My High Tech Radio Desk

I decided to try my hand at designing and constructing a desk specifically to make operating amateur radio more convenient.

Desired features list for the desk:

a. For those times when needed to access back of the amateur equipment, I have mounted the equipment shelf at approximately a 45° angle.

b. Red or green LED lighting will be provided under the equipment shelf. Night vision will be maintained.

c. The back of one of the legs (prefereably the left leg) a copper panel will be attached for RF grounding.

d. The right pedestal will have shallow drawers for logbooks, QSL cards, etc.

e. Above the equipment shelf will be a bracket to hold a second LCD display connected to a desktop computer. This display can be used for DX spotting, etc.




Figure 1

Left side of desktop

The desk top measures 32" deep and 72" long. It is made of 3/4" thick white oak plywood. The cutout in the back is a cable pass-thru.

Figure 2

Right side of desktop

The cutout in the front is the computer keyboard recess.

Figure 3

Equipment shelf before routing the kerf

The equipment shelf measures 16" deep and 36" long.

Figure 4

Routed kerf

The kerf is 1/16" wide x 1/2" deep. I used a 3-flute router bit and a plunge router adjusted to place the kerf exactly in the center of the plywood thickness.

Figure 5

Installing vinyl "T" molding

The tan vinyl "T" is available from Rockler Woodworking & Hardware. Rockler P/N is 27110. Their web site is

Figure 6

Equipment shelf with edging installation completed

Figure 7

After 3 applications of polyurethane finish

I used a clear semi-gloss indoor/outdoor MINWAX "Helmsman" Spar Urethane. The initial surface was sanded with 150 grit sand paper using an orbital finishing sander. After several days of "curring", I sanded using 220 grit sandpaper. It is very important to properly remove the sanding dust between each application with a quality tack cloth.

Figure 8

Mounting spacers installed

Each spacer is a 1" diameter oak dowel 2 3/4" long. Each spacer is press fit into a 1" diameter x 3/8" deep blind hole. The blind holes are made using a 1" diameter Forestner Cutter. Before final assembly, each dowel will be secured using Gorilla Glue.

Figure 9

Trial placement of equipment shelf to check form, fit, & function

This view shows the transceiver on the equipment shelf that is placed on the left end of the desk top.