Tag Archives: solar power

Off Grid, On The Cheap. You Can Do This.

cheap

Many amateurs badly want off grid capabilities, but cite financial concerns as the main barrier. Can off grid amateur radio be done on the cheap? The answer is subjective, depending on how one defines “cheap” and how much power is needed, but in general, yes, it’s doable and I’m going… Read more »

Field Day 2017 Is Not About One Day.

Field Day is an annual opportunity for radio amateurs to practice their skills and show the world what a valuable resource the amateur radio service is. Many amateurs who are not particularly active in the hobby the rest of the year will always come out for Field Day. Then there… Read more »

The Portable Solar Power Station: You CAN Have It Both Ways (Sort Of)

Based on reader comments and what I see around the internet, the off grid amateur radio community seems to be of the mindset that there are only two real options for solar energy: Large, expensive arrays that produce a lot of power but are permanently installed, and small inexpensive panels… Read more »

Getting Started In Amateur Radio Data Modes.

One of the primary concerns of radio amateurs who operate with alternative energy is something I call communications efficiency, or, getting the most signal you can for the input power. A lot of fuss, maybe too much, is spent on squeezing every last watt out of our solar panels, generators,… Read more »

Off Grid Technology That May Soon Power Your Amateur Radio Station.

This is a very exciting time of changes for off grid and alternative energy. The cost of established systems is coming way down and many new discoveries are in the pipeline. For sure, a lot of emerging off grid technology is highly theoretical and may never appear on the end… Read more »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »