The topic of ham shack lighting is certainly important for good operating ergonomics. Can the amateur radio operator benefit from the latest advances in home lighting products?
There is a wide range of LED lighting solutions available for virtually any situation or application. To cut to the chase, a broad category in lighting that can be applied to the modern-day LED product are for ham shack design, household use, recessed lighting, and indicator lighting. Each of these is for use in particular circumstances and should be installed to serve a particular purpose.
If you are converting a room in your home, like a kitchen or bathroom, there are a wide range of incandescent and LED lights available for the home. They can power a range of lighting projects, including:
- Kitchen lighting, including strategically placed task lighting
- Bedroom lighting, to create a relaxing ambiance for the bedroom
- Living room and dining room lighting for entertaining and family gatherings
- Hallway, for drives and walks along hallways
- Outdoor lighting for decks, patios, and balconies
- Fixed light and shade, such as floodlights and landscape lights
- Ham Radio Shack lighting and design
For indoor use, LED light is up to 50 times more efficient in creating bright dishes of light than incandescent light. It is also up to 50 times more efficient in generating heat as incandescent lights produce while they remain on. If you are using LED lights indoors, it will cut the cost of your cooling costs. LED light is also available in a wide range of colors, as opposed to incandescent lights, which typically produce a limited number of colors.
With regards to household use, one popular solution is the light bulb that is recessed. It is a type of LED light fitting that is used in lamps for use in the home. It is typically mounted on the ceiling, just above the bulb, to produce a focused light, and can also be controlled with a range of settings that allow you to control the brightness and color. A popular kind includes linear strip lighting. It is a strip of LED lighting that is mounted in a long length along the length of the kitchen or living room wall. It is used to highlight certain aspects of the decor.
Lighting for a driveway
Driveways can be lit in a similar fashion to a kitchen, while at the same time providing the additional benefits of LED lights. A popular solution includes driveway lighting, which features long strips of LED light that are flushed to the wall. There are also trip hazards or roller floodlights that are useful for illuminating walkways.
Indicator lights can be simple and effective, providing added security on a garage, patio, or other outbuildings including your ham shack. Indicator lights are available in energy-efficient versions, with small LED light bulbs that are good for smaller use. Indicator lights are popular with outdoor installations.
Installing your LED lighting
Since LED lights are low cost and provide a great amount of light at a small size, they are easily installed onto virtually any surface. LED high bay lights can be mounted onto ceilings, outdoor walls, columns, tanks, or flat roofing. By simply mounting onto the edge, you are able to illuminate large areas with little light. If you really want an added bonus, you can easily string LED lighting along the roof of your shack for a truly spectacular glow!
For most installations, you will need a transformer. Transformers function as power supply and can be plugged into a standard power outlet, making LED lighting completely portable. LED lighting can be adapted to a range of applications, giving you so much more to choose from.
It is worth noting that LED lights can be used for a lot of other applications as well, such as:
- Ham Shack Lighting
- Machine lamps
- Modern bulbs
- Lighting strips
- Christmas lights
- Light sheets
LED lights are also a great option for burglar alarms. And if you really want to be adventurous, it is an excellent option for topics like special events. So, consider this versatile lighting option for any kind of lighting project you are undertaking for your Ham Shack or Home.
Radio interference from LED light bulbs
There have been some reports by The German Amateur Radio Club (DARC) has issued a press release identifying domestic LED light bulbs as a source of electrical interference. The increasing popularity of these light sources has led to a significant increase in reports of radio traffic disturbance, interruption of radio services, and even poor DAB reception. In their opinion, the electrically noisy LED lamps are a result of a bad government policy that simply ignores regulations applicable to EMC and the generation of EMI by electrical equipment.
The solution for this is to always check a sample for RFI before installing a number of them. Make sure to purchase them locally so that returns could be done easily if needed. If you may needed to return a few for RFI and non-RFI reasons like buzzing or the wrong color temperature it will be easier when purchased locally.
Also stay away from the cheap LED lights. Make sure you use good LED lights and power. The cheap Chinese LED strips and power supplies are not consistent in their RF emissions. Some are good. Others can introduce RF noise of S9+ in your shack. Also, don’t use cheap LED lights in the house either. I got some that were supposedly quiet but when the lights were turned on I had a noise floor of S6 while normally it is around S2. Beware the lure of cheap lights.
Get an Electrician to Setup the Best Lighting for your Shack
Not all of us know how to tinker with electrical wirings so for safety get a licensed electrician to install the LED lightings for your shack. If you are like me who would rather do a professional do the dirty job then make sure to call a Baltimore Electrician if ever you are located in the Baltimore area.
Electrical safety is essential for enjoying amateur radio. Many people are killed each year by coming in contact with ordinary power line conductors. Similarly, much of our equipment is powered by electrical mains–one can’t be too careful when opening up equipment for servicing. The wiring for your shack should ideally be controlled by one master switch and everyone in the house should know where it is. A fire extinguisher, suitable for use on electrical fires, is also a good investment.