The N9JIG self-contained shack desk March 2020

Status
Not open for further replies.

N9JIG

Sheriff
Moderator
Joined
Dec 14, 2001
Messages
4,601
Location
Far NW Valley
I have posted many pictures of the radio cabinet I currently have and the various shack builds I have had over the years, this post concentrates on the desk in my office instead. While there are radios on it of course the main use for this desk is the computers.

I have had many desks over the years, and four since I have lived in this house. When we moved in there was a large wooden executive desk that came with the house that had plenty of room but was next to impossible to move around as I am wont to do often. I replaced it with an Elfa free-standing system for a while then bought a standard-sized standing desk from Office Depot. It was inexpensive but actually quite sturdy. It was however too small for me. I had to put much of my stuff on the Elfa desk.

For my two computers I use 4 monitors, 3 32-inch displays and a 27-inch. In addition, I have an IP phone, computer speakers and of course some radios. While most of my radios are in the cabinet, I keep a few on the desk for easier access and everyday use.

For a while I used display arms to allow the monitors to overhang the edges of the desk but that was an inelegant solution at best. For one it was almost impossible to keep the monitors straight, level and the same height. Secondly my wife wanted a standing desk for her sewing room. I had already been looking at a larger standing desk as I enjoyed the ability to work standing up off and on. I made a deal with Wifey, she would get my current standing desk for her sewing room and I would get a new, larger desk for my office.

Wifey gave me a budget and I looked at a bunch of options. I started looking at various “L” shaped standing desks. An “L” shaped desk would allow me to work from the corner and arrange the monitors to make them more easily seen.

I checked several companies, including Ikea, Lander and UpLift as well as several other online suppliers. Some companies sell the legs and mechanisms, you then provide your own desktop. Others sell the entire kit with many different options. I whittled the choices down and I was ready to pull the trigger on a real nice Lander standing desk at about $3500 all told when I stumbled upon the Human Solution UpLift desk. For about half the price I was able to meet or exceed all the specs I settled on with the Lander. The only real difference is that the desktop itself would be 2 pieces instead of a single surface and that the side desk (called the “return”) was slightly less deep on the UpLift (27 inches vs. 30).

I set up my order on a Tuesday afternoon using their online ordering system. I chose the desktop (color, size, shapes and cutouts) legs and mechanisms (including the 3rd leg for added stability) and some other options like casters. The desk arrived that Thursday from Texas. The boxes looked in rough shape but when unpacked all the contents were in pristine condition. It was very well packed.

During this time Wifey and I cleared out the office of everything I did not need for work and then after work on Friday we cleared out the old desk, computers and the radio cabinet. We then started to assemble the new desk. It was a LOT easier in an empty office! We finished the assembly in a few hours. The instructions were easy to follow, and everything went just fine.

The next day I put the office back together, including all the computers, monitors and radios. The computers are both “Small Form Factor” (SFF) units, one is a 2018 Mac Mini and the other is a Hades Canyon NUC from Intel. With the 4 monitors on metal monitor stands the computers fit nicely under the stands. I had purchased one of those large clamp-on monitor stands but mounted it UNDER the desktop as an under-the-desktop shelf for things like the power supplies, network switch, USB hub, backup hard drives and other stuff to keep the desktop less cluttered.

I had decided to make the entire desk self-contained. I bought the caster kit so I could swing it out to get at the rear of the desk and routed the needed cables to allow free motion around the office. There is a single power cable leading to a heavy-duty power strip/surge protector, the UPS plugs into the strip. While the computers and networking stuff plug into the UPS the monitors and accessories plug into the outlet strip.

I have an APC UPS for the computers, I mounted that in a CPU holder mounted under the desk. This was designed for a workstation type computer, but the UPS fit just fine. Everything else is on the under-desk shelf or on the desktop.

Besides the power cable there are a couple other cables leading from the desk that are strapped together to make a single bundle. These include a network cable from the main router to the switch for the desk that the computers, SDS200 and my phone connect to, a single USB cable leading to the radio rack, an antenna lead going to a Stridsberg multicouplers for the desk scanners and an extension cable for my GMRS radio desk mic. This single bundle allows me to rotate the desk around to get at the back to work on the wiring or it can quickly be disconnected altogether.

On the desk are several scanners, including an SDS200, a PSR400, a pair of BCD996XT’s, a HomePatrol-1 and a HomePatrol2. I also keep my SDS100 there for use when I don’t need it in the car. With the 8-port multicouplers I have capacity for a couple more scanners if needed.

