Monday, March 18, 2013

News From Amateur Radio W8MDE

After a couple of years operating my amateur radio station from the basement I decided it was high time to move my enterprise above ground.  During the winter season is when I am most active in the radio hobby but this is also the time when my basement gets downright chilly. Lately I've just not wanted to brave the cold and while I do have a small electric space heater it has to run for hours to raise the temperature even a small amount. Besides electric heaters are a huge current draw and my utility bill is big enough.

Last week I spent an hour or two each night after work repainting a spare bedroom of my single level ranch style home.  This room was previously painted a dark olive green and had a few thin spots and scratches showing the lighter colors underneath.  I do like green but not so much for walls in a house.  When I want to be surrounded by green I prefer to be out in the woods.

I have a good friend who runs the local hardware store and when he told me of an upcoming sale on house paint I snipped the coupon and picked up a couple gallons at five dollars off each can.  I run a fairly commercial free blog but I don't mind plugging a good product when I come across one.  Easy Care Platinum Stain Blocking Paint/Primer in One is a wall covering I found that worked very well at hiding the dark green color of my walls.

Doing the edging around the trim and ceiling is my least favorite part of a painting project but it has to be done first and the quicker it's over the faster I can get on the fun part; rollers.  As you can see I don't use drop clothes or painters tape. I just take my time and rely on a steady hand.  I keep a wet cloth handy for the inevitable drips that occur.  Visible in the picture are some small white spots on the rug and floor that look like paint slops but these are actually small bits of a wallpaper border that I had scraped off the wall earlier.

Thursday night I broke out the 3/8" nap roller and got busy. After letting the first coat dry for a day I was excited to roll on the second coat and see how it looked. In the following picture I took Friday night the difference is plainly visible between one and two coats.  The dark green paint of the spare room was a great test for the Easy Care Stain Blocker and I feel it does a pretty good job.

The west side of the room has two windows that let in the sunshine in the afternoon. Another huge benefit of moving my radio station up to this room is when I swivel around in my office chair I have a great view of trees and sky; something definitely lacking from my old location in the basement.

Lastly I noticed that the ceiling was pretty dingy not having a fresh coat of paint in probably twenty years or more.  Using a small diameter roller about 6" long I put a light coat of ceiling paint overhead which freshened up that part of the room and finally cleaned up all my painting gear by 10:30 that night.

Saturday morning I replaced the old A/C outlet and added fresh covers for it and the light switch.  I had to drill an enlarged hole in the floor to pass the coax connector of my feed line and luckily the coax was long enough to easily reach the new operating position.  Disassembling the station and bringing it upstairs as well as removing the legs of my library table and reassembling it all in the new radio room was a process that took nearly four hours.  Once it was all done I kicked back in my chair and thoroughly enjoyed the fruits of my labor.

I'm sure the new arrangement will allow me to get much more use and enjoyment out of my amateur radio station. The advantages of having my operating position on the main floor of my home are many.  Not only do I have a light and cheery location where once Spring arrives I can open the windows and allow the fresh breezes to enter I can also enjoy the sound of Morse Code wherever I'm at in the house.  And most importantly the kitchen is just hop, skip and jump away.  What ham doesn't like a ham and swiss sandwich and a cold beverage to go with his radio?


  1. Hello Mike,

    Nice job! I'm sure you will have many years enjoyment from the new operating station!

    1. Hi John,

      Thanks, I agree! I'm already finding it much easier to fit a little radio into my busy schedule. Even if it is just a little listening with my coffee before work.

      Great job John with your impressive string of DX contacts you've been making. I've been following along with interest.