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Short Takes #15: Ham Shack or a Museum?

By Dave Jensen, W7DGJ

Thank you to our loyal QRZ readers as the column slowed down a bit over the last couple of weeks in order for W7DGJ to sneak in some vacation time. There are lots of good products stacking up now for review and plenty of editorial topics to get out there, so we'll be back to our normal schedule here very soon.

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As you know, it's hot in Arizona at this time of year. But despite the heat, we still manage to pull off the occasional summer party and backyard barbeque. And since there's nothing more fun than a Ham Radio gathering, I was very excited to visit with Perry (KG7YC) and friends at his beautiful home over the weekend. As you know, when Hams come together, there's usually good burgers nearby while everyone gets to show off the latest and greatest mobile gear they've installed in their truck. The parking lot at Perry's was jam packed; it was nice to see young Hams as well as the old school crew who we can always count on for our local ham events. 

This event was worthy of a feature because I have never seen anything like Perry's station . . .  I wasn't certain whether I was in a ham shack or a museum. You'll find a lot of photos here that will show you exactly what I mean by this statement. Near the location of our barbecue were two stations, both very complete, with Collins on one side and Heathkit on the other. As I wandered around, burger in hand, I noticed a door leading to a small air conditioned room with what looked like the beer cooler inside. Feeling a bit thirsty, I moved closer, but noticed some mysterious heavy duty cabling leading to yet another room . . . I thought I'd already seen the shack, but NO . . . this was the amplifier chamber, a small air conditioned suite for the Kohjinsha KL-1. (Just for kicks, there's a photo from MY SHACK right next to Perry's amplifier. I'll brag a bit and remind you that mine actually opens up and you can serve yourself. I found no way to store cold beverages in Perry's Kohjinsha.)

As I followed the cabling and entered the chamber of magnificence (otherwise known as the operator's position in the "main shack") it was a shock to see one of just about every modern radio, all of them connected through an exotic system of cabling behind the cabinetry. I couldn't even imagine how to get coax and a switching system that would cooperate for this many connection points. As you check out those custom built shelves, you'll note that Perry's other vice (it bleeds over into ham radio) is that he collects classic gear from our combined radio/shortwave/music electronics history. I used to be in the audio equipment business, and I saw in Perry's collection every single consumer electronics "breakthrough" that we had ever announced -- all of it working perfectly, from 8-Track to Laserdisc. I plugged in an 8-Track and listened to the Carpenters while looking over Emerson shortwave radios that were in the condition of just exiting the showroom floor back in the 1940's.

Most readers will note that a few of the items on Perry's shelves are from his early SWL and CB radio days. Nothing is tossed here, but if it's going to sit on Perry's shelves it's going to be working or modified to be better-than-new. I saw old radios from my personal history that had been updated with cool LED's on their formerly dim displays. I was jettisoned back to being a kid again as I ran my hands over a transister radio that had led my introduction to AM DX'ing. It was a phenomenal display, guaranteed to take anyone back to whatever decade they first picked up an interest in radio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a couple of hours of fun and conversation, I sat back with my wife Linda and told her that this is where I wanted to end up someday, surrounded by electronic equipment and with a yard full of animals (Perry's place has miniature horses, pigs, a wonderful pet Cow and more -- all within the city limits.) As I was leaving, Perry surprised me by asking if I wanted to see his shack. Man, you're kidding me . . . something else? Yes, we walked across to his home and his shack there, where WSPR was running on a perfectly normal Yaesu 991 station. I noted that this little add-on to his ham activities was the size of my entire shack at home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a number of interesting photos of Perry's collection that we didn't have room for in the column, and I will add them to the forum discusion below. Any questions? Perhaps I can get KG7YC to join in if someone wanted to ask more about the collection and/or Perry's ham activities.

73 for now,

Dave

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Dave Jensen, W7DGJ

Dave Jensen, W7DGJ, was first licensed in 1966. Originally WN7VDY (and later WA7VDY), Dave operated on 40 and 80 meter CW with a shack that consisted primarily of Heathkit equipment. Dave loved radio so much he went off to college to study broadcasting and came out with a BS in Communications from Ohio University (Athens, OH). He worked his way through a number of audio electronics companies after graduation, including the professional microphone business for Audio-Technica.  He was later licensed as W7DGJ out of Scottsdale, Arizona, where he ran an executive recruitment practice (CareerTrax Inc.) for several decades. Jensen has published articles in magazines dealing with science and engineering. His column “Tooling Up” ran for 20 years in the website of the leading science journal, SCIENCE, and his column called “Managing Your Career” continues to be a popular read each month for the Pharmaceutical and Household Products industries in two journals published by Rodman Publishing.


Articles Written by Dave Jensen, W7DGJ

This page was last updated July 18, 2023 05:17