Also on the desk is my IP phone for work, the 2 computers and their 4 monitors, my studio mic, speakers and some chargers and accessories. There are a couple wire holes with pop-in power ports. If I need to get at the rear of the desk to change a cable or something, I just unlock the casters and roll the desk out away from the wall. Nothing is on the floor and there are no wires hanging down or visible apart from the single power cable to the wall and the bundle going to the radio cabinet. All the wiring is either under the desk behind the support bars or at the rear against the wall. On the front side of the support bars I have denim skirts that match the black esthetic to hide the wires and accessories.

I like to change things up but after trying several different layouts I always seem to revert back to this one. It works well for me as I spend a lot of time in here. Since I work from home these days I am here most of the day and then it is my man-cave on off hours.

I have a 55 inch TV on the wall for watching the news or (more often) rail-cams and a smaller 40-inch display on the back desk for the home security system and other streaming cameras. Of course the main radios are in the cabinet on the other wall. There are plenty of pictures in this forum of the radio cabinet.

And, now, the pictures:

Here is the desk in its lowered position relative to the radio cabinet. The chair, BTW, is a Herman Miller Aeron, the first chair that I have had that survived my fat rear for an extended period of time.
81580


Here is another angle of the desk. I keep a small section of the Elfa system for the printer and some knick-knacks. My wife made the wall hangings to help deaden the echo when I do live broadcasts.
81578


There is a small bundle of wires running to the radio cabinet. including the USB cable, an antenna line, a, Ethernet cable and an extension for my GMRS mic.
81577


A view of the desk in the raised position:
81581
 

Attachments

lebrunmn

Curmudgeon
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
476
Location
Hamphire County, WV
Rich-

Wow! Never thought I'd say these words, but I think I have desk envy... That is one seriously well laid-out listening post!
 

K9JDN

Member
Feed Provider
Joined
Jan 31, 2005
Messages
38
Location
Madison County, Illinois (STL Metro-area)
I love working at an L-shaped desk. Lots of real estate to do work and room to move around things! I've never had a desk that raised, though....I'm sure it is convenient for those long hours in the office! Your "office" is SO neat and clean...I need to get my act together!
 

danesgs

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 21, 2008
Messages
382
This may sound weird and yes outstanding setup, but can you tell me what brand and where you got the clock in the scanner rack? It resembles a lot of military ones I saw at the Pentagon. Thanks
 

commscanaus

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2006
Messages
510
Location
Melbourne VK
Benchmark shack setup right there!!
Have yet to see one with a desk that raises like that.
Very nice touch!

Thanks for sharing the build description and pictures Rich.
Would you mind posting a picture with the lights out and all the radios running?
I think that setup would be rather epic in the dark!

Commscanaus.
 

wa8pyr

Technischer Guru
Moderator
Joined
Sep 22, 2002
Messages
5,591
Location
Ohio
I have posted many pictures of the radio cabinet I currently have and the various shack builds I have had over the years, this post concentrates on the desk in my office instead. While there are radios on it of course the main use for this desk is the computers.

View attachment 81581
Where did you get the super-size clock at the top of the rack cabinet?

Update: Never mind, just saw the answer you posted while I was typing my question. . . but I do have another question: Can it connect to an NTP server so it automatically stays updated?
 

N9JIG

Sheriff
Moderator
Joined
Dec 14, 2001
Messages
4,601
Location
Far NW Valley
Can it connect to an NTP server so it automatically stays updated?
I looked at a Net-Clock but wasn't really willing to spend that kind of money. This was $40 at the time and fit the bill for what I wanted. My wife loves these large red clocks, we have a couple of those MFJ ones in the bedrooms and living room. She can see them without her glasses!

I do have another large format LCD clock on the other wall but it is not lit so I cannot see it in the dark. It is supposed to be controlled by WWVB but that doesn't work for some reason and never has.
 

wa8pyr

Technischer Guru
Moderator
Joined
Sep 22, 2002
Messages
5,591
Location
Ohio
I looked at a Net-Clock but wasn't really willing to spend that kind of money. This was $40 at the time and fit the bill for what I wanted. My wife loves these large red clocks, we have a couple of those MFJ ones in the bedrooms and living room. She can see them without her glasses!

I do have another large format LCD clock on the other wall but it is not lit so I cannot see it in the dark. It is supposed to be controlled by WWVB but that doesn't work for some reason and never has.
OK, thanks.

