Tag Archives: alternative energy

A Radio Amateur’s Guide To Solar Panels.

SOLAR PANELS

One of the perceived barriers to off grid amateur radio is the selection of solar panels. Most hams fall into one of two categories: Those who spend many hours researching the various options and end up more confused than when they started; and those who impulsively buy whatever is cheapest/easiest… Read more »

DIY: The Off Grid Ham Portable DC Power Pack.

There are not too many options for radio amateurs who want portable DC power beyond the batteries in their devices. The Off Grid Ham 100 Watts For $300 Solar Power Plant is one alternative, but that can be too much for the ham who only needs to run a handheld/QRP… Read more »

Solar Efficiency: It’s Not What You Think, Part 2 of 2.

In Part 1 we started with some conceptual topics, then moved on to the physical hardware that is the cause of inefficiency. In Part 2 we’ll address batteries, then go step by step through a typical system and identify where solar efficiency is compromised. Batteries: The great unknown. Calculating battery… Read more »

Solar Efficiency: It’s Not What You Think, Part 1 of 2

One of my readers asked about inverter efficiency and suggested that it would be helpful to the Off Grid Ham community if I did an article about overall solar efficiency. Since that’s not the first time the question has been raised, I’ll accept the invite. In this two part series… Read more »

An Introduction To MC4 Connectors.

If you have been running small solar panels or a kit system, all of the real work is done for you. Just plug in and go. But if you have any aspirations of upgrading to a more powerful or custom built solar energy system, you’ll need be familiar with MC4… Read more »

What You Need To Know About LiFePO4 Batteries.

lifepo4

Advances in technology has made off grid ham radio a lot easier and more enjoyable. One of the most exciting developments is the relatively new lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery. New technology requires new knowledge, so we’ll be exploring LiFePO4 batteries and where they might fit (or not fit) into… Read more »

Solar Panel Kit Systems: Unwrapping The Package.

solar panel kit systems

I’m sure you’ve seen those portable solar panel kit systems that give you everything you need in one package, for one price, and appear to be a complete plug-and-play solution. I’m going to explain why solar panel kit systems are not the best choice for the off grid ham. Although… Read more »

DIY: The Off Grid Ham 100 Watts For $300 Solar Energy Plant

I am frequently approached by frustrated radio amateurs who are looking to get into solar power and feel completely lost in all the options. To address the need, I’ve come up with a simple solution that really works and is priced right. I call it The Off Grid Ham 100… Read more »

AC Inverters For Off Grid Power, Part 2

So you did your homework, chose carefully, and your shiny new, fresh out of the box inverter has come home. Then the obvious question hits: What now? Welcome to Part 2 of the Off Grid Ham inverter series. We’ll go through some concepts you’ll need to understand to get an… Read more »

AC Inverters For Off Grid Power, Part 1.

DC to AC voltage inverters are possibly one of the most misunderstood devices an off grid ham will ever deal with. It does not help that retailers are often less than forthcoming about the specifications and abilities of their products. In this article we will bring some clarity to a… Read more »

What You Need To Know: PWM and MPPT Solar Charge Controller.

SOLAR CHARGE CONTROLLER

The solar charge controller is arguably the most important component of a solar energy system. Like the conductor of an orchestra, the solar charge controller makes it possible for all the other parts to work together. Understanding how a solar charge controller performs its task is important to planning for… Read more »

Generator Beliefs, Realities, And What You Need To Know.

Anyone who is even vaguely thinking of being prepared for emergencies or adding off grid capability to their amateur radio station has at least considered getting a small gas generator. A Generator is a valuable but often misunderstood tool, and it does not help that much of the information out… Read more »