years old, my dad brought home a book about making crystal radios of out ordinary objects. That was fun and led to repairing radios of all sorts over the years. I didn't transmit until only about 9 years ago.

    I bought a toasted TS-820 as my "learner" rig and rebuilt that for several weeks while getting my ticket. Oddly enough, I don't seem to have a picture of the first installation, but it looked like this minus the amp.


    A friend's FT-840 is getting an alignment and checkout.
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  10. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'll see if I can find one. We put the ARC 5 (and the crystal converter) in a cabinet so nobody'd know it was an ARC 5, really. :)

    Made a sliderule dial....and the whole thing worked amazingly well. I mostly used it for SWLing--which was very interesting indeed at the (near) height of the Cold War.
    K9ASE and W7UUU like this.

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