Ham Radio — The view into my shack

Radio amateurs emphasize on different aspects of our hobby. As different as these aspects are, as much varies their gear and their arrangement. So a radio amateur's website would not be complete without a view into his shack.

Photo: Shack DL1DOW
My shack is more a crafting room than an operating centre. (click to enlarge)
Callsign:   DL1DOW
Operator: Nicolas
Locator: JO41JR
QTH: Paderborn
DOK: O28

Since I was licensed on 17.12.1999, HAM Radio became my favorite hobby. So, peu à peu, there grew my little shack.

All in all, it's not a really big collection of toys, but it's always great fun to play with them.


Photo: detachable control unit of the IC706mkIIG
The detachable control unit of the IC706mkIIG is mounted on a small wood box with a speaker. This saves much space on my desk. (click to enlarge)

My main transceiver is an IC706mkIIG. This allmode rig is usable at all amateur bands from short wave to UHF. Since I have no possibility to build up large antennas, it's usually used only for local repeaters. “Real” radio operation is only possible portable, but for this, the IC706mkIIG is perfectly suited.

To save space on my desk and to get rid of dangling cables, the control unit of this rig has been mounted on a separate speaker box. So there's only one cable connecting the control unit and the transceiver.

Sommerkamp TS-220 DX

Photo: Sommerkamp TS-220DX
Handheld transceiver TS-220DX without its battery (click to enlare)

The handheld transceiver Sommerkamp TS-220DX was my first ham radio transceiver and has been ordered the very day I got my license. It's a twin band transceiver with 5 Watts (external power) or 2,5 Watts (battery powered) only for FM.

Its usability is definitively this rig's weakness. It's almost impossible to configure frequency offset or to send a call tone without the instruction manual.

Its strength, however, is its robustness. This little rig has been my accompany at many field days, fairs, trade shows as well as during rough activity (as can be seen at the scratched surface) without trouble. Only the battery had to be replaced once.

Expert4 #23 - 23cm TRX

Photo: Expert4#23
The Expert4 #23 can be used quite comfortable with its elaborated soft key concept. (click to enlarge)

The Expert4 #23 is a FM transceiver for 1,2 GHz band developed by Günther Borchert DF5FC. It has never been available commercially, but was built at workshops organized by AATiS[1]. This rig offers:

I was lucky to join an Expert4 #23 workshop in february 2004. Since then, this fine rig is part of my shack. Eckart Moltrecht DJ4UF has written a short article[2] about the ambience at these workshops.


Photo: Fifi-SDR
The Fifi-SDR has the footprint size of a credit card. (click to enlarge)

The Fifi-SDR[3] is a pocket-size software defined radio. One could claim that it's larger from inside than from outside, since there is no have to be anxious being blamed by the comparison. As far as I know, it was the first SDR with built-in USB sound card. Also, it's (afaik) the only kit SDR which can decode signals without a PC (even it it's mostly used with PC SDR software).

Despite its built-in pre-selector it's not well-suited for usage on a high-gain antenna. It's obvious that this small receiver has been designed for weak signals on low-gain antennas.


Foto: TNC2Q
The TNC2Q's package inspired lots of my own devices. (click to enlarge)

The TNC2Q is a packet radio modem (terminal node controller, TNC) which has been developed by Rolf Meeser DF9DQ. It supports four built-in baud rates (1k2 AFSK, 2k4 AFSK, 9k6 FSK and 19k2 FSK) which can be even expanded by an internal modem (for example 4k8 HAPN).

It has been distributed as kit or as ready-made device, but is not available any more, but all documentation and schematics necessary for re-build have been fully disclosed[4].

TNC2Q and T7F

Photo: T7F/TNC2Q-Combination
They belong together: TNC2Q and T7F (click to enlarge)

The T7F as a transceiver designed for packet radio on UHF band which has been developed by Holger Eckardt DF2FQ. In my daily use, it has always been used together with a TNC2Q, so it seemed naturally to put both into one case. Also, a 4k8 HAPN modem has been added, so that 2k4 AFSK, 4k8HAPN, 9k6 FSK and 19k2 are possible.

By design, the T7F has no manual control and no status display. An S-Meter has been added to provide some blinkenlights and an audio amplifier gives some manual controls for gefingerpoken. Both have been developed by Tobias Kaboth, DG2DBT[5].


Photo: USB-Packet-Radio Modem AS296
Credit card size packet radio modem (click to enlarge)

This small packet radio modem supports 1200 baud AFSK, 9600 baud FSK and POCSAC. It's available as kit from AATiS[1] under the name “AS 296”. Drivers are only available for 32 bit Windows application FlexNet 32. Its size is its strength. Especially for mobile applications, such as APRS or following a balloon this small device is handy.

more detailed information about this kit… 

TOSI 2000 optical decoupling device

Photo: TOSI 2000
TOSI 2000 optical decoupling device for sound-card-based modes. (click to enlarge)

I never found out what “TOSI” stands for. This device provides galvanic isolation for audio signals between the computer's sound card and a transceiver, based on optocouplers. LED stripes help adjusting the signal levels. Additionally, it offers a VOX, which can trigger the PTT line of the transceiver.

The device has been available as kit including the circuit board and optocouplers.

In the age of USB sound cards and USB decoupling devices, this device has rendered almost obsolete.

more detailed information about this kit…

GSV 3000

Foto: Netzzeil GSV3000
Heavy metal: GSV 3000 (click to enlarge)

This power supply is boring. It provides the necessary power for my shack in the both most conventional and most reliable way, using a few pounds of copper wire and aluminium. I like it.


Photo: LC-Meter
I like those cases with cooling fins. (click to enlarge)

This small measuring device for capacitors and inductors is often a great help. Of course, it's helpful when winding coils, but even more often it helps with unknown capacitors, where the label has been washed or rubbed away.

I purchased this device as kit including the circuit board and a programmed micro controller. By accident (or maybe by luck?) I got a micro controller programmed with a dutch user interface.

more detailed information about this kit…

Component tester

Photo: Fifi-Bauteiletester
This small component tester is called “Fifi-Bauteiletester” and the photo shows one device of the pilot lot, which can be distinguished by the tin-plated contact plate (which is gold-plated at later lots). (click to enlarge)

This device is called “Fifi-Bauteiletester” and is a pocket-size component tester which can test capacitors, coils, resistors, bipolar transistors and FETs. It is based on a project which was called “Transistortester”[6], although it was able to test other components as transistors from the beginning.

The component tester is the perfect use of desktop space. Although its accuracy can not compete against real measurement devices, its versatility helps a lot — especially when its task is identifying whether SMD components picked up from the floor are the same ones which have been dropped down.

more detailed information about this kit…


DL1DOW German Amateur Radio Station