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Designing a ham bench

Aug 29th 2011, 12:38


Super Moderator

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
An ARRL member writes in:

Trying to finish up a new house we've been working on for 11 years. Wife has agreed that the operating "bench" be in the kitchen, at 22' X 22' the largest room in the house, with hickory floors, cherry cabinets and granite counter tops -- a very nice room.

My challenge is to design an operations center for the two of us, our laptops and an AV center to match the beauty of the custom cabinets, including a Kardex mechanical pantry. I've searched the web and the ARRL archives for guidance, suggestions, ideas, etc. The best I've found is W1FB's (God rest his soul) 1984 "Setting Up Your Station."

Can you offer better? We will operate phone, CW and computer modes on 2, 6 and HF. I have a 230 VAC receptacle under the bench, plenty of 120 VAC receptacles, a 4" PVC conduit for coax runs to the exterior basement wall, several feeds of shielded Cat 6 and RG-8 to a central closet, and kitchen speaker cables.

Questions include how best to provide flexibility for the future while allowing cabling to be hidden, coax switches etc. to be readily accessible, etc. I'm thinking to build 3 - 4 modules along the 14-ft straight wall with knee holes and retractable pocket doors above the granite bench top to close everything up when we are not operating.

Can you please point me toward resources that might help me get further down the road toward a design?

I did a google search on “ham station console design”
Description: This category contains links related to ham radio station design. Some hams have gone to great lengths to design their ham shacks for ergonomics (ease of use) and aesthetics (looks) - avoiding the traditional rats' nest.

Zack Lau W1VT
ARRL Senior Lab Engineer

Aug 29th 2011, 20:03


Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
The best operating bench that I have ever seen is on the front cover of the ARRL Operating Manual, 9th edition.

As much gear as is in front of that op, it's all within very easy reach, indeed. All he has to do is pivot his chair slightly to access the equipment either to his left, right in front of him, or to his right.

I drool everytime I see that photo. :-)

73 Mike

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