[CQ-Contest] Stacking - it's not just for yagis

k8cc k8cc at mediaone.net
Wed Jun 27 02:10:54 EDT 2001

I've been doing SO2R since 1981 and have tried almost every imaginable 
layout.  Several technology milestones have affected this:

- In 1981 I was using Drake C-Lines, which complicated the station layout 
because there were two boxes (RX/TX) rather than one.  Some thought was 
wasted on putting the transmitter away from the receiver, but this taught 
lesson #1: the rig layout needs to be somewhat "normal" so that the basic 
functionality of the rig (i.e., access to the rig features to make QSOs) is 
not impaired.  Eventually this arrangement grew to three C-Lines and 
dedicated amplifiers on certain bands to minimize the required 
band-changing.  The advent of solid state transceivers arriving in the K8CC 
shack (in my case, IC-765s) provided opportunities to reduce the square 
footage of gear footprint on the desk.

- The advent of computer logging (1988 in my case) just as the K8CC C-Line 
era was ending threw another monkey wrench into the plan.  Lesson (or 
perhaps, question) #2 became: WHERE DO YOU PUT THE MONITOR?  This somewhat 
drives where you put the radios and other accessories and controls, which 
furthermore drives the location of the keyboard with respect to the radio 
front panel controls.

There seems to be three basic configurations:

1) Radio #1 to the left, radio #2 to the right, monitor and keyboard in the 

2) Radio #1 and #2 next to each other in the middle, monitor above radios, 
keyboard in front of radios.

3) One radio stacked on top of another, with the keyboard and monitor to 
one side.

I really would like to do #1 or #3, but either of these approaches tends to 
force you to operate the radio with one hand as K3BU pointed out.  Maybe 
that's OK for some locales where the bands are in your favor and you can 
just run, run, run and put QSOs in the computer.  However, out here in the 
midwest a lot of receiver fiddling is necessary and two hands makes it that 
much easier.  So #2 is the setup for me.

There are a couple of details which might improve #2.  A custom desktop 
where the radios slope down reduces the distance the monitor is above the 
desk.  Another thing I'd like to try is to cut out the table top and recess 
the keyboard down into the desktop to improve access while reaching across 
to "two hand" tune the radios.  Some commercially made computer desks do this.




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