Category Archives: K9ZW Shack

Creating Durable Systems within the K9ZW Main QTH Shack

Creating Durable Systems within the K9ZW Main QTH Shack is going to be a challenge.

By “system” I mean to break into management units the various components of the new QTH:

  • Tower/Tower Control
  • Rotator/Rotator Control
  • Hexbeam Antenna
  • Sloper Antenna
  • Flagpole Vertical Antenna/Radials
  • Receive RBOG Antenna Array/Controls
  • Guest Antenna Point
  • Tower Bulkhead Power, Ground, and Internet
  • Flagpole Courtesy Power
  • Guest Antenna Point Internet
  • HF Amps
  • HF Transceivers
  • Guest HF Transceiver Point
  • Station Monitor
  • Audio Input Microphones/Preprocessing
  • Computer Network
  • Computers
  • Audio Output/Speakers
  • Transceiver Power
  • Accessory nominal 12 vdc Power
  • Accessory nominal 5 vdc Power
  • Accessory nominal 24 vdc Power
  • Antenna Tuners/Couplers
  • Vintage Station and Integration
  • Geochron and Mapping
  • Logging

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Tower Bulkhead to the Tower Itself – Bridging the Gap

All the undergrounds for the new tower terminate at the Tower Bulkhead, which is offset from the tower hinge-access axis and about 8 feet away to basically keep out of the way.

Cables to cross that gap are:

  • 220 vac tower motor power cable
  • nominal 24 vdc plus control wires cable for the tower motor control
  • 24  vdc rotator plus azimuth control cable
  • CAT6e-type Rotator Genius control cable
  • future provision for a CAT6e cable for future IoT use
  • 110 vac utility outlet power cable
  • 3 feed lines for the Hexbeam (Belden 9913F7) with rotation loopage
  • 1 feed line for the Sloper (Belden 9913F7)
  • future provision for additional feedlines for additional antennas
  • Ground-cable to normalize the potentials

I make it as ten “whips” to cross the gap, and provisions for two or more future whips.

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Standby Power for the Shack?

I’m approaching the standby power issue considering three states of power:

  • (A) Fully on Mains Power (normal condition)
  • (B) Temporary Interruption of Mains Power of less than a day in length
  • (C) Extended Interruption of Mains Power

I’m building my condition matrix with three usage profiles:

  • (1) Casual and Standby condition, minor interruptions okay
  • (2) Ready for Hobby Radio Work
  • (3) Ready for Serious Radio Work, including Freecom

The matrix looks like this:

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Ground to Ground – Station Grounds

Station grounding is the “secret sauce” that often separates a great station from an otherwise good station.

In the new K9ZW Main QTH build a fair bit of ground thought has been incorporated.

The soil types range from disturbed common fill to undisturbed clay-base topsoil some 6 to 8 foot deep over a very thick layer of glacial till and boulders.

Typical Wisconsin Lakeshore-County conditions, less the usual sand layers & dunes.

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SteppIR SARK-110 Antenna Analyzer – Rejuvenated

Back in September I bought from SteppIR a SARK-110 Antenna Analyzer – promoted as a combination SWR Meter, TDR, and Antenna Analyzer.

Actually a sort of pocket single-port Vector Network Analyzer.

SARK-110 Stock Photo

As mention the unit I purchased wasn’t working for me. And I initially had some troubles getting SteppIR’s attention, though they came on like the professionals our hobby recognizes them as when I did catch their attention.

Out of the box the device lighted up, and after a charge basically did nothing.
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CAD vs Sketching for Bulkhead Design in the Ham Shack

Working through bulkhead design I had to decide whether to do CAD representations, or whether to Sketch & “Play Barbie?” By “Playing Barbie” I’m meaning the process where with cardboard sized to match each bulkhead and pieces of paper sized to reflect the size – AND the required clear space needed – for each component one builds a physical model.

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