G0VQY's Online Blog
What's on the mind of a UK ham radio operator?
Amateur Radio from My Bed
IBeing confined to a wheelchair has many drawbacks and annoyances. Probably the worst thing that can happen is when you develop a pressure sore on your backside. The only reliable way to cure a pressure sore is to not sit in your wheelchair. This obviously means confining itself to bed until the pressure sore has healed. There probably aren't many wheelchair users who haven't had a sore, if you've been in a wheelchair for a long time then you are very lucky if you have managed to avoid spending time in bed.
I've done my best to stay free are pressure sores but unfortunately I've had my fair share of problems. Thankfully in this day and age technology has come a long way so spending time in bed isn't quite as boring as it probably was a few years ago. Knowing that bed rest is something that is always a possibility, I have kitted my bedroom out so that I can still do the things I normally do on a daily basis when sitting up. I have this fabulous television bracket that enables you to position the television at all sorts of angles. This means that no matter how I am laying in bed, I am still able to watch TV without having to strain my neck. I also have an environmental control system which lets me control television, satellite, lights, my bed, fan, and lots of other things as well. Probably the most important thing I have next to my bed is my PC, I would be lost without this. I haven't had to get anything special, it's a bog standard PC, albeit fairly high spec. I'm using my trusty Kensington trackball mouse which is a gift from the gods as far as I'm concerned. Coupled with my Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software and my Plantronics microphone headset, I can use the computer in exactly the same way as when I am sitting up. I found that it's important to use a fairly large monitor which enables you to see what you're doing. I'm using a 22 inch LG which is more than adequate.
I also decided to install some ham radio equipment next to my bed as well. In all fairness I don't use my radio quite as much in bed as I do when I'm sitting up, but it's nice to have it here if I do want to go on the air. Again, I didn't really need to get anything special in order for me to use the radio. I have my old faithful ICOM 7400 which is connected to HRD (Ham Radio Deluxe). I can change frequency using my hand, but the computer makes using the radio in bed that much easier. I don't tend to use HRD to control the radio much while sitting up, but it's made all the difference when lying in bed. I did originally purchase a second Heil foot switch, the same as what I use when sitting up. However, I found that it's easier to use HRD to transmit. I did contemplate getting a headset, however this would be extremely uncomfortable to wear whilst lying in bed. So I'm using the same Heil extendable microphone arm as I do when sitting up. Attached to this arm is the Heil 781 microphone which really complements the 7400.
So even though spending time in bed this something I never relish, I am so thankful that I can still get on with my life without too many restrictions.