Moved and updated for Christmas 2022 N9JIG Office shack

N9JIG

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With the son sharing my office these days we decided to move things around a bit. Basically we swapped positions in the office, I took his side and he mine. This allowed us to reclaim some wasted space caused by my L-shaped desk needing to be backed off of one wall to allow access to the windows. We also relocated the TV monitors so they are above my desk, one over each side. This allows him to more easily view one as he has grown to like watching airport cams. I am working on him to take an interest in rail-cams but so far no such luck!

With him being off this weekend for the holiday we decided to make the swap. We first moved all the chairs, cabinets etc. out of the office, disconnected the cables (Power, networking, antennas) from each desk and danced them across the room. With hard tile floors and nylon sliders under the desk legs that was pretty simple. I then started pulling apart some of the wiring for my radio cabinet since I was going to move it from my right to my left on the L-shaped desk. Being a righty it made much more sense, plus that side of the desk is longer (80 inches vs. 72) and deeper 30 inches vs 27. This gives me more working space on both sides.

Not much more in the way of equipment this time out. I did replace my TYT MD-9600 with an Anytone AT-5888 for 2M/440/GMRS. That TYT was OK but hard to program or deal with VFO mode. In addition the software will not connect any longer, I have no clue why.

On top of the radio cabinet is my AT-5888 dual bander and a Kenwood TK-8180 for GMRS. In the smaller cabinet are 2 Astron 25A power supplies, one for the HF rig and the other for everything else. The cabinet is the same 4u Turret rack (see The Desk Rack of 2021) but flipped upside down. This allows the radios to tilt downward as they are fairly elevated. This also provides a slanted surface for the mixer above. This is the Behringer Xenyx X2222USB that I have had for a few months. I was able to source proper cables for it so they all fall to the rear nicely.

In the main cabinet are 4 BCD536's, an SDS200, a BCD996XT and BCD996P2, Icom R8600 and IC-7300, along with an IC-705 on top that can be popped out for field use. Each of the Uniden scanners except the SDS200 have USB-1 cables with the small end cut off and replaced with a DB-9 to connect to the rear GPS port for computer connection. The SDS200 has both Ethernet and USB connections, the USB is via a down-facing right-angle connector suggested by member "Fixitt". Both of the Icom's also have USB, the R8600 also has Ethernet.

The radio computer is the same Intel Hades Canyon NUC I have been using for a while. It has plenty of horsepower to run it all. I tried switching to it for all my stuff to see if I could be weaned off my M1 Mac for writing, browsing and entertainment. I used it as my daily driver for a week or so and, while it worked fine, it just wasn't a Mac. I then tried to use the Mac for the radios as well as the rest of my life online. While I was able to get all of the scanners to work with the front USB ports I was unable to get the rear ones to work as there were no drivers I could find that worked with ARM processors in Windows 11 thru Parallels. I was also unable to get the Icoms to be recognized. I decided to go back to having a separate computer for the radios.

The Mac is my M1Max MacBook Pro operating in clamshell mode with 2 of the monitors, the third monitor being connected to the NUC. All three are 4K 27 inch Acers.

The two 50-inch TV's mounted on the wall are used mostly for watching live rail or airport cams but can also watch news, entertainment etc. I can connected either to one of the computers if needed. I am also thinking about getting a Geochron Atlas at some point, especially if I start working HF on a more frequent basis.

His desk is directly behind mine, he has a full-fledged water-cooled gaming rig he built with full RGB connected to 3 4K 27" monitors and a laptop for work. He also set up a managed switch and gateway as well as a couple mesh WiFi access points. We have 2.5GB fiber to the house for internet access and it works really well.

I hope to get some outside antennas down the road, we are going to see if we can sneak a scanner antenna on the roof, hidden from the HOA. I am also thinking about a flagpole antenna at some point for HF. The antennas from prior builds in the attic still remain.
 

03msc

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As usual, it's nice to see how you set things up. What can sound like a simple thing ("we just switched places") was clearly quite an endeavor, as eluded to in your writeup and as anyone who has ever rearranged an office would know. At least you had the time and help to do it.
 

