Visit to W1QG’s shack

Chris Dick was kind enough to introduce me to his friend, Dick Benson W1QG, a retired hardware development engineer. We went to visit his very impressive shack (which was not difficult to spot from the road).

This is a high frequency (HF) software defined radio of his own design, based on a Xilinx Spartan FPGA. For the signal processing parts, he used Matlab and System Generator tools. It is documented at

On one side he had his radio gear, together with a very substantial collection of vintage test equipment.

He told me this is the best amateur receiver for its time.

Not everyone has a Caesium frequency standard at home (in fact some countries don’t have one). Dick picked this up, not working, for $300 and repaired it (had a screw loose). I later found out the original price was $32,000 which would have been enough to buy a house at the time.

On the other side of the workshop was his mechanical stuff, including a Harley that he restored and lots of home made radio controlled planes.

This is an engine he made from scratch, using the mill in the photo below.

Thanks for a wonderful visit Dick!