This is the nerve-centre, the
Station Operations Console
for ZL2iFB and ZM4G (well OK
then, it’s my desk):
The diminutive rig at centre stage is an Elecraft K3. It sounds lovely on the Bose hi-fidelity
computer loudspeakers, lightweight Sennheiser PC230 headset or (in contests) Sennheiser noise
-cancelling headphones. I use a curvy wireless keyboard and mouse on the PC to reduce the
desktop clutter (relatively speaking). The LK550 linear amplifier to the right is now retired in favour
of an Elecraft KPA500 whose silent QSK, quiet fan and instant band changes compensate for the
less-than-full-legal-limit output. The Bencher paddle and MorseMachine are my trusty companions
for CW. The AC voltmeter to the left of the monitor lets me monitor the rural mains supply.
There’s a big pile of QSL cards waiting to go to the bureau - I send literally hundreds or thousands
at a time, a couple of times a year.
Most of my gear comes “pre-loved” from eBay or NZ’s equivalent, TradeMe, or is built from kits or
from my junkbox. The upside is that I can afford some decent stuff. The downside is waiting
patiently for it to appear on the market, then building it and keeping it going. To me, construction
and maintenance are just as enjoyable as operating.
Just out of shot are my soldering iron, benchtop vice and hand tools, the control box for the
remote antenna switch and other “stuff”. There’s a pair of PRS (470MHz FM) walkie-talkies
somewhere nearby - useful to keep in touch with Deborah when I’m up the tower hoisting aerials
or out in the paddock laying radials. At last, I’ve found a use for microphones and ~70cms!
The kit’s all very nice but by far my most valued possession is a sense of hearing finely honed to
about 400-700Hz. I'd trade the rest of my station to keep that.
"I hear radio waves in my head ... radio waves, radio waves,
hopeful radio waves, dopeful radio waves, radio waves,
Russian radio waves, Prussian radio waves, Eastern radio
waves, Western radio waves, testing radio waves, one two,
one two, radio waves, getting through to you, Morse code
radio waves, tobacco road radio waves, South to Paloma radio
waves, Oklahoma City radio waves, sitting pretty radio waves,
nitty-gritty radio waves. Radio waves."
Roger Waters, Radio K.A.O.S.