K1TTT Technical Reference

Subj:   Re: Single/multi antenna switching??
Date:   95-10-11 21:44:08 EDT
From:   km9p@is.net (Bill Fisher)
Sender: owner-cq-contest@tgv.com
Reply-to:       km9p@is.net (Bill Fisher)
To:     AA4NC@AOL.COM
CC:     cq-contest@tgv.com

>I am looking for an improved method of switching between two antennas and
two
>radios for a single op/multi radio setup. I would like to be able to access
>either antenna from either radio, and if possible, be able to use both
>antennas on a single radio. 


Here is what I am doing... same as WM5G and which I think is the most ideal
situation as a single op.

    Radio #1                          Radio #2
      |                                 |
      |                                 |
  Top Ten Devices                   Top Ten Devices
   6 Pos Switch
  that follows the
 radio to each band


The six outputs of each Top Ten Devices box feeds a 2 position Daiwa manual
switch.

               
  160M Pos Radio #1 -----------
                        2 pos Switch ---------> To 160 antenna or switch.
  160M Pos Radio #2------------     

          
You leave all the switches thrown to the multiplier radio since it's gonna
be the one doing the moving.  When the CQ radio moves, you have to throw 2
manual switches.  Very easy.

Now controlling your transmitter...  You either use one 2 position switch
and switch which radio gets the keying line (crappy way).  Buy N6TR's
program and become very good at it (I can't get used to it).  Or...

Use 2 computers and 2 radios.  Control the TX of the CQing radio by having
the PTT on the mult radio drive the transverter input of the CQing radio.
On the Icoms this takes 12V to switch in the transverter which drops the
output of the radio.  NA/CT is still sending your CQ message, but you aren't
transmitting.  You are also using less energy concentrating on the timing of
your calls on the mult radio.  That's how I do it.

73... Back to net.



