All My Base

I started in ham radio with a Wouxun HT (Handie-Talkie or handheld radio). It’s funny, because a) it seems like everyone starts with an HT of some sort, especially lately since there are several comparatively inexpensive models available, and b) so many of the more experienced hams say you shouldn’t start with an HT.

AntennaOh well.

I moved on, of course, to adding a Yaesu FR-8900R to my car (I should write up the install into my Sequoia), and most recently set things up to run that as a base station here at home. “Set things up” doesn’t quite cover the work involved, however.

My house has a steeply pitched roof, and as a result the attic has a lot of space, particularly vertical space. I mounted a Diamond X-50 dual band antenna up inside the attic. Add up the elevations and my antenna sits at around 550 feet above sea level, and has a fairly clear straight-line “view” in all directions.

The issue was how to get a cable from “up there” to “down here” in my office.

Crawl SpaceI discovered a vent pipe made obsolete by a furnace upgrade some years ago that was a straight line from the attic above to the crawlspace below. And by crawl space, I do mean crawl space – there were definitely areas where I had to crawl under ducting that left slightly less than one “Leo’s width” of space to shimmy under.

BaseWith the help of a friend (Thanks Dave!) I ran 100 ft of LMR-400 from the attic through the crawl space into the adjacent basement and then up into my office.

I’d been running the radio inside using a 12v battery recovered from a failed UPS, but with the addition of an Astron power supply today, my ham base station is complete. That UPS battery remains around as “battery backup” for the day when the power goes out, of course.

The nice thing is that given the way that the radio is mounted in my car, it’s simply a matter of detaching the antenna and unplugging the power to move from the vehicle to the desk or vice-versa.

(If the post title confuses you – it’s a take off on the “All Your Base Are Belong To Us” meme of several years ago. It all started with a YouTube video.)