JimD56

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Rich, can you explain exactly how the Behringer Xenyx X2222 mixer works? Meaning, which jacks on the scanners/radios are used, Are they all playing at the same time but at different volumes? Are there less complicated mixers that you know of with 8 inputs and one speaker output? What inputs are used on the mixer? It looks super complicated on the Behringer website. Thanks
 

N9JIG

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Rich, can you explain exactly how the Behringer Xenyx X2222 mixer works? Meaning, which jacks on the scanners/radios are used, Are they all playing at the same time but at different volumes? Are there less complicated mixers that you know of with 8 inputs and one speaker output? What inputs are used on the mixer? It looks super complicated on the Behringer website. Thanks
Sure!

I use the External Speaker jacks on the back of the radios. I tried the headphone jacks but the audio sounded poor. I used the Line In jacks on the mixer.

I bought some custom-made audio cables to connect them (https://www.ebay.com/itm/184661498929). These cables have right-angle 1/4 inch mono plugs for the mixer and straight 1/8 inch mono plugs for the radios. The right-angle plugs on the mixer end allow the cables to route to the rear and then down for better cable management.

For the output audio I use a set of amplified computer speakers connected to the "2-Track Output" jacks with a set of right-angle RCA adapters to a RCA to 1/8 stereo adapter cable. This arrangement allows me to use the speaker volume control and (more importantly) it''s headphone jack. This provides an easy to access place to connect the headphones to when I want to listen without bothering the family.

I can also adjust the overall volume with the "Main Mix" sliders. I can adjust the individual radio volumes with the sliders for each input. I normally leave the radio volumes set at "V=12" (as shown on the radio display) to provide a standard input level to the mixer and use the individual sliders to make fine adjustments in the volume.

Since I log activity with ProScan, ARC-xx and Pro96Com I leave the radios on all the time and usually just turn off the mixer at night. I have the radio display settings set to Open Squelch so that the display lights pop up when active, this allows me to quickly glance over and see the active radio.

Years ago a company called New Communications Systems made a 6-channel mixer called the NCS-3230. These are hard to find, I have been drooling over this for years. If they made it with 8-12 inputs in a rack-mountable enclosure I would jump on it in a heartbeat.

If I had to do it again I would have probably looked a little deeper and purchased a mixer with a smaller footprint. The X2222USB inclides rack rails and can be rack-mounted but requires 8u of space. If I could find a unit that does what I need in a 4u box I would probably snag it.
 

JimD56

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Thanks, Rich. On a mixer can you use The Left "L" for one radio and the Right "R" for another running in analog? So a 4-channel with an R-L "Red White" RCA could run up to 8 radios/scanners?
 

N9JIG

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Thanks, Rich. On a mixer can you use The Left "L" for one radio and the Right "R" for another running in analog? So a 4-channel with an R-L "Red White" RCA could run up to 8 radios/scanners?
I would think so. It took a while to figure out the hookups and controls on this, not being a musical type so I would expect there to be a learning curve either way. I would expect there to be distinct separation of the channels within the mixer.
 

N9JIG

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Forgot this question...Can you use Mic Inputs for a scanner/radio with the correct patch cable?
I would think so. When I got the mixer I had a couple TS cables so was able to figure out the set up with the 1/4 Line In jacks. I would imagine if I had an XLR cable handy I would be able to do so.

My son has some XLR stuff and one of these days we plan on trying that.
 

belvdr

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I would think so. It took a while to figure out the hookups and controls on this, not being a musical type so I would expect there to be a learning curve either way. I would expect there to be distinct separation of the channels within the mixer.
Yes you can, but the volume control will impact both radios at the same time.
I would think so. When I got the mixer I had a couple TS cables so was able to figure out the set up with the 1/4 Line In jacks. I would imagine if I had an XLR cable handy I would be able to do so.

My son has some XLR stuff and one of these days we plan on trying that.
You can do this too, but you will need to turn the gain down as well as turn off compression.
 

