Author Archives: Chris Warren

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 »

Coax Cable: It’s All In The Family.

      8 Comments on Coax Cable: It’s All In The Family.

Even many experienced ham operators will approach a table full of coax cable reels at a swap meet or stare at on line listings and feel lost in all the options, then out of confusion will default to buying whatever the vendor suggests or whatever is cheapest. They end up… Read more »

An Introduction To MC4 Connectors.

      11 Comments on 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 »

Go Box Zen: Know Where You’re Headed Before You Leave.

go box

Go boxes are a well worn subject in ham radio circles. On prepper/survival internet forums in particular, the topic has been beaten beyond death. In nearly all of these discussions, there is a lot talk about the how, but not much on the why. When reasons are given, they are… 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 »

Portable Zero 817 Escort: Product Discussion

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It’s extremely rare for an aftermarket amateur radio product to be so well done that when installed it looks and functions like an OEM factory part. The Portable Zero 817 Escort is exactly such an accessory. If you run your 817 as a portable, then the Escort is a must-have…. 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.

      9 Comments on 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 »