The Desk Rack of 2021

N9JIG

Sheriff
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For the last few years on my desk I have kept a couple of scanners for day-to-day use. These have generally been in a Scanner Master 4-scanner desk stand. I added a bracket on the side for my SDS100 and would often put an extra radio on top as shown below:
1 Previous.jpeg

On the rear of the panel I use a Stridsberg 8-port active multicoupler, that shares the antenna to the radios in the rack and my two HomePatrols on the desk. The rack has 2 BCD536HP’s, 2 BCD996XT’s, an SDS200, and an SDS100. These will go into the new rack.

This has worked well for me but if you know me you know that I am never happy unless I am changing things. My friend Jonathan made a cabinet for 4 scanners that worked great, it lives on a shelf above his desk. I considered copying that and making one of my own but realized that it would require some sort of angling to make it work for me. If it were flat on the desk it would be hard to see the display or access the buttons. My woodworking skills are limited to what I can get the guy at Home Depot to cut for me so a squared box would be no issue, having any angle cuts would be nearly impossible.

I started to look for pre-made cabinets for this project, looking at 4u to accommodate 2 2u panels. and found they are called “Turret” racks for the angle they use. Since the SDS200 will not fit properly into a 2u rack I figured I would mount it to the top using the standard bracket but then thought that if I could find a turret rack with a flat top I could just set the SDS200 on top along with my desk mic and perhaps other stuff. I could also use the extra inside room if needed for the multicoupler and power devices.

I found such a rack at AudioRax. They make a large selection of 19” racks that you can configure almost any way you want. They had a 4u rack with a flat top that was perfect for my needs. They sell a 4u turret rack in black without the flat top for about $90 as a stock item but I opted to spend the extra money and get the special order flat top for about $140 with the woodstain in my choice of color. (4 Space (4U) | Baltic Birch Angled Desktop Rackpod Turret Fl) It arrived within the week and took less than 5 minutes to assemble.

2 Contents.jpeg

I ordered some of the 2u DIN sleeve rack panels from Scanner Master, they should arrive soon. I opted to go this route as they do not require faceplates and have a cleaner look than the ones I use on my Network Cabinet build. There is no visible hardware except for the edge screws holding the panels to the rack. I already have a couple of these on my cabinet and will likely get some more to replace the ones I use now to eliminate the hardware appearance.

For power I needed 2 AC outlets in the cabinet (One for the 12VDC supply, and one for the HP1) as well as 2 USB power ports (HP2, SDS100). I stopped by Best Buy as well as other places and found a couple options. Since I did not yet have the cabinet I was unsure of how much room I would have so I looked for a compact solution. I found a desktop power solution that had 3 AC, 2 USB-1 and a USB-C power outlets along with a 5-foot line cord. This as all in a small 6x6 inch package and was perfect for this project. As it turned out the case was plenty big enough to use a larger unit but I like this one anyway.

I made a power harness with 5 Uniden 3-wire power cords (Thanks Dale!) as well as a coaxial plug to use on the multicoupler. I reused my 4-scanner power adapter from Scanner Master which is a 12V 6A transformer, plenty to run 5 scanners and the multicoupler. I velcro’d the AC power strip to the base of the cabinet and the DC supply as well. The multicoupler was attached to the top of the interior of the cabinet. I bought a 12-inch AC line cord for the power brick so I would not need to tie up all that extra cord from the standard line cord.

I used stick-on felt pads under the rack to allow me to slide it a bit here and there without marring the desk finish. I used rubber feet under the SDS200 to keep it from sliding on the top of the rack. There is plenty of room on top for other stuff, like my desk mic, speakers etc.

I hope to have the panels here in the next day or two, I have the DIN sleeves and the radios waiting for them (Thanks again Dale!) so when that arrives I will install the radios in them after mounting them to the rack.

The Home Patrols will live either on top of the rack next to the SDS200 or more likely on the desktop in the well under the front lip. The overhang of the panel is just right for the HomePatrols to fit under.

I will post pics of the finished project as soon as it has been completed and placed. For now here are a couple pics of the job in process:



Here is a picture of the rear of the cabinet with the AC power strip, DC supply and multi coupler installed and the SDS200 placed. The SDS100 will go on a Scanner Master Desk Stand along side or on top of the finished project:
3 Starting to install.jpeg

Here is the front of the cabinet with the HomePatrols and SDS200 placed. The racks and the other scanners will be installed when the racks arrive, hopefully in a day or two:
4 Placement.jpeg
 

03msc

RF is RF
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Always superb work. I always enjoy your builds. Great ideas can be...borrowed!
 

JimD56

KO9JAD/Fire Lieutenant/Paramedic
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Nice Rich. My desktop wood Cabinet is an 8U, been sitting in the box for a year. Love the Sprectrum Force 4 Scanner desktop rack, but I'm not liking the exposed wire, my OCD kicking in. So I need to change.
My new SDS200 3U Plate for 2 SDS200's made by Alberta Radio Supply arrive tomorrow.
 

N9JIG

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I looked at and inquired upon a 2u panel for an SDS200 from Alberta Radio Supply a couple weeks ago. They said it might be doable but I have not heard anything since so I decided to go ahead and add an additional 996XT and put the SDS200 on top.

My original plan would have had a panel with a cutout for an SDS200 with the outer case removed (to allow more room at the top and bottom for rigidity) and a DIN cutout on the other side for a 996. This would have required a set of angle brackets for the SDS200 as there are no DIN sleeves available for it. I would have accepted that, and if ARS comes up with one will likely get it and revert to my original plan.

