Thoughts on Media, Technology and the State of the World

My Station

After many years living in deed-restricted communities, my wife and I decided it was time to move somewhere we could both agree on. She got her one-story house, I got my HF station!

We bought our house in August, 2010. It’s on an acre of land, and the layout of the property provides a huge back yard, perfect for towers. Before we moved in, I wired the house for Ethernet, and installed a 6″ x 6″ box in the wall for the feedline runs.
Ethernet patch panel
Box in wall where coax comes down from attic
There are two 2" conduits from the box to the attic

I started with wire antennas, just to get on the air. Having no HF radio, I purchased an Elecraft K3 kit. This radio is simply amazing.

Here’s what the station looked like in October, 2010.

WD5IYT station in october 2011

I started construction on the VHF tower in November, 2011. This tower is 35 feet of Rohn 25G house-bracketed to the garage. The coax run from the shack to the top of this tower is about 80 feet. I have a M-squared 6M5 5-element yagi for 6 meters, a M-squared 2M9 9-element yagi for 2 meters, and a JayBeam 12-element yagi for 432 MHz on this tower. They are turned by a M-squared OR-2800 “Orion” rotator.

Here are some photos of the VHF tower during various phases of construction.

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I learned some valuable lessons while digging for the VHF tower. The most important was the depth of the topsoil! For the HF tower, heavier equipment would be required. I started with a small backhoe, but quickly learned even that wasn’t sufficient. I ended up with a Bobcat loader and a pin driver to hammer out the last two feet of the hole for the tower base.

The HF tower is 65 feet of Rohn 55G tower, guyed at 55 feet. I have a Force12 XR5 yagi on top for 20, 17, 15, 12, and 10 meters. 10 feet below that is a Force12 Delta 230/240 yagi for 30 and 40 meters. An 80 meter dipole runs between the HF tower and the VHF tower, putting it at around 50 feet AGL. I recently installed a 160 meter top-loaded vertical on the HF tower. More about that below.

Here are some photos of the HF tower during construction.

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The station configuration in October, 2011 is as follows:

HF: Elecraft K3
VHF: Elecraft K3 for 6 meters, Kenwood TR-751 with 150 Watt RF Concepts amplifier for 2 meters, Kenwood TR-851 for 432 MHz.
RX: K9AY loop for receive on the lower bands. It works great!
Misc: K1EL WinKey USB for automated CW generation, M2 OR-2800 control boxes for the rotators. Bencher CW keyer paddle that I’ve had since college. (I want a Begali so bad I can taste it!)
Shack Computer: Gateway I5 running Windows 7. I use DX Lab for logging and DX award tracking, N1MM Logger for contesting. I have a Digi 8-port USB to Serial converter that provides connectivity for the various pieces in the shack.

Photo of WD5IYT in the shack
Equipment in WD5IYT station

I recently decided to build a 160 meter top-loaded vertical. Read about this adventure here.

Updates as I make changes!