Subj:  Two Radio Control Box Date:  Fri, Jun 2, 1995 10:26 AM EDT From:  jayk@hpfcla.fc.hp.com X-From: jayk@bits.fc.hp.com (Jay Kesterson) Reply-to: jayk@hpfcla.fc.hp.com To: KA9FOX@aol.com THE ORIGINAL QUESTION: I plan to finally build a control box for using two radios single op. Was thinking of something very simple like:  1. A three position switch for receive audio that would give (A) run rig     in both ears  (B) one rig in each ear  (C) second rig in both ears  2. A two position switch for xmit to switch the mic/footswitch/keyer plus     maybe a momentary pushbutton switch that switches the mic/etc to     the second rig.  ?. On the second rig are you using a auto tune amp, manual tune amp or     no amp at all??? Is this OK or have I overlooked something? What are you using and why? I saved Tree's post from sometime back and thats about the only input I have so far. Please reply direct to me and I will post a summary. 73, Jay K0GU                 jayk@fc.hp.com ****************************************************************************** THE REPLIES: ****************************************************************************** (The following is an article scheduled for publication in the Texas DX Society monthly newsletter, The Bullsheet. Please credit TDXS and the author if you distribute or republish it. Thanks, Joe, W5ASP) Two-Radio Headphone Switch de Joe, W5ASP The ability to listen to either one or both of two radios is easy to implement. It requires only a switch (or switches), an assortment of connectors, shielded audio cable and an enclosure. A simple way to do this is to visit the local Radio Shack store with the following shopping list. Parts List: 1    Stereo Audio Source Selector       #42-2110  $ 14.95 1    Stereo Y-Adapter (2 RCA plug       #42-2471  $  3.79      phono to one 1/4" stereo jack) 1    Audio Cable Set (Four 3 ft cables  #42-2309  $  5.79      w/ RCA plugs @ end; color coded) 2    RCA/RCA Y-Adapter (2 RCA plugs to  #42-2435  $  5.58      single RCA jack) 2    Stereo Y-Adapter (2 RCA jacks to   #42-2477  $  5.18      single 1/4" stereo plug)                                             TOTAL $ 35.25 (Note: Though some may think this a bit expensive, consider that there are over 30 connectors and 14 lengths of audio cable plus a "box" to prepare.) Assembly Instructions Definitions      Stereo (1/4" plug & Jack)           Circuit 1 - Tip           Circuit 2 - Ring           Common    - Shell      Radios           Right - Radio 1 - Mult           Left  - Radio 2 - Run      Headphone (Stereo)           Right Speaker           Left Speaker      Selector (2 RCA jacks @; Left and Right)           OUT           AUX 1 - Radio 2 (Left)           AUX 2 - Both Radios (1 @ headset speaker)           AUX 3 - Radio 1 (Right) Procedure 1. Attach the Stereo (Jack) Y-Adapter to OUT. (The RCA plugs can be swapped later to select L/R speaker) 2. Attach RCA/RCA Y-Adapter plugs to AUX 1 and AUX 3. 3. Attach Stereo (Plug) to Headphone Input of each Radio. (Mark the RCA jacks as to which goes to the Tip and which the Ring.) 4. Connect Yellow RCA (Dual Plug) cable from AUX 1 to Left Radio (preferably the Tip RCA jack). 5. Connect Green RCA (Dual Plug) cable from AUX 3 to Right Radio (the Tip RCA jack). 6. Connect Black RCA (Dual Plug) cable to AUX 2 Left jack. Connect the other end to the remaining RCA jack on the Left Radio, i.e. the Ring jack. (Same adapter as the Yellow cable). 7. Connect Red RCA (Dual Plug) cable to AUX 2 Right jack. Connect the other end to the remaining RCA jack on the Right Radio, i.e. the Ring jack. (Same adapter as the Green cable). Operation      1. AUX 1 switches Radio 2 (Left) to the Stereo Headset, both speakers.      2. AUX 3 switches Radio 1 (Right) to the Stereo Headset, both speakers.      3. AUX 2 switches Radio 2 (Left) to Left Stereo Headset speaker and         Radio 1 (Right) to Right Stereo Headset speaker. I find that the Audio Selector Box is large enough that I don't have to chase it around the operating table as I did my "homebrew" dual-radio switch box. Plus I can rest my left hand on it as I CQ on Radio 2 and tune for mults on Radio 1. Comments: 1. Once the station layout is set, use tie-wraps to tidy up the audio cables. 2. If you already have plenty of audio jumper cablesy make tracing connection a lot easier. Four (4) more grey cables running around the operating table can really add to the confusion! 3. Yes, I know a multi-pole toggle switch will also do the job. But I like the "feel" of the push buttons, as I can sense by feel which one I want without looking at the selector box. Plus they are easier to manage with my large, clumsy hand. ****************************************************************************** from AA6MC My new control box uses an ON-ON-ON switch for headphone switching that gives the results you described.  I also wired a 5000 ohm pot (with an "off" switch) across the headphones to add some mix which I've found useful sometimes. I switch footswitch, keyer, and both the hot and ground microphone leads.  I had a 4PDT switch anyway.  I found it necessary to separate microphone ground from PTT ground throughout the system to avoid hum.  I'm using a Belden cable that has two separately shielded twisted pairs within one cable jacket. I have only one amplifier.  Rig A is the one with the amplifier, rig B is the "barefoot" rig.  I use a manual crossover coax switch (from Surplus Sales in Nebraska) to switch both rigs to both antenna sets.  Antenna set A is 80/30/20 and 10 meters, antenna set B is 40 and 15 meters.  Both antenna sets have a coax switching box (Ameritron) at the top of the tower.  I have only the one tower, and I have two coax runs to the top. I have two Top-Ten control boxes that are going to be integrated to switch antennas with the rig, and I have a Dunestar filter that also needs to be switched with the rig.  When I get a second amp I won't have to switch antennas, and things will get simpler.  But for the short term antenna selection is a manual operation. I've got a lot to learn about how to use two rigs.  