Amateur Radio Station WA2FNQ

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The Studio

While originally intended to be a home for my Ham radio and just fooling around the studio has now become a multifunction room. In addition to video and audio production it has been used for radio and Internet radio work. All the product for Internet radio station passes through here. Now WA2FNQ gets to "borrow" it from time to time. So lots of equipment was put in for other purposes but it's fun to see how it can be integrated with Ham radio stuff.

The on-air light over the studio entrance.
Picture by Mike Erickson

Welcome to Studio A. This is what you see as you enter through the studio door. All the pigs are my wife's idea. It's Ham radio. Get it? Sorry for the bad joke. You'll see a few outdated pieces of equipment. If it's working I generally leave it alone. I may find a use for it someday and unless I need the space it's usally more trouble to remove than it's worth.

The studio clock.
Picture by Mike Erickson

Looking at the main position in Studio A. On top of the overbridge is an Akai reel to reel machine, a little black and white television for monitoring ATV off air, an MFJ monitor receiver, yes... an 8 track machine and 2 CD players. On top of the Akai is a Heathkit phone patch and a Radio Systems digital clok. On the shelf is a Realistic STA - 111 receiver. It has no spearker outputs anymore and is used to drive a Crown D-75. There's also a little MCM Electronics color camera and 5 inch color monitor for ATV plus all the audio monitor switching. Out of the picture to the upper left is a 19 inch HDTV monitor.

Left - To the right of the overbridge is a computer monitor switchable between 2 of the studio computers. Below it is a Heathkit HR-20 receiver and a Teac dual cassette machine. The push button panel in front of the cassette machine is a remote control for an Ampex 350 in the next room. On top of the speaker is a VX-802 camcorder which is now the camera focused on the rear studio position. To the right of the speaker is an Ikegami HC-240A which ics the main studio camera. Studio speakers are EPI 90's left and right front, EPI 100's left and right rear and a Realistic Minumus 2 rear center.

Right - On the far left is a Behringer MX 802A mixer. It along with a Behringer MX 400 are used as a submixer for the main mixer. Under the Behringer MX 802A is the caller I.D. box. For the main mixer I used a Realistic 5 channel mixer as a foundation and modified it to my specs. The microphone channels were made mono microphone inputs 1 and 2 instead of left and right. A cue amplifier was added and muting for both the cue channel and main studio speakers. Also 5 more stereo channels were added to the mixer. To the left of the mixer are switches for muting control, cue channel speaker control and main headphone assignment. To the right of the mixer is transmitter control for everything except the ICOM IC745 located at the rear operating position. The microphone is a Marshall MDX 2003. The keyboard is for one of the computers under the table.

On top of the small rack in Studio A is the Crown D-75 monitor amp. On top of that is a Realistic TM 152 and Gonset Super 6 converter used as an AM receiver on 75 meters. Next to that is an old Lafayette RK-820 reel to reel tape deck. On top of the RK-820 is the video switching for the studio cameras. Between the Gonset converter and tape deck is an X-10 switch panel to control studio power. Also unseen between Gonset converter and tape deck is a remote modulation meter for the 75 meter AM transmitters.

Left - These are 2 of the studio computers. The computer on the left was an HP Pavilion 1.2 GHz computer. It's motherboard and lots of other stuff were changed and it is now a 2.4 GHz machine. It's used mostly for audio recording and editing as well as operation on Echolink. The computer on the right is an old 486-66 machine. Its sole function in life is to work with an old Pinnacle system to overlay my call letters over video when I'm on ATV. It can also be used for computer machine control with time code on some of the older camcorders when doing video editing.

Right - This is the small rack in Studio A. In it are a DBX NX-40 noise reduction system for use with the Akai tape deck, a Shure Level-Loc, a DBX 163X compressor/limiter, an Altec 1589B mixer, audio distribution amplifiers, a video distribution amplifier, a video/audio switch, video patchbays and audio patchbays. In an ideal world there would be no patches in the audio patchbay, right? Well... maybe when the station was first built but things have changed. Behind the blank panel in the top of the rack is a Sony SRF - A100 AM stereo receiver also for use with the Gonset converter. Around the back of the rack is a power supply for the Gonset converter and T/R switching for the Heathkit HR-20.

