Tag Archives: solar panel

The Secret Life of Solar Panels.

      8 Comments on The Secret Life of Solar Panels.
solar panels

It’s not magic, it’s science. Few hams who use solar panels know how their panels work, or how they are made. Of course, it’s not necessary to know any of this in order to use them. Still, having a basic knowledge of solar panels makes one a more well rounded,… Read more »

Kirchoff’s Current Law And Today’s Amateur.

kirchoff's current law

A very high bar. Prussian-German scientist Gustav Kirchoff (1824-1887) was a pretty impressive guy. His research led to a series of electrical principles collectively referred to as Kirchoff’s Laws. Those of us who endured electrical engineering school or technical college are very familiar with Kirchoff. Yet, he’s not particularly well… Read more »

The Off Grid Ham Quick Start Guide!

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off grid ham quick start

When you want it now. off grid ham quick start I recently received an email from a reader who suggested that I write an article about how a newcomer to off grid radio can get started: Batteries, solar panels, etc. I was like, wait…whaaaat? Off Grid Ham is not a… Read more »

Solar Panel Buffet.

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tariff

They’re all (mostly) the same…on the outside. Solar panel technology has gotten so inexpensive that even the tightest budgets can do it. The solar panels on my roof cost about $2.50/watt ten years ago. Today I could replace every one of them for less than half that. In some cases… Read more »

Small Solar Can Give Big Results…If You Play It Right.

small solar power

Call now! Operators are waiting! small solar power You’ve probably seen the campy ads hawking small solar power systems and “solar generators”. These ads make some remarkable claims and the manufacturers are deliberately vague on the technical specifications of these products. They further fuzz up the facts with unrealistic depictions… Read more »

Portable DC Power Pack 2.0

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Revisiting a classic. It’s been three years since I presented an article about the DIY portable DC power pack. It’s still one of the most popular articles here on Off Grid Ham. Almost every radio amateur has some version of this gizmo. Over the winter I had the itch to… 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 »

The Travel Light Portable Off Grid Radio Challenge

A majority of off grid amateur radio involves portable operation with small systems. There are many reasons for this: Many people cannot afford large scale fixed solar; some are held back by homeowner association rules or want to incorporate amateur radio with camping & hiking activities. Other amateurs are motivated… 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 »

Product Discussion: AS Tool MC4 Crimper.

I do very few product reviews here on Off Grid Ham because there isn’t much that hasn’t been reviewed elsewhere a zillion times already. I also want to avoid the conflict of interest that comes from accepting free stuff in exchange for reviews. AS Tool, a small Taiwan-based operation trying… 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 »

Blinded By The Light: The Solar Panel Tariff.

The news of a solar panel import tariff broke so quickly and out of the blue that even geeks like me who closely follow alternative energy news & policy were caught off guard. There are a few things off grid amateur radio operators need to know about the solar panel… Read more »