Ergonomic guidelines for station design (long)

WD5N%mimi at WD5N%mimi at
Wed Feb 22 09:39:49 EST 1995

from: WD5N at
subj: Ergonomic guidelines for station design (long)
Since the subject was raised and there appears to be some interest, thought
I would pass along some ergonomic guidelines that Texas Instruments (my day
job) uses for workstation design.  As it is intended for people who sit in
front of a computer all day, it seems like it should apply pretty well to
Step 1: Adjusting your chair:
1. Height: thighs should be parallel with floor and heels resting comfortably
on floor.  Knees 90-110 degree angle.
2. Adjust the chair back (if possible) so the contour fits the contour of
your back.  (If not possible, try the lumbar support pillow).
3. Arm rests should not be too high (they shouldn't cause you to "hunch" your
Step 2. Finding the right workstation height:
1. With your arms in a comfortable typing position (relaxed shoulders, arms
hanging loosely at sides, elbows at 90 degree angle, wrists straight or
neutral position), your hands should now be on the keyboard. (see note on
footrests later)
(and remember, as someone else noted, sliding keyboard trays are available
which attach to the underside of your desktop; very handy if your desk is
too high and/or not enough room on a short desktop and it slides out of way
when needed)
Step 3. Correct monitor height:
1. Screen should be 16" to 22" from your eyes.
2. Adjust so the top of the screen is at eye level. Bifocal users may need to
lower it to a comfortable level.
3. Tilt or use a glare filter to reduce glare from overhead lighting.
4. Adjust brightness & contrast controls to ease eyestrain.
5. Green-yellow colors are easiest on the eye.
6. Clean your screen and glare filter regularly for dust build-up.
7. Take down decorations, notes, and other distractions around your screen;
Your eye muscles are straining to focus on these as well.  (hmm, what about
schedule and band opening reminders and inspirational signs like "Think Loud!)
Other areas:
1. Wrist rests: help support the wrist but shouldn't immobilize them (don't
become too dependent and lazy).
2. Footrests:  help support the feet and provide better blood flow through
the legs. Thighs should be parallel to the floor when the feet are supported.
Anything will work: use an old telephone book, two 3-ring binders taped
together, etc.  NOTE: thighs should be parallel to floor whether using a
footrest or not.  This is basically to adapt for other things you can't
adjust.  For instance, you may not be able adjust your workstation height and
chair height to match the previously listed parameters.  If your desk is a
set height, and you have to raise your chair so your arms are at the right
angle for the keyboard, then you may need to add the footrest to get your
thighs parallel again.  Or maybe you just have short legs!
3. Area layout: this should all be obvious, with things you need to look at
or reach for closer than things you don't need access to as often.
4. "Document Holder" - we don't use these, but the ideas should be the same
for other thing(s) besides the screen that you look at often (like a radio):
First find your "dominant" eye (yeah, that's the first I heard of it, too)
by holding up your hands together at arms length and make a "peep-hole" with
your thumbs and forefingers held together (this is easier to do than to de-
scribe - or just take a piece of paper and cut a hole 1 or 2 inches in diameter
and hold it up), now look through the hole at a distant object with both your
eyes open. Without moving your hands, close one eye, then the other. Your
dominant eye is the one with which you continue to see the object (with the
other, you see something else to the right or left of the object).  Your
dominant eye is the one you focus with first when you look at something. The
document holder (or rig) should then be on the same side of the screen as
your dominant eye, and it should be the same distance from your eyes as the
screen so you don't have to refocus to a different distance.  Now, this isn't
always the best setup for radios, if you have  to keep reaching up to tune it
or adjust stuff.  Might work if you have one of those cool remote tuning
controls, or if you can remotely tune from the keyboard (another hint for Tree
and others).  Lots of folks seem to like the rig directly below the monitor,
or slightly to one side so they can rest the elbow on the table while tuning.
Sometimes the keyboard gets in the way of this, but smaller keyboards are
available (as are new keyboards with the keys angled to fit hands better).
That's about it. Others are sure to have little hints, such as standing up
every so often and stretching and moving around.  You really should do this
at least every 30 minutes.  The more often you do it the better you will feel
(and more alert).  No need to stop operating as you do it.
Yeah, I know Trey likes to slouch in his chair with the keyboard in his lap
as he breaks records, and some people like to put their feet up on the table.
(and WB5VZL likes to sleep on the floor under the operating desks during
multi's - go figure).  Whatever feels good.  But remember that while slouching
feels really good at first, it usually isn't good to stay that way too long
(unless of course your chair and station are designed to operate that way -
who needs Herman Miller chairs, get a Lazy-boy!)
Hope this info comes in handy for some of y'all.  Look over past issues of
the NCJ also, good ideas in there.
           73, Dave "Quasimodo" Harper  WD5Natural   <wd5n at>

