We put considerable effort into planning the Electrical, HVAC and Grounding systems in our new shack. We have experienced some extended power outages in our area over the past several years and we had been planning to install an automatic generator system for some time. Given the electrical upgrades that we were doing in connection with the construction of our shack, we decided to install a 20 KW automatic generator system as part of the project. The generator also provides a good source of emergency power for our shack. We wanted to have enough fuel capacity to run our house off the electrical grid for a week and this required us to install a large underground propane talk.
The generator system includes an automatic transfer switch and load shedding system which will automatically start the generator when the power goes off as well as removing heavy loads like the range and air conditioning units should the generator’s capacity be exceeded.
We planned for a number of dedicated 120 VAC and 220 VAC circuits for each operating position in our new shack. These requirements plus the dedicated A/C unit for the room led us to install a separate sub-panel for the shack just outside the room.
The sizing of the shack’s A/C unit was based upon a heat calculation for the anticipated equipment that might be installed in the shack. As we learned from our experience with our temporary shack, its important to have a good cooling system as the heat that is generated from transceivers, computers, power amplifiers, etc. is considerable. The unit we choose is a heat pump system which can also provide heating should we ever need it during the winter months.
We also installed a fresh air exchange system in the room to ensure good air quality during the expanded periods that we planned to be in the room.
The next step in this process was to rough-in the outlet boxes, power cabling and HVAC ducts. We also installed low-voltage outlet boxes for Ethernet, Audio/Video services, satellite, cable, etc. connections to our Home Network.
We installed a generous set of 120 VAC and 220 VAC outlet boxes at each of our two operating positions as well as at the planned equipment construction area. The picture below also show the 2″ PVC conduits that we installed in the thicker standard 2″x6″ rear wall to allow us to route our feedlines and control cables from the ceiling to the floor of our shack.
The last element of this phase of the project was to build an RF Ground system and cable entry point for our shack. The first thing that we did was to drive a series of 8 ft copper ground rods outside our shack. Each of our two operating positions had three rods 6 ft apart bonded together in a star configuration.
Next, we drilled a small hole through the basement wall at each operating position and ran a heavy ground wire through the wall to the center of the underground rods. This created a very short, direct ground connection for each operating position. These holes were carefully sealed to prevent water leakage into the room.
Finally, we installed a ground block for mounting PolyPhaser Coaxial Lightning Protectors for our feedlines as they enter the shack. We also installed a section of 3″ PVC pipe to allow our feedlines to pass through the outside of the shack into the room. The 3″ PVC conduits in the ground by our shack entry lead to our existing antennas. We plan to install additional larger 6″ PVC conduits in the future to accommodate hardline feedlines to a future tower.
With this stage of the project completed, we were ready for insulation, drywall, ceiling and floor installation. These steps will be the subject of our next post.
– Fred (AB1OC)