It's not absolutely crucial; as long as it keeps good time I'm happy. I just bought one on Amazon for $45.

I do have a WWVB clock in the shack but it only shows local time and sometimes the WWVB part doesn't want to update the clock reliably; I think my house is a Faraday cage. I'm particularly interested in this clock for 1) the readability and 2) the capability to be set for Zulu time (although the Zulu time part isn't critical).

I thought about getting a couple of those big LED NTP clocks from TimeMachines (set one to local time and the other to Zulu), but at around $200 each that idea went right out the window pretty quickly. The similar clocks used in EOCs around here are a similar price, so scratch those suppliers off the list too.
 

N9JIG

Sheriff
Moderator
Joined
Dec 14, 2001
Messages
4,601
Location
Far NW Valley
The clock does have a 24 hour time setting as you can see from the picture. BTW, my wife calls it the BRC...

When I first started working the phones at my WFH job talking to people all over the country I bought 4 cheap digital clocks set to the 4 main time zones. It made it easy to figure out the time where the customer was. Within a few months I got comfortable with the time relationships and they were no longer needed.

The biggest problem I have here is that Arizona does not recognize DST but the company I work for is based in Boston, so my work hours change with DST. I had to remember to set the alarm for this morning lest I oversleep. I do occasionally find a clock or device that automatically changes the time anyway so I have to change it back or fake out the time zone to get it accurate.

Occasionally I do get the HF bug and when I am inflicted with that I set the BRC to Zulu time.
 

commscanaus

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2006
Messages
510
Location
Melbourne VK
Outstanding!

Thanks Rich!
You just convinced me to get a jumbo LED clock for UTC.
And to make an LED backlit callsign strip for the rack too.

Bask in the glow of your shack!

Commscanaus.
 

03msc

RF is RF
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
3,200
Location
Arkansas
Don't take this too personal, but when I see a setup that nice and clean my first though is mental disease.
Well you should get that checked out then...

When your job is literally scanners, I don't see anything wrong with Rich's setup.
 

03msc

RF is RF
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
3,200
Location
Arkansas
Its way too nice, therefore something is wrong.
I literally have no idea why you'd have a problem with a neat and orderly setup. He has described time and time again that his wife prefers it be very neat and orderly and that is the trade off for getting to have the radio room in the house. Plus, it's his ScannerMaster office, so...I see nothing wrong with it.

No idea why anyone would have a problem with this or see anything wrong with it. Well, except out of jealousy, I suppose.
 

N9JIG

Sheriff
Moderator
Joined
Dec 14, 2001
Messages
4,601
Location
Far NW Valley
Don't take this too personal, but when I see a setup that nice and clean my first though is mental disease.
I think my wife will agree with you. :)

I do hate to see wires hanging around and am always looking at ways to improve.

My next project may well be a 2 level desktop with an undershelf to hold the AC strip, UPS, network switch, multicoupler, power supplies and cables and a new desktop. We have a woodworking club here and I have been in contact with some of the members. I would retain the existing legs and motors, just replace the desktop itself. I would probably have the outside corners rounded and a curve at the inside corner. I would make the return a little deeper than it is now, matching the main desktop.

Inside the undershelf would be a divider with open shelf space for the cables and stuff on the rear. I will have to figure out how to handle the AC power, I might have to make the undershelf tall enough to accommodate this. I probably could do the same for the UPS, putting it on it's side rather than upright.

I would keep the large power port holes but see if I can find inserts that also include USB power as well as AC. I would probably also put in a couple smaller ones for the monitor cables and phone.

At the front there would be cubbies or drawers for the laptop, pens etc. I was also thinking of embedding speakers for the two computers into the desktop and perhaps a charging surface for the iPhone and AirPods.

This would make the overall desktop a few inches higher but with the motorized lift that is easily adjusted for. Something like this would be even cleaner and keep the clutter off the desktop even more.
 

Ubbe

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
5,816
Location
Stockholm, Sweden
Here is another angle of the desk. I keep a small section of the Elfa system for the printer and some knick-knacks. My wife made the wall hangings to help deaden the echo when I do live broadcasts.
Yeah, that's often a problem, that you are not aware of it yourself of the echo that naked walls and a hard floor without any cartpets produce and listeners will sooner or later complain that it sounds as if you broadcast from inside a church ;)


/Ubbe
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top