[CQ-Contest] Love my operating chair

Jim Smith jimsmith at shaw.ca
Fri Mar 15 03:51:38 EDT 2013

You may find some things of interest in my article on Station Ergonomics 
in the, I think, May/June 2009 issue of NCJ.

73, Jim	VE7FO

On 3/13/2013 1:20 PM, Michael Clarson wrote:
> Steve: I have no issues in SSB and CW contests, but in RTTY contests, I
> spend a lot more time looking at the monitor. After a while, neck pain/sore
> neck. Turns out monitor required me to look up slightly (not much) and that
> does it. Lowering the monitor about 4 inches fixed the problem. --Mike,
> On Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 4:07 PM, Steve London <n2icarrl at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Interesting thread.
>> I have a strange contesting pain issue for which I have not yet found a
>> solution.
>> I believe that I do not move my neck enough. I tend to focus
>> straight-ahead on the monitor, and not much else. After a 48 hour contest,
>> the back of the neck is incredibly sore when I move it, and the pain can
>> continue for up to a week after the contest. The pain feels like it is in
>> the skin, rather than deep in the vertebrae. My table is lower than the
>> standard height, and my monitor is as low as I can place it, so that I do
>> not have lift my head upward. I tend to sit upright, not using the back of
>> the chair. (My XYL says I look like a turtle, and my cat frequently
>> provides lumbar support !). Other than this, I have no contest-related pain.
>> Suggestions ?
>> 73,
>> Steve, N2IC
>> On 03/13/2013 08:39 AM, Charles Harpole wrote:
>>> 20 yrs ago, after I totalled up all I had invested in gear, I decided to
>>> invest in myself.  I purchased a Steelcase brand full posture desk chair.
>>> Shoulder hi back, adjustable tilt fore and aft, adjustable up and down,
>>> adjustable hardness of the front seat edge, short arms (away from front of
>>> desk), and a lumbar cushioning rear back.  Five swivel wheels.
>>> I could have bought a good antenna tuner or a Ham-M but this was the best
>>> ham item I own.  It allows my thighs to be horiz, my feet flat on the
>>> floor, or raised on a small stool, and back adjust. too.
>>> Also, I cut the legs for my operating table to TYPING HEIGHT, not desk
>>> height (research on Internet), and put extra feet under the front legs of
>>> my radios to angle them upward.  My logging monitor is at eye line height
>>> and above the radios.  My keyboard is the shorty kind with no number or
>>> arrow keys on the right side, leaves another 6 inches of desk space.  I
>>> would have liked to put the keyboard in a pull out drawer just under the
>>> table, but needed a twoXfour across there to hold the weight of the gear.
>>> My transceiver is at typing table height, with the main knob in line with
>>> my right shoulder.  Being right handed to run the kbrd and Morse paddle
>>> (paddle is to right of rig), my rotor controls are to the left of the
>>> monitor.  I like the HyGain single button  6 pre-sets rotor control model
>>> DCU-1 (note the DCU-2 is not as good but newer).*
>>>     Left and right speakers are separated by 5 ft. and at ear height.
>>>   Manual
>>> tunable amps are on the upper right (right handed) and auto-tune thing is
>>> on upper left.
>>> VOX on ssb with Heil 4 element and headset.  (if you dont like VOX, you
>>> dont have a FT-9000 line of radio... smooth).  Lemon juice drinks, no
>>> coffee, finger food delivered to desk.  Empty gallon jug on floor under
>>> table.
>>> Ant selector is remote sw box slaved to rig.  Computer gets exact rig freq
>>> to N1MM log.   And, that is my only automation.
>>> The posture chair, however, is the most important contest accessory I
>>> have.
>>> 73, Charly K4VUD
>>> *Sadly and strangely, there is no other true and full PRE-SET rotor
>>> control
>>> available.  The best the non-DCU-1 controllers can do is to turn the
>>> rotable knob to the desired bearing and push go.  The latter style means
>>> you must look carefully at the bearing knob for much longer time than
>>> pushing a pre-set button.  Yaesu, listen up  !!!
>>> On Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 2:44 AM, Pete Smith N4ZR<n4zr at contesting.com>**
>>> wrote:
>>>   Many of us will recognize Contester's Crouch - sitting in front of a
>>>> radio
>>>> or a computer screen, head forward, shoulders hunched, ready to pounce.
>>>>    It's instinctive, maybe, but not very healthy.
>>>> For the last dozen years or so, I've had a buildup of calcium on my neck
>>>> vertebrae, pressing on nerves going down to my right arm.  When I sit
>>>> for a
>>>> long time - as in contests -  it can be really painful. After making lots
>>>> of compensatory changes in the ergonomics of my station over the years,
>>>> this fall was disappointingly familiar, but with a new addition - strong
>>>> referred pain in the muscles just inside my shoulder-blade on that side.
>>>> So it was back to the physical therapist again, for more traction and
>>>> electro-stimulation, but this time he suggested I try something else - a
>>>> large lumbar cushion placed vertically in the lower back of my desk
>>>> chair.
>>>>    Because my weight would carried on the cushion rather than where my
>>>> upper
>>>> back rests against the chair, the effect would be to push my lower back
>>>> forward, and shift my shoulders back.  I had been using a small one for
>>>> driving, to help relieve some sciatica, so I figured, why not try it?
>>>> In my case, benefit was immediate and dramatic.  Where an hour or two in
>>>> the chair would produce strong pain, now I can sit for hours with no pain
>>>> at all.  I'm not about to go 44 out of 48 hours like K0DQ and others who
>>>> totally defy aging, but this way I can have all the fun I want out of
>>>> contesting, pain-free.
>>>> The particular cushion I use is by Tempur-Pedic, and is close to 3 inches
>>>> thick.  No particular brand preference here, except that the temperature
>>>> sensitive foam adjusts nicely to spread the pressure across my back.
>>>> And of course, I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV.  YMMV, etc.
>>>> --
>>>> 73, Pete N4ZR
>>>> Check out the Reverse Beacon Network at
>>>> http://reversebeacon.net,
>>>> blog at reversebeacon.blogspot.com.
>>>> For spots, please go to your favorite
>>>> ARC V6 or VE7CC DX cluster node.
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