It isn't as easy as I thought it would be when I started. I got a lot of these ideas from W6QHS. ****************************************************************************** from N6TV N6BT designed this one, and I love it.  Two small toggle switches, mounted at right angles on the right side of an inclined box.  Used with left hand. Bottom switch (left/right):  Switches footswitch, keyer, mic, headphones                              between left rig and right rig. Top switch (up/down):  UP = listen both (left in left ear, right in right).                      DOWN = normal (both ears follow the other switch). You have to use it to appreciate it. ****************************************************************************** >From KR0Y Sounds about right to me. 2nd amp as autotune nice but not necessary. ****************************************************************************** from K1DG My box is basically what you describe (and Wiz described again in the NCJ article about his oepration from here in March). If you do the "left radio in left ear, right radio in right ear" trick, you'll find that you like it a lot more by putting a resistor across the switch so you actually get both radios in both ears, but a louder left radio in the left ear and louder right radio in the right ear. This suggestion came from non-tech social-worker KC1F, by the way, and has saved my sanity. I use a second amp for the second rig. If you switch the mic line, make sure you switch both the hot and ground leads, or you will end up with hum, RF feedback or worse. ****************************************************************************** from KJ4VH Jay, I built a box that I think does exactly what you're talking abt.  I started with the schematic of K8CC's box that was in NCJ a few years ago (maybe '89 or '90).  Anyway, I took Dave's design and made some improvements to it (at least I consider them improvements).  For example, I added a Stereo/Mono switch that allows you to put a radio in each ear xmting on. P.S.:  I also replaced the multi-pole switch in Dave's design with relays.  It might not be as reliable in the long term, but it's certainly much easier to flip the little toggle switch than to crank a hefty wafer switch thousands of times in one weekend! ****************************************************************************** from K7GM      Just a few comments from one who has started to mess with the two radio setup.  Bear in mind that I am running no amp on either radio, so the amp switching stuff is not an issue.  Someday I may run 220 to the computer room/hamshack, but even then I will probably not have an amp on the second radio.  Remember, the second radio is for those extra Qs, not to run em.  An amp isn't a necessity.      My headphone switching box is a six position switch (only three used) with dual contacts for each position.  I use stereo earphones and have the box set up so the left position puts both ears on the left radio (the mult radio); the center position puts the left radio in the left ear and the right radio (run radio...if you can call a barefoot setup a run radio) in the right ear; and the right position puts the right radio in both ears.  It is best to set it up such - easy visual and aural identification of what is what.      I have another box which switches the keyer and computer key line from one radio to another.  It is a simple toggle switch set on its side so that when it points left it goes to the left radio and when right goes to the right one.  The key switching is complicated because my main radio is a TS940 and the second one is a TS830.  One is positive keying and the other is negative.      I also have a couple of antenna switching boxes.  One is a standard Ameritron box which switches between 5 antennas.  The other is homebrew which will take any antenna and put it to the secondary rig or to the Ameritron box (which then goes to the primary rig).  This setup allows me to have any antenna on either rig (so the secondary rig is not limited to some super crummy antenna - compared to the semi crummy antenna on the main rig).      The only problem I have is the interference between rigs.  I don't have any stubs or such (since either rig can be on any antenna and on any band the switching could be a nightmare).  In addition, the homebrew box doesn't have any special shielding and the relays are something from my junkbox.  Do you have any ideas?      Oh yeah.  I always use QSK when using the 940.  Greatest thing since sliced bread. ****************************************************************************** from AB6FO I wrote an article for NCJ on my switch which appeared in the Nov/Dec '93 issue....... If you use CT, you may want to wait on the design of the two radio switch, as Ken is putting two radio control into version 9.?.  If you can use two parallel ports, one for each radio, for sending CW, then you don't need to switch the keying line. Same for the RS-232 control. I am on the list to beta test the version, and I figure I will need to re-engineer the switch to accommodate the program. Using two radios sure is fun! ****************************************************************************** from W6QHS I use (2) x TS-950/Alpha 87 with all antennas automatically switched by control lines that 950 uses for antenna tuner bandswitching...I can be on any band in just a second or so, and it has been fun to use over the past few years. The switch box uses a special 3-position toggle switch for the receive audio...it is called ON-ON-ON, and in the middle position the stereo headphones are connected left ear to left rig and right ear to right rig... if you want a quasi-stereo effect, just put a 150 ohm resistor PTT lines of the finals, so I can concentrate on the S&P radio when the CQ radio is on autopilot, but I haven't mastered this setup yet. For transmit, I use a 4PDT switch to switch mic, mic return, PTT and key line...I use 2 x shielded twisted pair, with one pair for mic and return, one pair for PTT and return (footswitch), all shields tied together...big problem is hum from ground current of rigs, even with them all tied together with braid...I may need to break one of the shields and connect it through RF capacitor to keep RF ground, but not sure...it's good enough for contest... A/B