Radio Setup at Holy Cross Germantown Hospital


In this view, you can see that the radio cabinet is located high on the wall, where it is easily accessible using a step-stool for maintenance but otherwise out of the way.


Here is the setup inside the wall enclosure. It is a standard 19″ rack enclosure. The power supply and a Powerpole distribution block are located on the “ground floor.” Upstairs, you can see the IC-7100 “black box”, automatic antenna tuner, and  AEA PK-96 TNC (donated by W2LNX). Everything is “plug and play”  in case last-minute substitutions are required. In addition to the hinged front door, the entire cabinet is hinged so that it can be swung away from the wall to access the back of the rack.

We chose to use a hardware TNC so that responding operators don’t have to deal with software modems, computer audio levels, and related setup issues. Commonly used Winlink frequencies are stored in the IC-7100 memory bank, which automatically selects the FM-Data mode. The only software needed is Winlink Express.

Although the IC-7100 is a great rig for home use, we now recommend using the Kenwood TM-D710GA transceiver in hospitals and EOCs. Similarly, while the MFJ power supply you see here would look great on a home electronics workbench, for an installation like this we would recommend using an industrial-grade fixed-voltage power supply such as Mean Well Model HRPG-450-12. This unit is less expensive than the MFJ seen here, but has an extensive array of safeguards, including over-current, over-voltage, and over-temperature protection. Most importantly, there is no user adjustment for output voltage to be accidentally bumped, causing damage to expensive equipment.


The radio control head is mounted on an aluminum plate bent into a U shape to slide over the back of the operating table. An old mouse pad was glued to the underside of the mount to avoid marring the table surface. An headset adapter from permits the use of an inexpensive computer headset such as the Yamaha CM-500. It is critical to use a headset in this environment, both to block out room noise and focus on the radio, and also to prevent the radio chatter from distracting others in the room.

The footswitch is a Linemaster Clipper Model 632-S. These rugged units are used in many commercial dispatch centers. You can operate it by placing a toe on it, but some operators turn it around and place their entire foot on the switch. You can then key the radio by rocking your foot as opposed to pressing down with your toe.


A view of the control head at the operating position. Sharp-eyed hams might notice that this headset is not the afore-mentioned Yamaha CM-500, but another inexpensive model used for initial testing.


Ron, KB3SYA, on the air. The computer in the background is “locked down” by the hospital IT staff for security reasons, so we generally bring our own laptop to run Winlink.