Unconventional Power Sources for Ham Radio Operations.

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Lolitacealo
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Joined: Sat May 13, 2023 2:49 am

Unconventional Power Sources for Ham Radio Operations.

Post by Lolitacealo »

Have you ever experimented with alternative power sources such as solar panels, wind turbines, or even bicycle generators to power your ham radio setup in the field? Share your experiences, challenges, and tips for utilizing these unconventional power sources effectively.

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SkipRD
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Joined: Fri May 27, 2022 12:58 pm

Re: Unconventional Power Sources for Ham Radio Operations.

Post by SkipRD »

I don't have a lot of experience, but I do use a cheapo 100-W solar panel from time to time and it's really surprising to me what a nice complement it can be, especially operating QRO. During a recent POTA "sprint" contest, over the course of 4 hours operating QRO (mixture of 60W-CW and 90W-SSB), my IC-7300 consumed 15.3Ah of power and the solar panel returned 13.9Ah, for a net consumption of 1.4Ah (or 350mAh/hr).
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The panel (when I checked the totals--see above) was only putting out about 60W, although I think most of the decrease from the rated value was because the LiFePO4 batteries were still pretty much fully charged.

Anyway, more experiments are planned.
73 Skip K4EAK
N8TGQ
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Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2022 5:06 am

Re: Unconventional Power Sources for Ham Radio Operations.

Post by N8TGQ »

I tried using solar and bicycle power for a while. I found unless you're going to be out doing lots of radio for few days, it wasn't worth it. It's a lot easier to use low power and carry an extra set of "AA" batteries. And I don't carry them if I'm out for only 1 or 2 days.
Rick N8TGQ
SkipRD
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Joined: Fri May 27, 2022 12:58 pm

Re: Unconventional Power Sources for Ham Radio Operations.

Post by SkipRD »

N8TGQ wrote: Sun Jan 28, 2024 9:23 pm I tried using solar and bicycle power for a while. I found unless you're going to be out doing lots of radio for few days, it wasn't worth it. It's a lot easier to use low power and carry an extra set of "AA" batteries. And I don't carry them if I'm out for only 1 or 2 days.
I just realized that I forgot to put the baseline power consumption in my post above. I've found that, when operating QRO, with my mix of operating (YMMV), I plan on about 5Ah consumption per hour of operating. Thus, my 40Ah battery box (two 20Ah LiFePO4 batteries in parallel) will comfortably get me 6+ hours of operating (without solar replenishment).

QRP operations, obviously, are another story. For that, baseline consumption runs around 350mAh per hour, so even a small battery (like the 2.6Ah battery in the KX2) likewise will last 6'ish hours, certainly enough for 3 short POTA activations.

73 Skip K4EAK
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