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[CQ-Contest] Contesting from the basement

Subject: [CQ-Contest] Contesting from the basement
From: k3pp@ptd.net (Glenn O'Donnell, K3PP)
Date: Thu Jul 24 11:56:50 2003
This is the most interesting thread to appear on this reflector in a LONG
time (thanks Jim!).

Hal's issue with cold feet is well noted.  A concrete floor is a massive
thermal mass that will eventually overcome all of the insulation you can put
on your feet.  I have raw concrete underfoot. Of course, in the summer, it
works out pretty well (my dog and I LOVE the basement in the summer!).  I
like the raised floor idea and will likely try that in my next QTH that we
are currently trying to get built. I have a relatively small operating room.
It gets quite warm from all the hot air (both from the amp and the op!), but
my feet still get cold. Despite the cool floor, A/C is still needed in the
summer for the same hot-air reason. Carpet is warm and attractive, but awful
when you drop small parts (as has been noted).

This "aesthetic vs functional" issue applies to several aspects of this
topic.  My operating desk is homebrew and big (3' x 8') and my best decision
was to position it about 3 ft from the wall.  It doesn't look good (the XYL
hates it), but it has saved me SO much time when I change things around. I
grew frustrated with the desk up against the wall. I highly recommend the
"ugly but functional" approach if you can clear it with the "family zoning
officer".  I'm lucky enough to have one that could care less what I do with
my basement retreat, as long as I don't burn the house down (like I almost
did during the 2001 PA QSO Party! - see
http://www.qsl.net/w3ha/illuminator/archive/2001-11/, also in the Sep/Oct
2001 NCJ).

Wiring also works more flexibly when you don't try to tidy it up too much.
I've managed to keep the wiring (both electrical and coax/rotor/switching)
neat enough without embedding it into the walls.  Power via external conduit
is both easy and safe. For other cabling, find some D-rings or cable tray
(if you're lucky enough to find some) that is commonly used in computer data
centers or communications rooms.  It makes cabling neat, yet flexible, but
it's generally not going to meet commonly accepted aesthetic standards.
Cabling run overhead or along the wall (outside, not inside) is my personal
preference. Anything under a raised floor is more trouble.  I learned this
when I ran some data centers.  Under the floor looks better, but it's a pain
in the butt.  A funny anecdote about wiring: My hero K3II blurted when we
were once rearranging his M/M station, "Wireless, my ass!"  How true!

I run my cables into the house through a 4" PVC pipe with a 45 degree elbow
outside and drip loops to keep the rain outside.  Inside, I have the SPG
panel with all cables running through PolyPhaser arrestors. I REALLY like
the idea raised in this thread about the ground rods through the floor.  The
next QTH will have these installed BEFORE the floor is poured. Great
concept, guys!

On the topic of looking outside, I agree that it's good to have a view, but
I also want to minimize the distraction sometimes.  K3II has a big picture
window right next to his main operating position (obviously a walk-out
basement). It is gorgeous to operate there. I must admit, though, that I've
been distracted by the weather (both good and bad) and wildlife frolocking
outside his place. VE4XT already noted the double-edged sword of the outside
view (or lack thereof). One truly positive aspect of a view is actually
seeing the weather conditions. My basement has a limited view outside and it
helps to drive the decision to shut down if a storm gets too bad.  The
static crashes tell you it's out there, but the eyes tell you it's too darn
close. One good thing about no view out is that there is no view in.  When
unwelcome people drop by to visit (i.e., to interrupt the rate), they can't
see you.  You just keep running, oblivious to their presence (and better
yet, them to yours).  :-)

I agree with the consensus on lighting.  Indirect, soft, incandescent
lighting is best for long operating.

VY 73 de Glenn K3PP

----- Original Message -----
From: "Hal Offutt" <Hal@japancorporateresearch.com>
To: "Jim Idelson" <k1ir@designet.com>; "CQ-Contest Post"
Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2003 6:06 AM
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Contesting from the basement

> Hi,
> As many have pointed out, there are some advantages to having your shack
> the basement.  But I used a basement shack for many years and I'm very
> to have finally escaped.  I won't do it again if I can help it.  There
> two things that I really disliked:  cold feet and no view of the outside.
> don't know if my place was unique, but after a few hours my feet would
> really get cold, and this is not a nice thing to have during a 48-hour
> contest.  I tried all sorts of things - special slippers, boots, thick
> heaters, raised platform, etc. but nothing completely solved the problem.
> N2MG's idea of putting in a raised floor sounds like it would be worth the
> trouble if you have enough overhead.
> With respect to the view, you just don't realize how nice it is to be able
> to look outside and see trees, grass, rain, sky, snow, autumn leaves, etc.
> until you can't do it any longer.
> Just a couple of things to think about.  Good luck with your project.
> 73,
> Hal W1NN
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Jim Idelson" <k1ir@designet.com>
> To: "CQ-Contest Post" <cq-contest@contesting.com>
> Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 2003 8:35 AM
> Subject: [CQ-Contest] Contesting from the basement
> > We are about to have the basement remodeled. The contest shack will be
> moved
> > from the first floor to the basement. I am interested in how your
> > 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
> them
> > neat?
> >   -  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,
> please
> > ask me for the floor plan and a shot of how the cables are coming in
> >
> > Please copy me and the reflector with your suggestions - I suspect there
> is
> > probably sufficient interest for people to want to read your replies!
> >
> > 73,
> >
> > Jim Idelson K1IR
> > email    k1ir@designet.com
> > web    http://www.designet.com/k1ir
> > ---------------------------------------------------------------
> >     The world's top contesters battle it out in Finland!
> > THE OFFICIAL FILM of WRTC 2002 now on professional DVD and VHS!
> >        http://home1.pacific.net.sg/~jamesb/
> > ---------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > CQ-Contest mailing list
> > CQ-Contest@contesting.com
> > http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/cq-contest
> >
> ---------------------------------------------------------------
>     The world's top contesters battle it out in Finland!
> THE OFFICIAL FILM of WRTC 2002 now on professional DVD and VHS!
>        http://home1.pacific.net.sg/~jamesb/
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