Monthly Archives: November 2014

Minimalist Ham Shack

Well its is not likely the smallest ham shack on earth but it does take up just a little space on my Workstation. I mounted the antenna switch for the discone on the riser of my desk. One side feeds my rtl-sdr dongle which I use to view the HF bands with. The other side is connected to my Baofeng UV-5R HT which is now my VHF/UHF base station. I connected it to a 12V power supply using a car adapter. The radio is mounted to my desk riser using a car mount.

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My Antenna “Farm”

Here are the two antennas I am using for my Ham Setup. First the Discone for VHF/UHF reception mounted on a 15 foot PVC pipe mast:

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Here is a section of the PVC mast and end fed wire HF antenna:

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Neither one of these is visible from the front of the house so there is a certain degree of “stealth”

Homemade Feed Panel

Here’s a picture of the homemade feed panel I made. I used a 1×4 cut to the length of my window. I cut out a small opening using a jigsaw and then sprayed the face with a moisture sealer. The opening is covered with a piece of Lexan. I drilled three holes in the Lexan for the cable connectors. There are two connectors for antennas and one for ground with space for at least two more connectors. I used silicone caulk around the edges of the Lexas to seal it. The edge of the panel was wrapped in weatherstripping and mounted on the windows sill. Works prefectly!

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A Baofeng Base Station

I am planning to convert one of my Baofeng HT radios to a 2m & 70cm base station. I have an adapter for the discone antenna feedline that fits the Baofeng antenna mount. I have installed a separate handheld microphone to the HT. I have a 12V car adapter for the Baofeng on order which I plan to connect to my HF rig’s 12V power supply. This replaces the battery on the HT. Finally plan to put the HT in a car hands free cell phone mount somewhere on the desktop. SInce this shares the Discone with my RTL-SDR setup I will have to use a manual switch to use the base station.

Here’s a view of my radio equipment on my desktop. Not neat (yet) but ultimately it will not take up much space on my desktop.

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RTL-SDR as a Panadapter

My Yaesu FT-450D is connected to my PC via a serial to USB cable I pulled off of Amazon. I am using Ham Radio Deluxe ver 5.24.0.36 to interface the Radio with the PC. So far this is working well. I like the log capability built into HRD.

What I was really hoping to pull off was to use a RTL-SDR dongle to provide panadapter/SDR like features to operating the FT-450D. What I did not want to do was open up my brand new FT-450D and tap into the IF output. That would have been the highest performance method but would have voided my warranty. So I can’t:

  1. Access my Radio’s IF output directly
  2. Use the same antenna that I am using on the FT-450D as I have no way to switch for transmit using the dongle.

What I do have is the broadband discone antenna that I plan to share between an RTL-SDR setup and with my Baofeng HT as a 2m Base station (more on that later). The discone antenna is wired through a manual switch and uses an adapter to go from SO-239 to an f-connectors. I then use a three way splitter to feed three individual dongles.

One dongle is connected to an upconverter and provides DC-25Mhz reception. The other two are 25Mhz to 1.8Ghz reception. I plan to use two ultimately with Unitruncker to use as a scanner. For now I just have the one hooked up to test.

I am using HDSDR software with the HF dongle. HDSDR has a DDE feature which allows it to be controlled by Ham Radio Deluxe software. The result is that when I change frequency or mode on the radio it updates HDSR to match. Now when I see a signal on the waterfall I can click on it and it changes the radio frequency to match. This seems to work well down to the 20m band.

UPDATE: Works well down to 40m and takes some adjustment to the display to see anything on 80m.

I am running SDR# on the other dongle. This one tuned manually and lets me monitor VHF/UHF bands while using the HF radio. Here is a screen shot of the whole thing running:

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Unfortunately, the wiring is a mess:

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