>From lvn at (Larry Novak)  Wed Feb 22 15:50:30 1995
From: lvn at (Larry Novak) (Larry Novak)
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 95 10:50:30 EST
Subject: C6AHE (K3TLX op) ARRL DX CW Score
Message-ID: <9502221550.AA05242 at>

Call: C6AHE

Operator: Larry, K3TLX

Category: Single Op, Low Power, Unassisted

Score: 3,943 x 298 = 3,516,996


  160    80   40   20  15   10
  367   642  1015 1012 882  85
   53    57    56   58  51  23

  There were 2308 different calls in the log; 17 6-banders.

  Thanks to all 2308 of you -- this was truly an out-of-body experience.


  1. Absolutely everything - what a blast!!!

  2. Saturday morning on 15 and 20 with consecutive full hours with
     rates of 110, 139, 136, 139, 132, 142

  3. Snorkeling the day before the contest. If you've never done it, put
     it on your "things to do before I die" list -- it is one of the
	 most fascinating things I've ever done.

  4. Having my wife say something like: "this is one of the best
     vacations I've ever had - let's do it again"


  1. 8 minutes into the contest the computer died. After I decided not
     to go to the beach and walk to England, I traced it to the AC
	 adapter which apparently bit the dust at the same time as the RF
	 feedback on 20 lit up the light bulb in the lamp that wasn't turned
	 on. That problem was fixed 3 hours before the contest but I didn't
	 notice that the computer was working on battery.  Only lost 20
	 minutes - thank all the gods for the Astron 35 that was in the
	 shack. Computer won't recharge on 13.7 volts but it will run.

  2. My new pet peeve: guys who jump into a pileup and send ? ? cl?

	 I'm sure nobody on this reflector would do this, but this it THE
	 most infuriating thing. I had the computer programmed to send my
	 call after every 3 QSO's and in addition, I sent it if I busted a
	 call and had to send a correction, so it wasn't like I was
	 anonymous. The bad thing about this is that you're running a big
	 pileup and you just completed a QSO ... what's left of your brain
	 has just locked onto a call:

		.-- ...--   DIT DIT DAH DAH DIT DIT    

     and now all synchronization is gone - the pileup is just a wall of
	 sound for about 3 seconds.  The guys who do this always seem to be
	 running 5 KW into a 5 element beam pointed directly at you - for
	 some reason they have big signals.

  3. Second pet peeve: dupes. I must have had 200 dupes. I saw a post
     that attributed some of this to bad packet spots -- sorry: wrong
	 answer. I can see some dupes due to busted calls in your log, but
	 I've seen so many busted packet spots that I think it's a bad idea
	 not to confirm the call yourself.

Anyway, none of this even came close to damaging the fun. Thanks for all
the Q's.

73, Larry, K3TLX

 | Larry Novak                    \-\-\             email:   lnovak at |
 | Century Computing                |                 Tel:   (301) 953-3330 |
 | 1014 West Street                 |          Tel (@NRL):   (202) 404-7682 |
 | Laurel, MD 20707                 |                 Fax:   (301) 953-2368 |
 |                                  |       Amateur Radio:    K3TLX         |
 |                                  |          In DC Area:    147.000-      |

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