My goal for the K3WA ham shack was to build a complete single operator two radio (SO2R) ham shack for 160 through 6 meters with sufficient automation to support both contesting and DXing. I wanted two similar radios and amplifiers so that I could reach for and operate each radio in exactly the same manner. I also wanted sufficient automation to be able to control as much of my entire station as possible through my computer to streamline contest operations.
It was quite a challenge to achieve sufficient automation to make my logging software, radios, amplifiers, antennae, rotators, and other accessories all seamlessly integrate and interoperate - but I got there.
The K3WA ham shack is a complete single operator two radio (SO2R) ham shack for 160 through 6 meters.
I control my radios, amplifiers, rotators, antenna switching, filter switching, receive antenna, and band adjustments for my two SteppIR antennas all from my computer.
My two radios were Elecraft K3s, each with an Alpha 87a amplifier. I used an Alpha 8406 for 6 meters which outputs the legal limit. An then another bug bit as I learned about the Flex 6000 series of software defined radios. I sold my K3 radios and most of the peripheral equipment used to make a fully functioning and automated SO2R system and bought a Flex 6300 radio in the spring of 2015. A few months later I traded in the 6300 and bought a Flex 6700. The 6700 is a single radio that does SO2R. In late 2017 I replaced the Flex 6700 with the newer Flex 6600 and the Power Genius (PGXL) amplifier. The 6600 is a SO2R radio in one box. The PGXL is a legal limit SO2R amplifier on one box. Imagine a single radio/amplifier combination that does SO2R with all the switching and controls built in!
When DXing all I need to do is to click on a spot and the transceiver automatically sets itself to the correct mode and frequency, the amplifiers change to the correct band, the automation selected the correct antenna and sets it to the correct frequency, selects the correct filters for the band, and even turns the rotator to the correct heading. All I have to do on the radio itself is adjust the volume control and selectivity and work the station I need.
The same holds true for contesting with the addition of selecting the desired radio. My hands stay on the keyboard which is much more efficient and helps increase my rate.
Of course, the most important item in any contester or DXer's shack in the right coffee cup. Here's mine:
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