03msc

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To help differentiate scanners, you can pan channels either left or right (if your mixer has pan pots). I have a different mixer but do that with mine - local county stuff out the right speaker and statewide system out the left.
 

majoco

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JimD56 wrote:
Are there less complicated mixers that you know of with 8 inputs and one speaker output?
Yes - this Behringer mixer was on run-out at a ridiculously low price.
DSCF1533.jpg
It has 8 line level inputs which can be plugged in to the mono or stereo inputs - if you plug in to the mono inputs then you can make the output all left, all right or somewhere in between so you can make a stereo 'sound stage' with the balance controls on each input. I feed the stereo line output to a 15watt amplifier and a pair of small speakers.
large rear panel.jpg
All the inputs have level, balance and monitor controls - the monitor output is another stereo output which I feed to "ScanRec" on an old computer with another pair of speakers.

If you can find one - grab it!
 
Last edited:

JimD56

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JimD56 wrote:


Yes - this Behringer mixer was on run-out at a ridiculously low price.
View attachment 133972
It has 8 line level inputs which can be plugged in to the mono or stereo inputs - if you plug in to the mono inputs then you can make the output all left, all right or somewhere in between so you can make a stereo 'sound stage' with the balance controls on each input. I feed the stereo line output to a 15watt amplifier and a pair of small speakers.
View attachment 133973
All the inputs have level, balance and monitor controls - the monitor output is another stereo output which I feed to "ScanRec" on an old computer with another pair of speakers.

If you can find one - grab it!
I cant make out the model number in the picture. What's the model? Thanks Jim
 

wa8pyr

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With the son sharing my office these days we decided to move things around a bit. Basically we swapped positions in the office, I took his side and he mine. This allowed us to reclaim some wasted space caused by my L-shaped desk needing to be backed off of one wall to allow access to the windows. We also relocated the TV monitors so they are above my desk, one over each side. This allows him to more easily view one as he has grown to like watching airport cams. I am working on him to take an interest in rail-cams but so far no such luck!
Jeez, what is it with you? :D

I hope to get some outside antennas down the road, we are going to see if we can sneak a scanner antenna on the roof, hidden from the HOA. I am also thinking about a flagpole antenna at some point for HF. The antennas from prior builds in the attic still remain.
I went to the HOA meeting last May and asked about putting up "TV and radio antennas." I was told that, as long as it couldn't be seen from the street it was acceptable. The stuff I want to get outside will primarily be on the garage roof where it should work fine, but I'm going to stretch the edge of the envelope and try putting some inconspicuous vertical antennae on the ends of the ridge of the main house, just to see if anyone notices. Unless they walk with their noses in the air all the time, they'll probably never notice.
 

dave3825

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I'm going to stretch the edge of the envelope and try putting some inconspicuous vertical antennae on the ends of the ridge of the main house, just to see if anyone notices. Unless they walk with their noses in the air all the time, they'll probably never notice.
Is there even an HOA out there where people don't walk with their noses up in the air?
 

N9JIG

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I went to the HOA meeting last May and asked about putting up "TV and radio antennas." I was told that, as long as it couldn't be seen from the street it was acceptable. The stuff I want to get outside will primarily be on the garage roof where it should work fine, but I'm going to stretch the edge of the envelope and try putting some inconspicuous vertical antennae on the ends of the ridge of the main house, just to see if anyone notices. Unless they walk with their noses in the air all the time, they'll probably never notice.

By federal law an HOA cannot restrict OTA TV antennas, and no sizes are mentioned. If one were to install a suitable antenna, say a Discone, and connect it to a TV, who is to say it couldn't also be used for a scanner?

From Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule

(3) An antenna that is designed to receive local television broadcast signals.

In addition, antennas covered by the rule may be mounted on "masts" to reach the height needed to receive or transmit an acceptable quality signal (e.g., maintain line-of-sight contact with the transmitter or view the satellite). Masts higher than 12 feet above the roofline may be subject to local permitting requirements for safety purposes. Further, masts that extend beyond an exclusive use area may not be covered by this rule.
 
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