Dutson - Ham Radio - NM5G

NM5G Shack

Tomball, Texas

Shack and Station Equipment

The shack is located just north of the main house and garage. It has a car port for one car. It has 1000 square feet of living area, including kitchen, radio room, bedroom, bath and large walk-in closet.

Station equipment consists of -
Main: ICOM IC-775DSP Transceiver, Alpha 87A Amplifier, various tuners and accessories
Spotter: ICOM IC-735 Transceiver, Kenwood TM-733 VHF/UHF Dual-band FM Transceiver, Kantronics KAM PLus, various accesories.


Main Station

Spotting Station

Main Transceiver

Main Amp/Tuners

Station Saver

Station Saver - Rear


The most important accessory used for the main transceiver is the Station Saver. This home-brew unit connects power and antennas to the transceiver. When turned off, or when activated and house voltage drops below 92 VAC, antenna and power cables at the transceiver are disconnected and grounded. To date there have been two direct lightning hits on the tower. Damage sustained included a blown balun used on the 40 meter antenna, and a factured 144/440 MHz dual band antenna. In both instances the Station Saver was turned off. A modification to deactivate the unit when local lightning strikes are detected is currently being tested.

The main transceiver is powered by an uninterruptable power supply. This unit by American Power Conversion can supply 900 volt-amperes for a full hour. This is enough wattage to power the transceiver and all accessories, including a PC and monitor, for at least 4 hours. This was proven during a recent contest when power was lost for slightly more than 4 hours.

Tower and Antenna

Force 12 C-4XL on 150 foot commercial tower
Rotator is Yaesu G-800SDX

Southwest View

Southwest Closer

Southwest Zoom

North View

East View

South View

West View

Northwest View

The lead-in panel employes Polyphaser units for lightning protection. Shunts are provided for both coax and rotator cables. The panel is constructed of T-6061 aluminum. It was custom built by George Edwards K5VUU.

Ground System

The tower base is grounded using 3/4 inch braided copper strap and three ground rods.

Tower Base Grounds

Ground Closeup

The strap is clamped to a tower leg using a stainless steel hose clamp. It then runs to an 8 foot copper-clad ground rod, is wrapped around the top of the ground rod, then clamped using a ground rod clamp. The strap then proceeds in a similar fashion to the other two tower legs and associated ground rods.

The lead-in panel is grounded using two ground rods and Type THHN AWG 4 stranded copper cable. Each end of the panel is connected to a separate rod.

Lead-In Panel

Lead-In Panel Grounds

Ground Closeup

Copper cable connects the tower ground rods to the lead-in panel ground rods. Another copper cable connects the system to the ground rod used for the commercial power service connection.