Ham Radio Equipment Console

Ham Radio Equipment Console

Equipment Console Raw
Equipment Console Raw

In the year 2000 I moved back to my home town of Tulsa Oklahoma and bought a house. While there, I found a guy on eBay that was selling several rack positions of the old Indianapolis 911 call center at an auction. Indianapolis was upgrading their center and had many positions at the city auction. This guy I found on eBay, bought them all and promptly started selling them on eBay. I emailed him several times before I finally bought them. During that time, he sold two extra 45 degree sections, so when I finally “decided” to buy, there was only two of the four 45’s left that I needed for a full set. So…I ending up buying two full positions sans two 45 degree pieces.

Equipment Console Tulsa
Equipment Console – Tulsa (1x3x1)

After they arrived, I assembled them in a neat [1x3x1] configuration and bolted the other racks upside-down on top of the bottoms to give it a nice turret look. The new console fit really well in my 14×13 front bedroom in the house, as I had enough room behind it to have a two foot breezeway behind the console so I could get to the backs of everything. The room was just wide enough to fit it from wall to wall. The problem was getting behind all that steel. Solution…I put a set of casters on the right side section and didn’t bolt it to the rest of the console. This made it easy to get in behind the rack.

In the mid 1980’s I started got interested in television and video production. I bought a bit of equipment and built a small video edit suite in my apartment. Some of the equipment was consumer gear like the cameras and a couple of the decks, but I did buy a couple of industrial recorders and edit controller. It wasn’t exactly frame accurate, but I did manage to get one of my videos on TV.

While I was building the the Indy console I got off eBay, I also found many different video toys on eBay for what I considered “dirt cheap.” So I incorporated many of them in the new console to give me a full “linear” edit suite sans a digital effects unit (ADO) which I used my computer for.

New Console Setup
New Console Configuration (2×2)

In 2005 I moved to Oklahoma City and the console spent many a month in storage. I finally bought a house in Moore, OK and the console racks picked up new “digs” in the garage of the new house. Over a year later, when I was finally ready to bring the console into the house, the room I was moving it to was much smaller than the large “blue” room in Tulsa. Being only 10×10, the room was much smaller, and there was just no way I could fit it in using the same [1x3x1] configuration as in its previous incarnation. I did some measuring and decided to re-fit it into a [2×2] configuration. I took the two 45 degree sections and bolted them together to make a nice 90 degree middle, and stuck this in the corner of the room. From there I bolted the two sections together and attached them on each side of the middle.

I found a guy on eBay that makes nineteen inch panels for different kinds of radios. He had a pre-made one for my Kenwood TS-570S and my Icom R-7000 receiver. I picked them both up and a couple of blanks. Wow, he really did a great job. If you’re looking for some for your radio, then check him out.
(No, he has no idea I put a plug in for him. I’m sure he would appreciate knowing from you.)

The original desktop could not be used in the new configuration so I had to create something myself. I do not have woodworking equipment, nor am I what I would consider a “carpenter.” But my desire allowed me to build a little desktop that works well, and doesn’t look all that bad to the naive, run of the mill, non-carpenter type person. Due to the configuration of the gear, I decided to build the table tops a little shorter than the original 14″ top because when I was mocking it up, it would put me way out in the middle, away from everything. So, I decided to build the main section in front of the radiosĀ  at 12 inches and the video section top at 8 inches. Since I really don’t use the video for linear editing anymore, I figure the shorter desktop would be fine. So far, I concur with my decision. Since I like lighter wood tones, I decided to make the tops out of oak because I like the way it looks and it is a very durable hardwood. I finished it with a light stain and put a couple of coats of semi-gloss poly to keep it nice.

All in all the new 2×2 configuration is much more cozy. I find it is easier to use to as there just isn’t as much area to have to cover when in use. I actually like the look and feel much better than the old 1x3x1 configuration. It simply “feels” better. I do wish I had put in hardwood flooring before I put it up, and I truly miss being able to walk behind it to access the backs of all the gear. Oh well… I still love using it. In fact, I’m sitting at the console now as I write this post.

Ham Radio Console Assembly Pictures – (2×2 Configuration)

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