box is a good place to have extra mic and headphone connector for others to listen...until I used the twin shielded twisted pair, I had RF problems that wouldn't go away with ferrite beads or anything. The nice part of this setup is that, unless you want the automatic listen- on-other-radio-when-xmit, it requires no relays or power...paddle switches would be ideal, but I haven't found any yet...because you can get cross- eyed getting the polarity and sense of the receive audio right, I would recommend building the thing with clip-leads first, then solder it up... no shielding required for the receive side lines, and I use a plastic box for the whole thing...you can get ready-made 2 x RCA to Stereo Plug cables to connect the box to the receiver phone jacks, and you need to make your own adapter cables for the mic. side...I use 5-pin DIN at the box and standard mic. connectors at the rig...if you want to use DVP the box is a good place to wire it in also....... That's all there is to it, and even if you don't get more Q's it feels like you are doing more, and it relieves the boredome of 70%-duty-cycle CQing. ****************************************************************************** from WB5VZL :  1. A three position switch for receive audio that would give (A) run rig :     in both ears  (B) one rig in each ear  (C) second rig in both ears yep this is the way to go - I would use a toggle switch - so that you have feed back about what position it is in without having to look at it. :  2. A two position switch for xmit to switch the mic/footswitch/keyer plus :     maybe a momentary pushbutton switch that switches the mic/etc to :     the second rig. on the mic lines you need to use relays and switch the ground with the hot - if you try to use common grounds on the mic lines you will have HUM.  float the mic ground and hot above the chassis ground on the box - and you will not have hum. :  ?. On the second rig are you using a auto tune amp, manual tune amp or :     no amp at all??? manual tune amp - and 87a would be nice - esp for chasing packet spots - but if you are just tuning another band it is not a big deal. i am going to write up my 3 radio switch box for the ncj - it didnt make the last deadline - but maybe next. ****************************************************************************** from AA5B > ?. On the second rig are you using a auto tune amp, manual tune amp or >    no amp at all??? No amp at all!  In fact, I usually don't have much of an antenna on the second radio either . . . just an R4 vertical or a multi-band dipole system. ****************************************************************************** from K5GN > Was thinking of something very simple like: > 1. A three position switch for receive audio that would give (A) run rig >    in both ears  (B) one rig in each ear  (C) second rig in both ears You have the right idea, but I found it better to use two two-position switches, one for each ear, side by side on a small plastic box that sits next to the keyboard (right hand).  The pair of switches functions better for me than a rotary switch.  (Maybe a three position toggle switch could be better...hmm.)  Easier to switch quickly for my slow hands and quitwitch for the tx audio and footswitch as well, but my box is for CW only (I don't push it enough on phone to worry about two radios). > ?. On the second rig are you using a auto tune amp, manual tune amp or >    no amp at all??? Man, you use whatever you got.  In SS it doesn't take much to get a CQer's attention with the second rig.  The better the second rig works, the faster you get back to the first rig...especially in the DX contests. The thing I wish I had done better when I built my boxes is to have separated the ground or return lines from the shields.  The shields should have been grounded at the radio, with twisted pairs for each of the circuits, switching both the hot and return lines.  Since I used the shields as common return lines and they are all connected together, I have some hum problems/common mode problems...sometime I may redo it all, but not this fall, probably. ****************************************************************************** from N0AT I've used a control box for two radios during the SS for three years now. Every year I've made some modifications based on previous years operation. This is what I have found: > 1. A three position switch for receive audio that would give (A) run rig >    in both ears  (B) one rig in each ear  (C) second rig in both ears.   The option of one rig in each ear is seldom used. I do use it to break the monotony on Sunday afternoon.  Normally the bands are too crowded, the QRM from both ears covers up both of the signals.   One item that is a MUST, is a latching relay to automatically switch the receive audio between the radios.  This relay (3PDT - DPDT for audio & SPDT for latching) is wired in series with the manual switch.  The control is connected to the antenna relay (linear amp keying line), and enabled with a button near the S&P radio.  You have to operate semi-break in. Now you will be able to automatically listen on the S&P radio whenever the run radio is transmitting. > 2. A two position switch for xmit to switch the mic/footswitch/keyer plus >    maybe a momentary pushbutton switch that switches the mic/etc to >    the second rig.   You also need to consider how to interface the radios to your computer, at least until CT-9 is updated to handle this chore.  I use an IC-765 for the run radio, and an IC-735 for the S&P radio. But I set up both radios as if they were 735's (with the switches in the 765), and set up the software to interface to a 735. My two position switch for xmit has an additional pole, which switches the computer interface line (from the back of each radio, before the level shifter).  Now, whenever I hit the ENTER key on the computer, it takes the band info from the radio that I am currently transmitting on. > ?. On the second rig are you using a auto tune amp, manual tune amp or >    no amp at all???   I use no amp at all. ****************************************************************************** 73, Jay  K0GU                  jayk@fc.hp.com

