I've been racked. . .

wa8pyr

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No, not that way.

Found myself a desktop rack console ($20) and figured it would be just the thing for the scanners. From top to bottom:

1. Zetron Model 27 Receiver Monitor panel. This can handle up to 8 receivers mixed down to two speakers; each receiver has a mute button (which when pressed mutes the audio from that channel and lights the top LED next to it), while activity on that receiver flashes the bottom LED next to the corresponding button.
2. SDS200 and Pro-2035. The SDS200 is used for general scanning, while the 2035 (equipped with an Optoscan OS-535 board) is used for airband monitoring and snooping on data modes (more on this in a moment).
3. Pro-197 and BCD996XT. The Pro-197 is used for local fire monitoring, and the BCD996XT for local law monitoring.
4. An empty space and another Pro-197. I haven't figured out what to put in the empty space (possibly my Home Patrol 1), but the other Pro-197 is used for rail monitoring and other general scanning.
5. I/O panel. Left to right: A DB9 connected to the OS535 connector on the 2035; an RJ45 port connected to the network switch (for my laptop if I need to use it for something); empty space for more neat stuff; a panel mount RCA jack which is connected to the the discriminator output on the Pro-2035; a BNC panel mount antenna connector hooked up to one of the spare outputs on the drop amp (the unused outputs on the drop amp have 75 ohm terminators on them, as does this BNC connector when it's not in use).
6. A Tripp-Lite rack-mount power strip, with six grounded outlets on the front, and five more on the back.

The five scanners are connected to a wide-band antenna in the attic through an Electroline EDA FT-08100 8-port drop amp which passes 5-42 and 54-1000 MHz. DC power for the radios comes from a large gel-cell battery connected to a West Mountain Radio RigRunner through a gadget similar to the West Mountain Radio PWRgate (which charges the battery and switches the radios over to battery automatically if AC power goes out).

I've tested the Electroline drop amp next to a Stridsberg, and found it to perform just as well; if there's any difference, I couldn't hear it. The best thing is the EDA was only about $25 on eBay.

I thought about using rack-mount panels cut for the scanners, but they cost over $100 each; the 10" deep rack shelves I ended up using were $15 each on eBay, and allow me to fit more receivers into the rack.

The empty space in the I/O panel may eventually hold a small panel-mount DC voltmeter and a panel mount Anderson powerpole.

Now for the rest of the shack.

IMG_3995.jpg
 

jnlannon

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That's really awesome, I think you'll get better airflow like this as opposed to cut scanner panels. I wish you good luck during the fine-tuning of everything. Maybe someday you can elaborate on your...
2035 (equipped with an Optoscan OS-535 board) is used for airband monitoring and snooping on data modes (more on this in a moment).
I'm currently running a Pro-2042 with an OS456 and would like to learn more ways to utilize it.
 

buddrousa

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I looked into a Zetron 4000 series console but went with the 18U and Computer and Proscan for the logging and recording. But the Zetron is a neat way to go looks good.
 

K4EET

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Really sweet setup there, wa8pyr. You have done a very clean installation and you can be proud of it. I also agree with jnlannon that you will get better ambient air flow around the scanners by not using form-fitting front panels. Regardless of what others think, I personally think that you have laid out a masterpiece. Good work Tom!

73, Dave K4EET
 

w2lie

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Nice job. Where did you pick up that rack? I'm sure you are going to have a lot of people searching eBay now for that same solution ;)
 

N9JIG

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Looks good Tom, I always like a nice rack!

At our Com center a few (well maybe more than a few) years back I had made a panel for 4 radios and 2 MDC decoders. I took a large piece of cardboard and cut it to fit and made a template for the mounting holes to fit the edges, placing the radios using Jotto Desk faceplates. Since I already had the faceplates from our mobile fleet it was an easy choice. I then brought that template to a sheet metal shop of a local HVAC dealer and they used a street sign blank to cut out and drill for the panel. A few coats of spray paint ("Hammered Black") and it looked great. He charged me $20 for the work.

You can do the same without the faceplates, just cut to fit the size of the radios and slide them in, use a bracket to secure them to the front panel. The 197's are awesome for this as they have a slightly larger front edge that make a natural trim, the Unidens will have to be carefully set to the proper depth and you will need to be a little more careful cutting the panel. The Uniden's do not have that larger front panel like the GRE/RS units.

I like the idea of having easily accessible power and antenna connections, that comes in very handy!
 
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wa8pyr

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Nice job. Where did you pick up that rack? I'm sure you are going to have a lot of people searching eBay now for that same solution ;)
That is the Zetron rack if I remember
I have seen similar racks on eBay, but the shipping price (they're not particularly lightweight) generally far exceeds what you would pay for them. They're pretty bulky and would be tough to ship.

However, anyone so inclined could go on eBay and buy rack rails in the proper lengths. Cut some nice 3/4 inch wood end and back pieces to shape, mount the rack rails, and paint the whole shebang the desired color. Lots cheaper than buying heavy steel rack cabinets and having them shipped. The steel is a bear to drill, too.

I got lucky and saved these from the junk pile. This one (and it's identical twin brother) did contain Zetron console panels, although I believe it's a generic desktop rack, not specifically Zetron-branded. The old Zetron console stuff was obtained to be used as spare parts for our existing Zetron IntegratorRD consoles, but the rack cabinets were destined for the junk pile as they were not needed, so I rescued them.

As part of my shack upgrade, the other identical rack cabinet will eventually hold a VHF XTL and a VHF M7100 in cut panels with speakers, along with a dual-band ham rig. I have another of those I/O panels and another power strip which will be used in that cabinet. Might also mount the HF antenna switch on a panel as well.
 
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buddrousa

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I just remember ordering them from Zetron when I put a system together. But like you said they would be easy to build and make what ever size fits your needs.
 

737mech

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Nice setup! A few things I would consider... I don't like wall warts they get hot and some say they make rf noise, so I power all my scanners with SEC power supplies. Constant 13.8 Volts and has power conditioning. You only need one to power all these scanners. If not interested in going that way I'd also consider a power conditioner with rear plugs. Just to get them out of the way. I use the Pyle PCO-800 for my guitar rack effects units. Power conditioning is good however you can get it. Less noise in the scanners! I'm also experimenting with copper tape lining the inside of the scanner cases. Take the hood off the Pro-2035, tape it up with copper tape, punch the holes it needs for the speaker. I have noticed nice and quiet MilAir comms. I did this to my Pro-2042 as well. Just my $0.02 and opinion. You have a very nice rack there!
 

wa8pyr

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Nice setup! A few things I would consider... I don't like wall warts they get hot and some say they make rf noise, so I power all my scanners with SEC power supplies. Constant 13.8 Volts and has power conditioning.
Way ahead of you. As noted in my original post, everything is connected through a Schottky diode-based box to a large gel-cell battery and a 30-amp linear power supply. The box keeps the battery charged and switches the radios over to battery backup if the power from the AC supply is lost. Been doing it that way for all my radios for years.

The wall wart in the photo was temporary until I got a power cable for the second Pro-197 put together.
 
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