The nice thing is that racks are easily changed. If a better solution that includes the SDDS200 comes along I can go with it. I wanted to stay at 4u to keep the height manageable, 5u would be a totally custom ($$$) build and 6u would have been too tall for my taste as well as having less choices than the more common 4u.

I too hate seeing wires and the little bit of extra room allows me to more easily hide them. The hatred of wires even extended to me buying a new short AC line cord for the 12VDC unit to keep from having to bundle it even though no one will see it. I would know it was there and it would tear me apart!
 

tunnelmot

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I too have checked out both AudioRax and alberta radio supply trying to decide what I want to build.
 

N9JIG

Sheriff
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I too have checked out both AudioRax and alberta radio supply trying to decide what I want to build.
If it means anything AudioRax has displayed remarkable customer service. When I got my cabinet there was a wood plug on one side that was raised just a smidge during the process, this caused the staining process to smear a little. I would not have said anything but it was on the side that would be viewable in my office and on my live show. I send a picture asking if there would be a way to mask it and they said they would send me a compete and assembled panel to replace it.

This rack came with 4 pieces, the 2 sides and the top and bottom. The sides have pre-installed screws that stick out a set amount. The bottom and top have slots in them with a turn nut that holds the sides on so the only tool needed to assemble is a screwdriver. The rack rails were preinstalled as well. It is sort of an Ikea method but with higher quality material. It took all of 5 minutes to assemble on my workbench. The replacement side panel should be here in a couple days.

I am still waiting on the rack panels to arrive, I will finish the build when these two parts are here. The racks are supposed to arrive today according to the P.O. but I am not holding my breath. The side panel will take longer as they are custom made, I hope it arrives for the weekend.

As far as Alberta Radio Supply, they did respond to my inquiries and I have heard good things about them. If they had a 2u solution for the SDS200 I would have bought one but so far they don't. If they end up with one I will probably get one.
 

N9JIG

Sheriff
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This one of mine works so well I'm planning to make two more to house the rest of my setup. Unfortunately most of the bits are not standard rack size so there will need to be some detailed planning.......
You can use standard rack shelves for items that are not conducive to direct mounting. Check for my Rack Cabinet thread to see how I did that with a lot of stuff...
 

N9JIG

Sheriff
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The rack panels arrived today and I got the desk cabinet done! I still need to order some custom length cables but that will wait for now. The outward appearance will not change though

Here are some pictures of the finished project:

First, the front view:
9 Front.jpeg

Now the view of the interior. I am thinking about getting a rear panel but for now it will remain open:
9 Rear.jpeg

The view from the side:
9 Side.jpeg

The overall view with the big cabinet nearby:
9 Overall.jpeg

I hope to do a YouTube video on this very soon.
 

ems55

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New Milford
The rack panels arrived today and I got the desk cabinet done! I still need to order some custom length cables but that will wait for now. The outward appearance will not change though

Here are some pictures of the finished project:

First, the front view:
View attachment 97828

Now the view of the interior. I am thinking about getting a rear panel but for now it will remain open:
View attachment 97829

The view from the side:
View attachment 97830

The overall view with the big cabinet nearby:
View attachment 97831

I hope to do a YouTube video on this very soon.
Hard to type when the drool is so slippery !!!!
Fantastic setup !!!
 

737mech

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Rich where are you gonna put the new SDS300 and SDS400? Asking for a friend. :) I also want to know with all of your stuff how come there's no APX or other DMR brand radios? One suggestion I'd add a rig runner or other brand power distribution fuse block. IMHO.
 

N9JIG

Sheriff
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Rich where are you gonna put the new SDS300 and SDS400? Asking for a friend. :) I also want to know with all of your stuff how come there's no APX or other DMR brand radios? One suggestion I'd add a rig runner or other brand power distribution fuse block. IMHO.
The SDS300 and SDS400's are already there but I have the optional Invisibility Upgrade installed.

When I retired I had to return my APX's. I considered getting one for myself a few times but was never able to justify the expense for my needs. I do have a TYT MD9600 in the large cabinet and an AT 878 handheld. I have some DMR ham stuff in them but rarely use it. My SDS, X36 and P2 scanners all do DMR so I am fine there. I am more active on our local GMRS system than any ham stuff these days.

With only 6 12v devices in the small cabinet there was no need for a RigRunner, the harnass I made works just fine. Each lead is fused. The big cabinet does have a RigRunner however.
 

danesgs

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That black standing rack with the weather clock blows what little mind I have left. Lions and tigers and Bearcats Oh My! Goes to show you can never have enough radios. Outstanding setup, May the frequencies be with you!
 

buddrousa

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Rich's 48U rack was the inspiration for my 18U with 16 Unidens in it pus others in 4 and 3 racks.
 

03msc

RF is RF
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That black standing rack with the weather clock blows what little mind I have left. Lions and tigers and Bearcats Oh My! Goes to show you can never have enough radios. Outstanding setup, May the frequencies be with you!
You'd probably like his videos, then. Here are a couple:



Enjoy!
 

ra7850

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Mar 30, 2003
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Northeastern Pennsylvania
The rack panels arrived today and I got the desk cabinet done! I still need to order some custom length cables but that will wait for now. The outward appearance will not change though

Here are some pictures of the finished project:

First, the front view:
View attachment 97828

Now the view of the interior. I am thinking about getting a rear panel but for now it will remain open:
View attachment 97829

The view from the side:
View attachment 97830

The overall view with the big cabinet nearby:
View attachment 97831

I hope to do a YouTube video on this very soon.
Rich,

Is that a Herman Miller Chair? If my room looked like that I'd never be leaving it, so it would have to be a great chair!
 

N9WI

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Really looks great. I've got my drawing board out... :)
 
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