Category Archives: ALTERNATIVE ENERGY

Gas Up The Generator? It’s Not That Simple.

If you are an off grid ham, you probably have a gas powered generator. And if you are a conscientious off grid ham, you have at least a few day’s worth of fuel stored. Does gas have a shelf life? Are all types of fuel the same? Are you unknowingly… Read more »

Portable QRO for Regular People.

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In a recent article we did a deep dive into assembling a portable off grid radio station that was light and minimalist enough to be carried a fairly long distance by one person, but still had enough functionality to be an effective communications tool. That goal necessarily required using QRP… Read more »

Off Grid Ham News Digest, Fall 2018

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This is the first in an occasional series on developments and news in off grid and alternative energy relevant to radio amateurs. I’ll sort through the geek stuff so you don’t have to! If you come across a news item that would be in interest to Off Grid Ham readers,… Read more »

Google Project Sunroof Opt-Out

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A little less than a year ago I published an article about Google Project Sunroof, what it means to off grid hams, and general observations about the initiative and its implications. You can read the original article here. At the time I could find no way to remove oneself from… Read more »

How Much Battery Do You Really Need?

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It’s always some variation of “How big of a battery do I need to run my (fill in the blank) radio?” It comes up a lot, not just in my email but also on the various forums and blogs I visit. The question is too open ended and comes with… Read more »

Series & Parallel Wiring Your Solar Array.

So you’ve had your fun with small single solar panels and are ready for a larger multi-panel system that can handle beefier loads. Hopefully you’ve read previous Off Grid Ham articles and have your system all planned & spec’d out. There’s one important detail we haven’t covered on this blog… Read more »

NFPA-70 (The National Electrical Code) And The Radio Amateur.

NFPA-70

Amateur radio is full of rules. Many of them are unwritten, others are quite clear. Some rules are not about manners or operating protocol, but instead were created for the very practical purpose of safety and standardization. NFPA-70, also known as the National Electrical Code, is the accepted standard of… Read more »

Understanding AGM Batteries.

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agm batteries

Considered obscure & expensive technology less than a decade ago, lithium batteries are are all grown up now and can be found in pretty much everything. Even the cheap $29.00 off brand handheld radios come standard with lithium batteries. Often forgotten in the mix is absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries…. Read more »

Tools of the Off Grid Trade.

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Anyone who has been into ham radio even for a short time probably has at least a modest assortment of tools and test equipment. But jumping into the off grid world is its own unique situation requiring a few specialty tools that commercially powered hams don’t need. If you’re new… Read more »

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

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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 »

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 »

Generator Safety: Power Up Without Getting Knocked Out.

generator safety

Inexpensive gas generators are a big favorite in the amateur radio community. Everyone seems to love these effective albeit cheaply made power plants! As they became more popular, the law of averages kicked in and there was an unfortunate but not unexpected increase in accidents and deaths related to small… Read more »