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After living in Georgia for three decades, I returned to New England in 2014. (I knew I kept that 1-land callsign for a reason.) Starting over in Massachusetts, station W1JA has been reborn on a smaller scale in my unfinished basement. I didn't want to build any permanent walls but I did want separation from the rest of the basement. A cubicle from Craigslist and a carpet from a home store were the start of a comfy shack in a basement corner. From my Georgia shack came the 1980s wood-look computer desk on the right. It completes the layout, forming a 'U'-shaped shack.

[W1JA shack, wide-angle view]

The shack layout has modern equipment on the left, and old gear on the right. Starting on the left side, the station equipment consists of Icoms IC-7600 and IC-7000, Ameritron ALS-1306 amplifier, Ten-Tec 238 tuner (used only for its built-in antenna switch and meter) and, last but certainly not least, an Apache Labs ANAN-200D SDR (software-defined radio). The self-built computer that runs it is just off the left side of the picture, and has an Intel i7-7700T CPU (already obsolete) on a Gigabyte Z270-chipset motherboard with an M.2 SSD. The monitor is a 40-inch TV with 4K resolution. Also there's a March R3a paddle and a Logikey CMOS-4 keyer.

To the right, we move to the warmth of vacuum tubes. Partially blocked by me is a Swan 500C with 117XC power supply. Moving even further rightward there's the Kenwood R-599 and T-599 twins, a Drake TR-3 transceiver and L-4B amplifier. There's also a Drake C-4 station console on the top shelf, used for its wattmeter and antenna, power, microphone and keyer switching functions. Look at the picture below, right for a better view of these goodies.


[My heabeam] [What makes the dipole a multiband dipole] [The vintage side of the tracks]
For the 20, 17, 15, 12, 10 and 6 meter bands I use this six-band hexbeam atop an aluminum push-up mast at a height of approx. 40 feet (12 meters). For 80, 60, 40 and 30 meters I use a dipole. It's 130-feet (40-meters) long, up about 60 feet (18 meters), and fed with open-wire feedline. It is difficult to get a good picture of a wire dipole high in the air, so here's one of its tuner and balun on my under-deck basement patio. The MFJ-998RT remote tuner is inside a Suncast SSW1200 "wicker storage seat," which is entirely plastic and makes a weatherproof enclosure that fits the tuner perfectly. Between the unbalanced tuner output and the balanced feedline is a Balun Designs no. 1171 1:1 current balun.

This system also works on 160 meters, but not very well. I plan an inverted-L for the future. In the meantime, thanks to all who manage to hear me on 160.
 Here on the vintage side of the shack, there are also two keyers, a CMOS Super Keyer II (behind the paddle) that I built from an article in November 1990 QST, and a ca. 1960 Hallicrafters HA-1 "T.O. Keyer" (above the Drake L-4B). The T.O. Keyer uses six—count them!—vacuum tubes to automatically create precise dots and dashes. How cool is that? Not as cool as I thought it would be. I keep the T.O. around mostly for looks and nostalgia. It has no dot or dash memories, so it does not forgive the slightest timing error from me, the operator of the paddles. Over the decades I have grown used to iambic keyers with dot and dash memories and cannot unlearn my dependence on them.


Comments? Questions?


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