The things I like about the shack being below grade is a lack of exterior
noise and a lack of exterior light. The things I don't like about the
basement is a lack of exterior noise and a lack of exterior light.
The ideal part of a basement shack is the accessibility of cables, ease of
cable runs (at least till the sheetrock is on) and the ease with which you
can install AC, including those monster 10/3 for the 240vac outlet.
What makes cabling simple is the accessibility of the rim joist, which in
most homes is the only member you need go through to pass a cable duct (or a
bulkhead, if you're into SPG).
I'm not entirely sure about grounding in a basement (the rigs, that is). To
keep things neat invariably means a longer ground conductor to the rod than
a first-floor shack. One idea that I've had but never checked out, both from
a NEC standpoint and a lightning-protection standpoint, is drilling the
requisite hole in the concrete floor (or wood floor, if you're so lucky) and
driving a rod into the ground below the basement and sealing it back up with
concrete (or not, if you have a framed wood floor). I'm not sure what impact
that would have on your weeping tile installation or if it would be
recommendable from a water-intrusion standpoint, but it was an idea.
Lighting will be a big issue. I'd recommend ceiling flourescents, but only
for those times when you are assembling, disassembling, repairing, etc.
(Basically when you need to blast the area with light for detail work.) For
other times, I'd recommend low-level ambient lighting (dimmable pots,
perhaps) with task lighting to illuminate required areas. It makes for a
very soothing environment, as opposed to having flourescents blasting in
your face for 48 hours. I once spent a day at the Globe and Mail newspaper
in Toronto (I work in newspapers), where they employed such a scheme. It was
much more relaxing than my own paper where we have flourescents on all day
long. At the Globe, most of the ambient lighting was merely spill from task
lighting. The only permanent lights were pots that gently illuminated
trouble areas like intersections in the cube farm. They had flourescent
fixtures in the ceilings that were obviously turned on when the IT guys were
working on computers or cables or such.
In my shack, which is, regrettably, set up for a single position only, I use
track lighting to light pieces of art on the walls for ambient and then a
combination of a scissors-type folding light and a desk lamp to light the
keyboard and controls. Stamina is greatly improved when you don't have to
deal with flourescent flicker.
Anyways, some ideas.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jim Idelson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "CQ-Contest Post" <email@example.com>
Sent: Tuesday, July 22, 2003 6:35 PM
Subject: [CQ-Contest] Contesting from the basement
> We are about to have the basement remodeled. The contest shack will be
> from the first floor to the basement. I am interested in how your basement
> contest shack is setup. What do you like? What don't you like?
> Here are a few questions I'm considering:
> - Are your walls sheetrock or just framed or even less?
> - How do you get your cables in from the outside - and how do you keep
> - What do you use for operating position furniture?
> - What kind of floor covering should we install?
> - What kind of lighting should we use?
> - How many outlets do we really need [110 and 240]?
> - What about heat/AC?
> If this is interesting to you, and you'd like to look at the specifics,
> ask me for the floor plan and a shot of how the cables are coming in now.
> Please copy me and the reflector with your suggestions - I suspect there
> probably sufficient interest for people to want to read your replies!
> Jim Idelson K1IR
> email firstname.lastname@example.org
> web http://www.designet.com/k1ir
> The world's top contesters battle it out in Finland!
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