The Ham Shack
After essentially being off the HF bands for several years, I erected several low dipoles in 2007. I finally finished working all the U.S. counties that year and started on DXCC. Despite band conditions and low antennas, I've done reasonably well. The dipoles are for 75, 40 (also usable on 12 and 15 meters), 20 (also usable on 17 and 6 meters), and 10 meters.
The heart of the Station 1 consists of a Yaesu FT-890AT transceiver, one of the best little radios I've ever used. This unit is usually run barefoot, but occasionally gets some help from the Ameritron AL-811 amplifier and MFJ-962B antenna tuner. Accessories include an Ameritron ICP-240 In Rush Current Protector for the amplifier, MFJ-784 DSP filter, MFJ-1279 Deluxe Sound Card Radio Interface for RTTY and PSK-31, MFJ-434 Voice Keyer, Ameritron ARB-704, an MFJ-1262 Mic Switch, an MFJ-281 Clear Tone external speaker, Bencher BY-1 paddles, and an Astron RS-35M power supply.
I have not been very active on CW for some time,
however I still enjoy it and sometimes pick up a DX station using it.
It is interesting to run QRP, and while hunting DX I have been a
little more active on CW.
In 2010 I purchased three estate sales, and most of the equipment found in Station 2 came from them. I had always heard what a fine radio the Icom IC-756 Pro III is, and by luck I was able to purchase one. Since the XYL did not want me to hibernate in the radio shack room, we put this radio on a table in the living room corner so we would have more contact with each other during my illness.
Although I had been a Yaesu fan for many years, I have to admit the Pro III is the best radio I've owned. Station accessories include the matching Icom power supply, an Icom SP-20 speaker with filters, Icom SM-20 desk microphone, the matching solid state Icom IC-PW1 amplifier (running 500 watts on 110 VAC) with internal automatic tuner that was from an estate sale and needed repair, MFJ-1279 Deluxe Sound Card Radio Interface, MFJ-492X Menu Memory Keyer for CW, Bencher BY-1 paddles, a Yaesu FT-7800R VHF/UHF transceiver running on an 18 AH battery, a Dell Latitude D-610 laptop for logging, FLdigi software for the digital modes, and last but not least a CDE rotor contol for my Cushcraft MA-5B mimi-beam the club members put up for me on a 20' Rohn 45G tower in April 2013. The rotor control can be moved to any of my three stations as needed, or to Jane's station. The FT-7800R is switchable to a Cushcraft AR-270 VHF/UHF antenna.
Station 3 was put together as a "portable" radio system a few years ago for ARES and Field Day use but it is now sitting beside my hospital bed in the living room. It consists of a Yaesu FT-897D transceiver, MFJ-1279 Deluxe Sound Card Radio Interface, a Dell Latitude D-610 laptop for logging, FLdigi software for the digital modes, an MFJ-945E manual mobile tuner, Bencher BY-1 paddles, an MFJ-281 Clear Tone external speaker, a digital atomic clock, a 40-amp MFJ-1128 power strip with Anderson PowerPole Connectors, and an Astron RS-35M power supply. The CAT cable and cables from the sound card have been extended by 10' to allow for connection to the laptop computer.
While the FT-897D will run on VHF and UHF, an additional 18 AH battery-powered Yaesu FT-5100 VHF/UHF transceiver is also located within reach and is switchable to a Cushcraft AR-270 VHF/UHF antenna. While Station 3 is getting little use as of this writing, it will be ready when needed.
Cushcraft MA-5B Beam
I am now using a Cushcraft MA-5B mini-beam for many of my contacts. Members of the Pueblo West Amateur Radio Club erected it for me in April 2013. You may ask why the beam is so low. Since this will be a "temporary" antenna due to my illness, it will be easy to take down when needed. It also is a bit more stealthy than it would have been at 30'.
The 7-foot boom beam consists of two active elements on 20, 15 and 10 meters, and rotating dipoles on 17 and 12 meters.
While the beam does not have a great deal of gain, it does help some. Combined with the PW-1 amplifier, it works quite well.