This is the audio processing equipment under the table. Here is how the audio chain works. Outputs of the main mixer pass through a Behringer Dualflex audio enhancer. The secondary outputs from the Dualflex feed a bucket brigade type reverb and a Behringer Virtualizer. The bucket brigade reverb is used as the mono reverb and is set set for a short duration. The Virtualizer is used for longer duration stereo effect and is set to the "Virtual Cathedral" mode. The wet outputs of both units are sent back to aux. return 1 and 2 of the MX802A mixer. The primary output of the Dualflex goes to a Behringer Autocom audio processor, then to dBx 163X compressors and audio distribution amplifiers. One set of outputs from the left/right audio distribution amplifiers is mono-summed and sent to an Inovonics model 222 limiter. Here the audio can be made NRSC compliant if desired. The output of the Inovonics 222 goes to all the AM/SSB transmitters. A second set of outputs from the distribution amplifiers feeds the stereo Volumax in the transmitter room and also the Scientific Atlanta MTS generator used to produce the 4.5 MHz audio subcarrier for the ATV transmitter. A third set of outputs from the distribution amplifiers is mono summed an sent to an Altec 1589B mixer amplifier. Here the audio can be summed with PL tone as is sent to the VHF/UHF tranceivers. Other distribution amplifier outputs are used for monitoring and recording.

On the cart next to the small rack is a Sony Betamax VCR for the Beta I and Beta II formats. Out of view on top of the Betamax VCR is a Cannon A1 camcorder and a 4 channel audio mixer, Under the Betamax VCR is a P.L. tone generator which can be patched in for use with tranceivers without P.L. and a Realistic reverb which is used as a mono reverb. Below that is a Realistic Betamax VCR for the Beta II and III formats and a Realistic VHS VCR. On the printer stand shelf is another Betamax VCR, an Eventide Harmonizer, a Grass Valley 10 X switcher and the camera head for the Ikgeami camera. Below that is an old titler, a Realistic TV stereo receiver and just out of view is a small Panasonic black and white monitor.

Left - On the shelf above the printer stand is a Systemax Pentium 4 laptop used for operating digital modes and things like instant messaging while on the air. Below the top shelf is a homebrew 6 channel stereo mixer which was the main mixer in my old studio. Mounted below the shelf are a set of PPM meters for monitoring levels on the 6 channel mixer.

Right - In an older picture (you can tell because there are no pigs) below the PPM meters are a set of Leitch video distribution amplifiers and a Howetech Phase Chaser. And yes, that is an old Epson dot matrix printer.

The picture on the left is the Systemax laptop. The VGA output has been wired to the HDTV monitor so it may be viewed from the main operating position. A small 4 X 4 matrix A/V switcher also allows other sources like the output of the studio video distribution amplifier or demodulated video from the ATV reciever to be viewed on this monitor as well.

The black computer on the left side of the picture is a Systemax 2.7 GHz machine. It is used for both video and audio editing. It runs XP but if necessary can also boot up in Windows 98. This is because there were a couple of programs from my old editing computer that wanted to see the old operating system. Under the table behind the computer is a Panasonic VHS VCR, a Panasonic VHS VCR/DVD player combo and a Panasonic DVD recorder/player. If necessary these units can function as a standalone duplicating setup for making copies of those vacation videos that you want all the relatives to see.

This is the rear position in the studio. All modes except AM and 10 meters are operated from this position. The transceiver is an ICOM IC745. A Heathkit HO - 10 scope is used for monitoring the signal. Yes, that's an old Compaq portable. It's used with along with an MFJ - 1278 to generate RTTY, AMTOR, etc. A Behringer XENYX 502 mixer is used to combine audio signals in to the accessory input of the IC745. This position is also used when there is a guest or talent in the studio.

This is just a small part of the music library.

This is the studio as set up for a QSO on 75 meter AM. The lights are dimmed. Up on the HDTV is a computer screen showing incoming Instant Messages, stats of the internet radio station or whatever else needs to be displayed. The regional radar weather map from the cable system can be displayed during inclement weather. The computer monitor to the right (with the washed out screen) displays the control panel for the playback of various station I.D.s, etc. The computer at the rear is used for internet browsing, recording or what ever function it may be need for.

To see pictures of the transmitter room Click Here.

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