Back to the Future: The N9JIG cabinet is back

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N9JIG

Sheriff
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I know, I just remodeled the shack a short time ago but the wife complained that there were too many wires visible. In addition I added a second computer station in anticipation of a couple projects. I still had the network cabinet from a prior build as well as the rack panels and mounts for my radios.

After I installed the new antennas and feedlines last month I rearranged the patch panel and used all N-connectors for all of the antennas except a couple HF ones. I had cleared out the attic of a whole boatload of unused and underperforming antennas and coax and pared things down to 12 (from 25).

Patch.jpeg
I need to touch up the paint but that might not be an issue if I replace the rack panel, I might make it slightly larger to cover the edges.

I also pared down the radio fleet as discussed before. I no longer need so many to search out air and rail freqs, I have a pretty good read on things here now after 7 years living here. After selling off a bunch of stuff and adding a few new radios I have a leaner and more modern set of radios. Gone are all the BCT15’s, most of the BCT15X’s and BCD996XT’s. I also sold off the 746 and replaced it with a 705. I added a 996P2 and several 536’s.

I also resurrected the Network Cabinet. The wife had the original idea to do the original project some years ago. It is on casters so that it is easy to move around and access the sides or rear and has plenty of space for radios and other stuffage. It allows me to contain everything in one place and keeps the office clean and neat.
RackOnly.jpeg


  • Starting at the top is the big red clock. This is an Amazon special. I would love to get a net clock but they are still pretty expensive so for now this will do fine. I still have the blue one but it is now on the other wall as it maintains better time
  • Next are a pair of BCT15X’s. These are way up high and will be used mostly for the local rail channel and a couple important aviation channels. Since I will not need to diddle with them much they can be up in the stratosphere.
  • Next is a 27” monitor for the Intel Hades Canyon NUC computer (in the cabinet). This is on a VESA mount bolted to a blank rack panel. In the inside of that same panel are 2 8-port Stridsberg multicouplers.
  • Below the monitor is my TYT DMR radio, my Icom R8500 receiver and a CSI CD-1 PL decoder. Next comes a BCD996P2, an SDS200 and 2 BCD536HP’s.
  • Then comes the new Icom IC-705 HF/VHF/UHF transceiver. It is setting on a shelf so I can pop it out for field use. There is a 4-position antenna switch for it since there is only a single antenna port on the radio.
  • Below that are 2 more BCD536HP’s, a couple BCD996XT’s, a HomePatrol 2 and my Kenwood GMRS radio. Behind the HP2 is the 12V power supply for the scanners and 2-ways.

Inside the cabinet are the multicouplers and computer. There is also my AirNav Radar Box ADSB receiver. On top of the cabinet is the NVR for my home security system. At the very bottom is a UPS for the home networking, the computer and security systems equipment also in the cabinet. I plan in moving that stuff to another room at some point so that is a temporary arrangement. I suspect that the networking stuff may affect the radios so I want to separate them.

I also got all new jumpers to the patch panel. Since I replaced all the coax runs to the antennas with ultra-low-loss Air-10 coax with N-connectors at both ends I installed N bulkhead pass-thrus and flipped the patch panel around. I used a label maker to make new labels for the panel reflecting the new coax numbers. I will probably have a new patch panel made at some point, with only 12 holes since I no longer need the BNC or F connectors. To avoid having holes I left those bulkheads on the panel but they are unused. The antenna jumpers are not in a sheath but the network and power cables are.

Back1.jpeg
I used 10-foot jumpers for the networking, power and antennas. This allows me to swing the cabinet out and rotate it in either direction to get at the rear or sides for maintenance. I left off the rear and front doors as they are not needed. The front one won’t go on anyway due to the monitor.

The inside of the cabinet itself is kind of messy but that is the whole idea. No wires can be seen from outside, the inside can be a mess. One of these days I might invest some time and money into rewiring things for neatness but that is for another day.
Back2.jpeg

All of the radio gear except the 705, multicouplers and the HP2 are powered by the 25A Astron power supply. The others all have their own power connections since they stay on all the time.