At the end of 1996, I queried the reflector about the equipment layout of
single op, two radio stations. Many thanks to K1KP, K1VR, W1KM, WZ1R, KE3Q,
AA4GA, KG5U, K6LA, K7FR, K8CC, WA8ZDT, K9SD, KO9Y, W9RE and N0AX for taking
time to reply. A short summary of the replies follows. I'll be happy to
send anyone who requests it the long summary, which contains the detailed
replies
for each question.

73 de Bruce, WA7BNM   (bhorn@netcom.com)

Question 1: Describe how you currently have your transceivers, keyboard(s),
computer monitor(s) arranged?

  11 respondents have both the run and mult transceivers in some sort of side-
  by-side configuration.
    A common arrangement of this configuration is the monitor and keyboard
    in the center with the radios on either side, or a variation that places
    the monitor above the "primary" radio. One unique arrangement placed the
    monitor below the table, but visible through a glass plate covered cutout
    in the tabletop.

  Three respondents stacked the run and mult transceivers vertically.
     All three put the run radio on the bottom and the mult radio on the top.

  One respondent has the mult radio above and to the left of the run radio.

  Detailed replies follow:

  >The transceivers are slightly raised so that they fit between the keyboard
   and the monitor. The monitor is even with eye level. The main xcvr is
   slightly offset to the left so that the tuning knob is available without
   having to reach over the keyboard.

  >Radios: stacked, run on bottom, mult on top.
   Keyboard: On adjustable platform (op console is a heavy-duty corner
   computer table with adjustable keyboard platform: tilt, up/down and in/out.
   Monitor: Next to radio stack on left, centered with radios to right. I'm
   blessed with no noise monitors

  >Computer: on floor to left of operating/chair location
   Monitor: suspended below desk; glass inset in 12x10 cutout in desktop
   Keyboard: under the desktop drawer (homebrew)
   Paddles: desktop to my right
   Radio 1 (Omni VI): centered in front of me, pulled over the glass, but not
   obscuring screen
   CMOS II keyer: to left of Omni VI
   Rotor controller: to left of keyer
   Radio 2 (TS-130S): to left of rotor controller
   Switch box: on a second under desktop/shelf to left of keyboard drawer

  >Monitor/keyboard in center, with one radio to right, one to left. The plan
   is for the left radio to mostly be the S&P and the right one be the CQ.
   That's because I am most comfortable tuning with my left hand. However, I
   don't have the switching rigged up yet to allow that, and currently one rig
   is on 40, with the other rig covering all the other bands. It varies as to
   which one I use on 40, depending on condx...the goal is to use the better
   rig (right) on CQ, but sometimes end up with CQ on the left rig, and it's
   not a big deal.

  >Mult radio is above and slightly to the left of RUN radio. MULT monitor
   above mult radio; RUN monitor to right of RUN radio. MULT keyboard on left
   side of desk; RUN keyboard on right side of desk.

  >The operating table is an eight foot door table. Two FT-1000s are on the
   table, side-by-side. Each FT-1000 is hooked up to its own IBM 486SX25 type
   computer running CT9.x. Both computers networked together and linked to
   Packet. In between the two stations are the antenna switches and on a
   second shelf are all the rotors. Also, all antennas first come into a two
   way coax switch - there are six tow-way coax switches, one for each band.
   This way either radio can operate on any band.

  >My station layout has both transceivers on the desktop, with the monitor on
   a shelf above the radios. The shelf height barely clears the tops of the
   radios so that the monitor is not too high which would require the operator
   to look up to view. I have tried several lateral locations for the monitor,
   sometimes locating it in the middle, but more often over the "preferred" or
   "convenient" radio. I am left handed, so I have all of my antenna and
   rotator controls to the right of the radios, and use the right radio as the
   "convenient" radio. The keyboard usually sits in front of the monitor.

