Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Station comfort and ergonomics

My setup now with one monitor on a swivel arm to the right
In this month’s QST I found an article that sparked my interest entitled “Comfort design for your station” This is an area I feel that gets looked over when setting up a station. Most of the time I find we lean more towards how the setup looks as to the ergonomics of the setup. I am very guilty of falling into the trap of setting up a station making sure it looks very pleasing to the eye. After a contest or two and having to sit down at the radio for over 6 hour or more at a time I become very aware that it’s all about ergonomics first and looks later.  These days setting up a station most of the time does not just mean a radio but it can include a computer monitor, Laptop and various bits and pieces.  Some of the mistakes I made:
Rig and monitor up to high
  1. I had selves on the desk and I decided to put the monitor on one of the shelves, it looked very cool but over time I found the slight angle my head was on looking up (just slightly) became a chiropractic issue! I then decided to purchase a moveable arm for the monitor so I could adjust it to any position and this proved to be a great investment. 
  2. Since the radio is the most expensive item I had it front and center on the desk. For me over time I found having my arm extended in front of me was not very comfortable. It may sound strange but the best position for me is having the radio off to my left or right side. My right arm keeps its natural bend as I tune and adjust the radio. 
    Monitors on swivel arms
  3. Sideview of swivel arms
  4. I’m not sure about Icom, Kenwood or Yeasu but Elecraft has only 2 heights for the rig……either flat on the desk or with tilt stand (K3) or legs (KX3).  For me both are just not comfortable. I wish they would incorporate adjustable legs for custom heights. I did purchase the Elecraft K-pod which fixed this height issue but that was not the sole reason for the K-pod purchase. 
In closing there is one radio desk setup that I have seen now and then on the internet and thought for me it would be the best and I say "thought" because it only looks comfortable in the picture and until I was to try it I would not know for sure. It involves mounting the rig right into the desktop and almost having it flush with the desktop. Below are some pictures of this and if you have done this or tried it please post your comments about this setup. 


  1. Interesting post Mike, I've read about this before and I believe I've read the same article. I've about the same room you have at the moment for the radio but haven't found the most ergonomic design yet for me to operate without stressing. The upgrade I want to do is connect a smaller keyboard as the original one takes too much room. Another upgrade would be a IC-7300 so I can get rid of my voicekeyer at CAT modem as it is already build in that radio, but that will take some time ;-). 73, Bas

    1. Good evening Bas and very nice to hear from you, I use a smaller key board that is USB and it works great. I got it from Amazon for a very good price. As for the IC-7300 it looks like a fantastic radio and is very compact. As you said and I agree these things take time......and money.
      73 Bas

  2. Comfort is important when operating, I also prefer fresh air while operating. Great post!

  3. Good evening Michael, thanks for taking the time to comment and stopping by the blog. It's very true comfort is very important and fresh air will keep you awake during the hard times.