K5ZD on CQ Magazine Cover – Sep 1995

Thanks to those of you who have commented on my picture on the cover of September CQ Magazine.  Several people have requested more information on the station.  Pick up the magazine and let’s take a little tour…

My station is located in a room built on the back of my garage.  Designed just for radio, it features two big windows looking out on the forest in the back yard.  Unfortunately, the morning sun comes in right over the top of the monitor.  Can’t sleep through sunrise at this station.  The best feature is a ceiling fan just above me.  Slow RPM keeps the room from becoming too stuffy.

I have two stations.

Main Station (left)
Icom IC-765 and Alpha 76PA.

Second Station (right)
Kenwood TS-930S and Drake L-4B

The radios are elevated off the table about 4 inches.  This is done so the keyboard can be pushed under the radios.  I also slide the keyer paddles and log book in there too.

K1ZX commented on the lack of table space.  I do this on purpose.  I found that I was having minor back pain when I had the radios further back. In a talk by W3LPL, I remember his commenting that bringing the radios closer would require less effort to reach them.  He’s right!

The switch boxes under the monitor are for antenna switching.  Two DX Engineering relay boxes are out on the towers.  Another switch chooses which set of antennas is connected.  This will all be automated by the end of the winter so that the antennas automatically follow the radio. It doesn’t hurt to have the antenna switching at a place with such high visibility.  It has saved me more than once!

All of the inside antenna switching and connection is done in a closet behind the wall to my right.  That keeps the radio room looking neat! All coaxes and control cables enter the house through an aluminum panel that is well grounded.  I ALWAYS disconnect all coaxes and control cables when I am not using the station.

The switch under my left hand selects the beverage.  The box contains a relay to isolate the Beverage from the receiver during transmit (lots of watts come back down the Beverage!).  Typical Radio-Shack-components and the-day-of-a-contest construction!

The switch box next to the keyer selects which radio the headphones and keyer are connected to. It uses simple A-B switches for the right ear, left ear, and keyer.  Dirt simple, but perfectly functional!

Notice the keyer is at the far left, and the paddles are to the right of the keyboard.  This is so I can change the keyer speed with my left hand while sending with my right.  Same reason all the rotator boxes are on the left side of the station.

And yes, for those of you who remarked, it does always look this clean!  Just don’t look at the desk at the other end of the room.  This is a paperless contest station.


Tower 1 — 100 feet of Rohn 45G about 300′ from the house

  • Cushcraft 40-2CD at 110′
  • Hygain 205CA at 100′ and 50′ (upper, lower, both stack)
  • LTA 5-ele 15m at 70′ on rotating sidemount
  • LTA 6-ele 10m at 80′ fixed south
  • 80m inverted vee (top at 95′)
  • 160m 1/4-wave GP hanging off from top of tower

Tower 2 — 70 feet of Rohn 25G about 250′ from the house

  • Hygain TH7DXX at 70′
  • 40m 1/2-wave sloper
  • 80m 1/4-wave GP hanging from top of tower


  • 500′ Beverage to Northeast

I am 36 years old.  I work as the Director of Marketing at a small Factory Automation software company.  My other expensive and frustrating hobby is golf!

I have been married 12 years.  My son is 5 years old (I have found him sitting at the radio with the headphones pretending to make QSOs — look out!).

I hope you enjoyed the tour.  See you in the contests.

Randy, K5ZD