  >First, I measured the face dimensions of all my equipment, then used a
   simple computer drafting program to arrange the equipment on a "virtual"
   operating bench. It's a whole lot easier than lugging amps around. I think
   I ended up with an optimum arrangement, although I believe it will always
   be in a state of flux.
   Front and center: computer screen, elevated off desk about 10 inches for
   proper ergo viewing angle. Signal monitor (Heath SB-610) underneath.
   Right side (I'm right handed): vertically stacked IC-765s, run on bottom,
   S&P on top. Small, custom antenna control boxes, one for each rig, on top
   of S&P radio.
   Left center: Rotor control boxes. Very convenient to left hand. These boxes
   are "rotator pal" modified for no-hands operation.
   Farther left: Amps. Vertically stacked - I built a sturdy mini-table that
   holds second amp (SB-220) at least 6 inches above the main amp (AL-1200)
   allowing good airflow all around. Top amp matches top radio.
   I prefer top/bottom over left/right orientation of S&P/RUN because I just
   HAVE to tune with my right hand - period.

  >Left/right radios, one computer monitor between radios. Keyboard in front
   of monitor. In recent 3 radio setup, put keyboard in front of middle radio,
   monitor between middle and right radio.

  >My operating desk is 42" wide and 22 feet long (29" high). My current
   thinking is to make two separate positions with the radios side by side,
   but separated by the antenna switching panel. The linears will sit beside
   the radios and there will be a shelf over the top of everything for the
   monitors to set on. I didn't want to have the monitors up so high, but I
   can't seem to find any other configuration and have it all fit. I will use
   the Top-Ten devices for the switching and also the Dunestar filters. The
   radios/amps will set up off the desk about 3.5 inches so I can slide the
   keyers, keys and keyboards under when not in use. All my radios will have
   the ElekTech remote tuning knobs that will sit beside the keyboards.

  >The monitor needs to be directly over the main (run) radio. Also a
   watt meter needs to be very close to the radio.
   The amplifier can be located higher or off to the side. Also rotator
   controls can be off to the side or any available space.
   My second radio (mult radio) is located off to the right with antenna
   selection on a panel between the two radios. My amps for both stations are
   directly above radio or monitor.
   I cannot reach the second radio without moving somewhat from the run radio,
   but I use a remote VFO (ElekTech) knob that I position right next to my
   keyboard that is positioned right in front of the main (run) radio. Also I
   use a separate keyer for the second radio with a remote keypad (memory
   buttons) right next to the remote VFO knob.
   Also in the past I have taken apart the ElekTech remote VFO knob and
   attached just the encoder part to the front of the operating table right in
   front of the keyboard. This eliminates having to move your hand from the
   keyboard to the main tuning knob on the radio. As your hands sit on the
   keys of the keyboard, your thumbs can rotate the VFO knob on the table
   edge.

  >Operating position has S&P radio on my left and main radio on the right.
   Between the radios are 3 rotor control boxes as well as all remote antenna
   switches. Also in the middle is my box for switching the
   computer/keyer/headphones/mic between radios if I wish to use it. The box
   allows audio to be split ... in the middle I get each radio in each ear,
   left I get left radio only and right I get right radio only.
   Monitor is on a level higher (kind of on top and just to the left of the
   run radio. Keyboard is on the same level as the radios, but sits a bit to
   the right of center between radios. PC is a mini-tower under the desk to
   the right. BTW, I'm left handed.

  >Run radio on the far left, S&P radio to the right of it (i.e. front left)
   Keyboard/monitor in front

  >I have the two radios side by side. I'm a lefty, so both radios are to my
   right, as I use my right hand for tuning. The S&P radio is nearest me with
   the CQ radio to its right.

