Another Shack Reboot

So – after moving, i was presented with a much smaller space to call my shack. Since my wife was working fomr home, we had to build her some office space. We arranged the space as an extra bedroom with walk-in closet. With this arrangement, she was only using the office during the daytime hours. Rather than build another limited use space that would only see use at night, we compromised – we could share the office, so long as I didn’t affect her work hours.

That being said, I didn’t have room for a trailerload of motorola consoles or anything exotic. I opted for K2DPs console of choice – a 1960’s or 1970’s vintage “Tanker Desk” – the table variety with no side drawers.

They’re generally the right size for most applications, they’re sturdy, and, as a metal desk, they COULD be grounded if one was so inclines (generally, I’m not).

In the past, I’ve used desks like this, and then built shelves out of 2x10s or other heavy lumber. The biggest challenge is then what happens if i want to change things up? The wood shelves, unless built with modular design in mind, are not easy to reconfigure. I have built some with provisions for reconfiguring, and that does work, but then the issue ends up being how things are secured to the shelves.

After some contemplating, I recalled a photo from a friend of mine (Bob Lee, W0GXA)) I sent to Ward Silver for the 2018 ARRL handbook (which was subsequently published under my name, though ARRL errata does correct this… sorry, Bob!)… but I digress. In the photo, the N0NI station utilizes the modular wire rack shelving available from most big box hardware stores. I picked up 2 sets of the smaller shelves from Menards a couple years back when there was a decent rebate on them.

The nice things, aside from being adjustable, is that they are easy to affix things to. Cables can be routed along the pipes easily, a few zip ties will secure small tings in place, and, with some ingenuity, you can hang things under shelves.

As you can see, the shelving doesn’t cover the entire desk – it leaves space for my SB220 amplifier, and other equipment. I considered ways to utilize the second shelving unit I had, but it’s just not a possibility with the size shelving and desks that I have. I believe N0NI uses a larger hall-size folding table as his bases – these are wider, and also a bit deeper than my tanker desk, but I think, in the end, this will work quite well.

One of the goals I had was using my multi-arm monitor stand. Originally, I had used the included desk clamp to secure it to a shelf, which used up a fair amount of shelf space. After a hardware store adventure, and some pondering, I realized that some U bolts could securely clamp the monitor arm post to the post on the shelving. Using some J hooks, i managed to clamp my boom microphone base to the shelving, and, in a similar manner, I bolted a 19″ patchbay panel to the bottom of one of the shelves.

One concern I did have, however, was equipment on the top shelf harnessing gravity to land on me, should it get bumped. To resolve this concern, I put the top shelf on upside down. This takes a bit of finesse, as the shelves are designed to fit the other way (the tubes are wider at the bottom than the top, so they clamp onto the plastic locators).

This is the “post field day, I pulled a bunch of gear out, and am still putting things back” photo… but you get the idea that things are coming together. One thing I DID do for safety, is to secure a ratchet strap from the top shelf down under the desk to a brace – this way, the shelving cannot tip forward.

More to come as the design progresses.

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