The term radio ‘shack’ may go back to the days of cabins on ships but I think it is from the ham world. Traditionally the ‘shack’ being a shed adorned with lots of different bits of hardware. Of course you don’t have to work in a shed these days. With ‘shack in a box’ transceivers, actual working space need only be quite modest. However, there are other factors to consider. If you are in the house, don’t forget that ‘talking’ may irritate others – especially if late at night and with young children trying to get to sleep. The acoustic noise of a QSO on an open speaker may also disturb. Data modes may be less of a problem and using CW on a paddle, but the clatter of a straight key is likely to annoy.
Also consider the cable routes from the transceiver to the antenna. If you’re using a doublet, it may be necessary to place the matching transformer outside and use coax within the house.
M0PBZ in 2011: Ergonomic but rather closed in.
I have a habit of changing my shack layout periodically and last year I adopted the ‘wall’ approach. It was ergonomic but rather pokey and closed in. I made some simple shelves and all the radio equipment was near to hand. The PC screen was on the higher shelf level which was too high really. And the relatively weak wooden shelf eventually began to sag.
M0PBZ in 2012
I now have a totally different approach to overcome clutter. This is based on a wide computer desk with a single tier raised section. It is probably the best layout to date and suits my CW operation. This may change soon as the logging is off my eye line and really these days, the screen is possibly the centre of activity. The equipment will be moved to the right and the Paddle and Morse Key will remain in the same place.
M0PBZ (Autumn 2013)
I needed more space to accommodate the larger and heavier IC 781 so back to the wall of equipment approach for now. It is ergonomic as I can easily tweak the manual tuners and adjust the outboard DSP. As the Alinco is used for 60 metres I need it close to hand. The main benefit is that I can do most things without having to mess about. The DAIWA keyer is there as I find it rather better the 781′ s in-built keyer and the DSP helps clean up noisy signals: the IC 781 was on of the the last grand rigs with all-analogue filters. These are mostly okay but sometimes the DSP is brought into service when noise is just to much.