  >I have three radios on the desktop, two FT-1000s stacked on the left and a
   940 on the right. I may put one of the 1000s on the right and stack the 940
   on the left 1000, since the 1000s are radios 1 and 2 and the 940 is no. 3.
   Better to have 1 and 2 at desktop. Still, tuning the top 1000 has worked
   OK. I've used a 3/4" thick rubber computer wrist rest for my elbow and
   that's helped very much. On the desk behind me I have 3 Drake TR-7 radios.
   I'm equipped for the possibility of one radio/amp per band, an alternative
   to all the switching, etc. for high-tech 2 radio contesting. This is more
   of a low tech solution since I have enough radios and plenty of amps.
   I have 3 computer monitors on desk one and hope to put three on desk 2
   behind me, which is "swivel" distance. Two monitors are at desktop level,
   one above. I have room for a second monitor above and could have 4 radios
   on desk one (then maybe only 2 behind me, but it's nice to have the three
   Drakes side by side).
   Part of my theory was to have 6 computers networked together with each set
   to just one band. Then, for single op assisted, instead of hopping band to
   band all the time, I could wait for 5 or more spots to accumulate on a
   band, could keep track of it conveniently by swiveling to glance at the
   band computers, then could QSY to the band to quickly work those band
   spots.
   I have a patch panel that I haven't hooked up yet to patch which band will
   be "B" in my two-radio headphone splitter. A would continue to be the CQ
   band. I may have to have another patch panel for which radio will be A.


Question 2: How do you control the frequency of the transceiver used for S&Ping?

  All 11 respondents indicated that they primarily use the knob on the
  transceiver for frequency control. Several have a remote VFO knob (such as
  the ElekTech) near the keyboard, and one sometimes uses the keyboard to
  control frequency (using TR).

  In all but two cases, the operator used his non-dominant hand to tune the
  transceiver.  In other words a right-handed operator tended to use his left
  hand for tuning and a left-handed operator his right hand.

  Detailed replies follow:

  >knob

  >Main tuning knob. I wished there was a way to move both down next to
   keyboard. It would relieve arm strain.

  >Knob on transceiver (however, Ten-Tec is sending parts to assemble as
   external VFO knob controller)

  >Usually, knob on the rig, but sometimes the keyboard. I use TR, which
   allows tuning using the shift keys. I'd like a remote knob, but don't know
   of one that's available for my rigs.

  >I turn the transceiver knob with my left hand (I'm right handed).

  >I usually use the VFO knob to tune the radio. I have tried the keyboard
   up/down keys, which work OK. I also have an ElekTech remote tuning control
   for one of my IC-765s. When you sit down and try it for a few minutes, this
   really works slick. However, I find that I habitually revert back to the
   VFO knob during the contest.

  >Tuning - right hand - I use knob provided on transceiver.

  >Knob on transceiver

  >S&P is tuned with my left hand ... knob on radio

  >Knob on transceiver

  >I tune the main control knob on the transceiver to S&P.


Question 3: Do you believe your current equipment layout is optimum?  If
not, what changes would you make?

  Several respondents emphasized that the goal was to find an equipment layout
  that minimized hand and eye movement in order to reduce fatigue. Another
  made the point that optimum single op station design may be different for
  different classes of single op operation, e.g. assisted vs. unassisted
  contesting. Most specific changes were items such as A/B mic switching,
  better use of space, adding computer control of radios, etc.

  Detailed replies follow:

  >I need to get my rotor boxes, keyer, filters, A/B switching more integrated
   and closer to the keyboard. The rig layout couldn't be better. I'd also
   like to figure out how to lower the monitor a bit so that a little less eye
   movement is required to change between the rigs and the display. I've spent
   a lot of time minimizing hand movement and can say that it's made a
   positive difference.

  >It's OK but could be improved if I wanted to make a new console. I'm
   looking into moving the rigs down level with keyboard and to the right.
   This is the only way I can see to get the tuning knobs down by the
   keyboard.

  >No, radio 2 needs to be computer controlled, then I can use both radios
   through the computer.

  >When I have the switching in place that I'm working on, I feel it will be
   optimum...will allow use of either rig as CQ or S&P on any antenna.

  >I'd like to lower the keyboard level.

  >The station is really setup for multi-single. For single op, I simply wear
   two head sets, and loop one ear piece over each ear. Then if I want to
   concentrate on one radio or the other, I put the whole headphone on. It's
   kind of clumsy, and I'd like to design a headphone mixing box someday.

