*EDITORIAL* Good Shack Posture

Licensed ham and Dx Adventure Radio Club (DA-RC) member 43DA1210 Leonie considers the importance of good posture…

Having a crook back can seriously affect one’s lifestyle and given that too much time sitting at a desk is one leading cause of back pain, radio comms hobbyists must be conscious of having good posture or ‘pozzy’ in the shack — especially when spending extended periods of time staring into the face of a transceiver.

Poor posture in the shack is easy whereas adapting habits of ‘good’ posture often require conscious effort and are much more demanding.  On this note, I’d imagine that most DXers wouldn’t think about their pozzy until someone like the YL brings it to their attention. Or, they start to find it too arduous scaling the tower or erecting antennas during episodes of dx adventure!

Apart from affecting ham radio ops, poor pozzy habits have spread as fast as Facebook spam to include many other society trends. Children carry huge over loaded backpacks to school, adults lug briefcases to work and thousands of people spend hours hunched over a computer for work or play.

Poor posture in the shack is habitual however and change takes serious willpower. Nevertheless, the rewards of excellent pozzy in general are well worth the effort and can pay off BIG time. Evidence shows that you’ll feel great behind the mic and your physical appearance in general will look tall and confident!

What’s Good Shack Pozzy Look Like?

Firstly, the body is straight — but not robotic! The appearance behind the mic is laid-back as the ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles align like a dipole strung between two coconut palms. In other words, if you hung an imaginary plumb line from the earlobe, the line would hang straight through the middle of the anklebone.

According to medical journals, good shack pozzy means there’s a musculoskeletal SWR of 1:1. This equilibrium helps to protect the joints in the spine from excessive stress caused by reaching for the log book countless times, bending over to pick up dropped stationary items during frantic pile-ups, peering into the computer screen to read articles on www.delta-alfa.com, etc.

All in all, good pozzy is a terrific ‘tool’ in a DXer’s kitbag to help prevent back pain and other niggles.

Posture Support Tips

After every contact, it’s recommended you stand up tall and stretch your arms above your head. Secondly, do the ‘hug your best friend trick’ where you wrap your arms around your body and turn as far as you can to the left, then to the right.

DXers should also exercise regularly to keep the abdominal muscles strong to help support the spine. It’s also recommended that limitations be placed on the number of YL’s shack snacks.

Additionally, YL DXers should avoid wearing high–heeled shoes when on the mic in order to sustain good pozzy. They should choose shoes that offer good foot support and comfort — particularly when accompanying their man on DXpedition adventures or working large pile ups in DA-RC Dxtreme Team Challenge (DXTRC). Some styles can actually affect the body’s centre of gravity; hence flat shoes are better for maintaining good posture.

My advice is to take a moment away from the rig and take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror. Is your posture good or is it like a station master antenna that’s just been through a Darwinian cyclone? Think about your pozzy and how to maintain it throughout your stay in the shack and remember ‘practice makes perfect’!

Finally, consider the following tips:

  • When undertaking DXpedition work, choose a backpack made of a lightweight material. Make sure the shoulder straps are adjustable, wide and padded. A backpack with a waist/hip strap is preferable. Wear the pack with both shoulder straps and hip strap. Pack the heavier items close to the back. Backpacks with many compartments will help you equalize and distribute the load. Pointy objects should be packed away from the wearer’s spine.
  • Choose shack furniture that’s ergonomically designed and that fits your body. Sit with your back against the back of the chair with knees at hip level. Consider using a footrest. A small pillow or rolled towel placed at the lower back can offer needed support. The transceiver or desk should be at elbow height. Adjust chair height to meet this need.
  • Sit with your shoulders straight and parallel to the hips. Don’t slouch or lean forward to adjust the rig settings or the computer monitor. Either move closer to the work or move the work closer to you. Tilt the monitor so the centre of the screen is at eye level for easy viewing.
  • Get up from your seat in the shack, walk tall and stretch often!

In conclusion, of course there are hundreds of other suggestions to help establish a lifestyle supporting good posture — one that’s ideal for radio work in the shack or similar administration duties. Your doctor or chiropractor can give you many personalised tips to help you gain the benefits good pozzy offers but in the meantime, please follow these few hints for good pozzy in the shack!

73 de Leonie