The new shack - Fall of 2007.

The house is kinda odd. It is an old house that was extensively renovated. Just like most things in life for normal people on a budget, the house was a compromise. The lot is not as quiet as we would have liked, there is not really a place where my wife can do her art classes. There is no ideal space for a shack inside the house. On the upside, we have space and privacy around us, close to town, the boys like their rooms, we have nice neighbors, a huge garage, no antenna covenants, enough space for a 80m loop without getting close to the house and the house has a lot of light. So after we moved in, in April of 2007, I started thinking about the new shack while everything else was being done. I finally decided that the playhouse that the previous owner built for his 2 daughters outside next to the leech field is the best option. It is next to where I want to put my antennas, and above all, it has enough space that I do not have to share with anybody. On the downside it had no power or heat and it is outside. I had to install power and I run a little space heater through the winter that works fine. Since most of my summer operating is at night, I have not seriously considered cooling. I did install a fan system recently that attempts to circulate the air trapped in the roof. When I started with this shack I decided I wanted the building as "radio-friendly" as I can get it. I installed six long barrel connectors through the back wall and grounded them. This took care of any issues regarding getting coax feeds in and out. In addition to that I installed two MFJ-4614 adaptive wall plates - one inside, and one outside for rotor, control and any other cables. I also planned it so that I can walk around and get behind the desk to deal with the inevitable cable clutter.

My buddy k8crm who moved to Ohio, harassed me to get on HF, so I made the HF antenna a priority. I was originally thinking about a loop antenna but I could not come up with the supports. Then I remembered my Carolina Windom 40 that I used at the previous QTH. This only really needs one support. I found out the hard way before that the Carolina Windom like the center support (if you have one) to be non-conductive. I considered a fibreglass mast for a while, but then started thinking about schedule 80 conduit and decided to give that a try. I liked the idea of the balun, vertical radiator, choke and feedline fitting inside the support.

With a lot of shouting and help from the whole family we got the Radioworks Carolina Windom upright (sort of) supported by 4 sections of sched 80 PVC conduit. The ends of the CW were about 30 feet off the ground and is hard to see in the pic. The wide section of the 2.5 inch sched 80 conduit fitted perfectly into a 3 inch end section for the base. I widened the mounting holes and drove three 12 inch nails into the dirt. The balun and choke of the Windom fits perfectly inside the 2.5 inch conduit. I inserted 2 screws into the conduit just below the choke so that the choke carries weight of the feed line. The weight of the upper sections bent the lower sections a little. This was highly frustrating to me, since I like neat antennas. The Carolina Windom was replaced in July of 2008 - see antennas page for more info.