  >I believe that my current setup is optimum for a number of reasons,
   however, this may be due to other factors. In my opinion, the primary
   factor is that the physical arrangement described above allows me to use
   both radios more or less equally. This is important because in DX contests
   I run on the "convenient" radio and search for mults on the other, while in
   SS, I search for stations on the "convenient" radio and "run" (i.e. call
   endless CQs) on the other. One important comment: in my opinion it is
   CRUCIAL to have two radios of the same type. I struggled with this when I
   used a IC-765 with a C-Line, and it drove me nuts.
   Another factor that is crucial for optimized two-radio work is that either
   radio can be instantly used on any band. To do this, there are no multi-
   band antennas at my QTH. All antennas for a band come to a single remote
   coax relay in the shack, which is connected to an amplifier that is tuned
   only for that band. The inputs to the six amplifiers come to a box
   containing twelve relays that switch the coax and relay keying lines from
   the pair of radios to any two amplifiers. This allows the switching to
   occur at lower power (100W) level. Add computer control (NA), and I can
   switch bands by simply typing a frequency or punching a band switch button
   on the transceiver.

  >Currently optimum, but I think there is room to reduce size of some
   equipment to make more space available - especially rotor control boxes and
   signal monitor.

  >At home, add second computer and RS-232 frequency control.

  >I feel it is pretty good for me. Everything is where I like it, and I am
   comfortable with it.

  >Yes, at least for me. The only thing I usually touch on the run radio is
   the RIT. The S&P radio is most accessible so hopefully I will use it!

  >Optimum could mean different things for what category you're in. Even
   single op there's single op unassisted or single op assisted, quite
   different categories. I'm now thinking of making a mic switch box to be
   able to use the one mic and select which radio gets the mic audio.


Question 4: Have you previously used layouts other than your current one?
If so, what layouts and why did you change?

  Several respondents had tried stacked transceivers before changing to a
  side-by-side configuration, while another had tried the side-by-side
  configuration before switching to a stack configuration. In all of these
  cases, the operators stated that they changed in order to minimize movement
  and fatigue.

  Detailed replies follow:

  >I tried a 2nd radio off to the right at a 45-deg angle, but it was too far
   away, and I had to keep jerking my head around. Same for the keyer; it
   needs to be easily accessible to the left hand while right hand sends. Also
   tried 2nd radio on top of first, but that was too busy and required too
   much eye movement. Engineering the setup to minimize hand and eye movement
   really pays off in less operator fatigue. The next shack improvement is
   going to be a really good chair.

  >I had radios side by side (centered) and the monitor to the left. Too much
   neck/eye strain. Found that center of attention was the monitor. Moved
   monitor to position above radios. Found this to be better, but still got
   neck ache. Went to current placement and this is better, but now arm gets
   tired.
   We had an ergonomics person in for office layout re-design when we
   remodeled our main building. She was of the opinion that minimizing arm
   movement (reaching, etc.) would provide the best medicine for long sits. I
   described contesting to her, and she had some interesting ideas for
   arrangements. Unfortunately, they all involved massive remodeling of my
   shack and also made it difficult to reconfigure for M/M or M/S ops. The one
   plum that is doable is to move both radios to a rack next to the keyboard,
   which is my next arrangement.

  >No, this is my first cut. I first began 2 radio ops back in June.

  >I have used other layouts when guest oping...usually with rig behind
   keyboard, 2nd rig to the left, and monitor above the first rig. I don't
   like the monitor above the rig. I prefer having the rigs and monitor in the
   same horizontal plane. Also, this arrangement requires reaching over the
   keyboard to operate the radio.

  >No

  >I have noticed in magazine pictures that K1AR appears to stack his radios
   vertically when operating at K1EA. The monitor sits on the desktop with the
   keyboard in front and the radios to the right. I would really like to use
   this arrangement because it is great from the standpoint of the
   monitor/keyboard ergonomics, but I find it deficient for operating the
   radio. It's probably OK for running, where there is rarely a need to adjust
   the radio. However, in the face of QRM or when tuning for mults, I find it
   very useful to use both hands to operate the radio. On my last two radios
   (IC-765 and FT-1000), the volume control is on the left, while the
   additional frequency controls (RIT, keypad, memory, etc.) are on the right.
   My left hand runs the volume while the right tweaks the RIT. Placing a
   radio to either side cuts in half the number of hands I can conveniently
   use to control the radio.

  >No, I have seen others but not used them. I made this one on my own.

  >No

  >I used to have the radios stacked.  The trouble with stacking is the angle
   of your arm when you are tuning the top radio. It gets tiresome much more
   quickly.