On the main desk I have 2 32-inch monitors connected to a new M1Max MacBook Pro in Clamshell mode. On the second desk to the right of the cabinet I have 32-inch and 27-inch monitors connected to my Mac Mini. I use the large desk for most of my streaming and other content creation and the second desk for streaming and radio programing. In the cabinet is the Intel Hades Canyon NUC that runs the AirNav RadarBox, ProScan, ARC-XT, ARC-536, Pro96Com and other radio programs. I can also access any of these computers from any of the others with Remote Access so radio programming and control can be done from any position in the office.

CompDesk1.jpeg

CompDesk2.jpeg
Also in the office are a couple 50-inch monitors for streaming YouTube and other services. These are connected to an M1 Mac Mini, AppleTV’s and a Roku so I can watch trains, airports, news or other stuff.
 

N1XDS

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Hey Rich,

Is your Macbook Pro on a stand if so who makes it?
 

ShawnInPaso

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Amazing setup as always.

I don't know what a net clock is, so I Googled it but came up empty handed? I bet a ham clock would look really nice in the amazon clocks space though (maybe you have one I didn't see?). So many features and the price is right.
 

N9JIG

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Amazing setup as always.

I don't know what a net clock is, so I Googled it but came up empty handed? I bet a ham clock would look really nice in the amazon clocks space though (maybe you have one I didn't see?). So many features and the price is right.

A net clock is one that acquires an accurate time source from WWV or the Internet and shares it with other computers etc. on the network. Many of them also have a large red LED display like the clock here.
 

GKLdiy88

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Not a shred of a doubt on that.

With the wife's sewing stuff she cannot complain about my radio room!

Very neat setup and great organizing !!!!

I basically have a multi-use room for all my "stuff" like tools, metal detecting equipment, fluorescent minerals and UV lights, exercise equipment, ect., and now my ham radio stuff, as long as I keep from spreading my stuff all over the house my wife is very okay with my hobbies :LOL:
 

iowajm780

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That’s the nice things with racks. Hides my poor cable management work and have a clean look with many ways for all the gear to fit. Everything is so well planned out especially with the N connector panel for the antennas.
 

iowajm780

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A net clock is one that acquires an accurate time source from WWV or the Internet and shares it with other computers etc. on the network. Many of them also have a large red LED display like the clock here.
I am working on making a NTP server using a Rasberry Pi4 and USB GPS receiver. That way all my equipment will have the same time by syncing to a master time source. Having a GPS for the time source makes it nice so I don’t have to rely on an internet NTP server or WWVB. Commercial NTP servers are insanely expensive. The cost of the Pi4 (when they were cheap) and GPS receiver will have cost me under $50. Now with supply chain issues, they are a lot more expensive these days. Luckily I purchased 2 a couple of years ago when they were cheap. On the lookout for a clock like you have with a big display and have it set from my local time server. It’s a fun little project to build.
 

03msc

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Always looks good. I've enjoyed the many variations over the years. Nothing wrong with changing things up now and then...or, every month, in your case! :ROFLMAO:
 

krokus

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I am curious about the big red clock, which might be useful for work.

As for the net clock, setting up an RPi with GPS and time server software would not be too expensive, and you are not reliant on an external network. (Like iowajm780 is working on.)
 

N9JIG

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The clock was bought on Amazon for the low price (about $35 or so) and size/visibility. I actually have a couple of the MFJ-113 tabletop big red clocks in the house, the wife likes them since she can see them even if she is not wearing her glasses. This one with the 5-inch LED's can be seen from space but needs to be adjusted once a month or so.
 

IC-R20

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The clock was bought on Amazon for the low price (about $35 or so) and size/visibility. I actually have a couple of the MFJ-113 tabletop big red clocks in the house, the wife likes them since she can see them even if she is not wearing her glasses. This one with the 5-inch LED's can be seen from space but needs to be adjusted once a month or so.
Nice, you should get one of those old HeathKit GC-1000 world most accurate clock that tuned WWV. Suprised to see they still make a model but the webpage says nothing about how it works.
 
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