At this point in time, I had access to a reasonable sized shack and garden, both of which I intended to use to maximum effect.
Yet again moving, and into smaller premises, meant the shack size was seriously reduced. In fact it was reduced to two radios, both being the Yaesu FT-857D, often described as a “shack in a box”.
New location – new purpose built shack
My current QTH has a nice large garden so I have taken advantage of this and purchased a nice, good quality wooden shed which is being solely used as my operating shack.
Airlite 62 aviation headset
I have acquired an Airlite 62 aviation headset and modified it for use with my Kenwood TS-850.
This headset is designed and manufactured in the UK primarily for the aviation sector such as the RAF, air traffic control etc. The Airlite 62 is available in many options dependant on customer specification.
The headset I have is monaural, 300 ohm microphone, fitted with RAF style plug without an in-line PTT switch.
Astatic Silver Eagle
In the shack I also have an Astatic Silver Eagle microphone. Normally, this has a very distinctive sound to it due to the crystal microphone element and the built-in pre amplifier.
The crystal element has deteriorated with age to the point where it became unserviceable. Due to the fact that these have not been in production for many years, sourcing a genuine replacement has now become an almost impossible task.
The Audio Processing Rack
In order to improve the quality of the transmitted audio, I have invested in a good quality microphone and a few items of audio processing equipment. Of course, this is my personal shack setup, and other people will have different ideas about what sounds good to them and how to set up their particular choice of equipment.
Baofeng UV-5R VHF/UHF handheld
Another useful handheld radio is the Baofeng UV-5R.
This cheap and cheerful Chinese radio makes an ideal companion when working outside or hiking around rough terrain. The low cost of these radios means that should it get damaged or lost then it really isn’t a major problem.
The UV-5R features 128 programmable channels with priority channel scanning, dual watch and 1750 Hz call tone making it quite comparable to much more expensive radios.
The UV-5R also features built-in VOX (Voice Operated Transmit) for hands-free operation and a high illumination flashlight, neither of which is sported by the Yaesu.
As with most Chinese products, the user guide could be better written or translated.
Until fairly recently, I used MixW for digimodes and logging. Due to it’s ease of use, configuration and the extremely flexible macro capability of the software and very low use of computer resources make it ideal for using with older hardware.
Listening to the radio can sometimes be difficult as a result of external noise or attempting to hear very weak signals. I have two different headsets for this purpose. Firstly, I have a Heil Proset.
To compliment the Kenwood TS-850, I have also purchased a Kenwood MC-60A desk microphone which has a communication type dynamic and unidirectional moving coil microphone element.