RaDAR – Power supply a challenging decision



I have joined in for the national 24 hour Hamnet exercise that takes place this weekend from Saturday at 12:00 to Sunday 12:00 local time. Communications take place between stations within all divisions of South Africa including Gough island.

Last weekend, I looked around for deep cycle batteries that would be capable of powering my FT-847, including the FC-20 automatic ATU, for 24 hours. These batteries are incredibly expensive so I am forced to run a QRP station. I have sufficient battery power to power my FT817ND RaDAR backpack radio for 24 hours.

All HF bands are used (160m to 10m, including the WARC bands) in a channelised fashion. The use of a multiband antenna and antenna tuning facilities could facilitate quick switching between the channels. ATU’s use power too and are forever tuning – at least in the case of my FC-20! The 817’s companion LDG z817 ATU runs off penlights but only uses power while tuning. Maybe time for a battery change. They have been in service for a few years already – pretty efficient I’d say!

The Hamnet Winter Challenge 2014 document makes it quite clear that only battery supplies and field charging methods may be used.

There is quite a lot of accurate messaging to be done with 20 different field stations during every 3 hour period for 24 hours. A few others will be using QRP too!

This may be a “portable” deployment but  will be a rather challenging exercise from a RaDAR perspective.

Other things need to be taken into consideration too. Emergency lighting, headlamps, shelter from the cold (a small tent and sleeping bag) not to mention food and water.

Protection from biting insects cannot be over emphasised!



One thought on “RaDAR – Power supply a challenging decision

  1. Using two cellular solar chargers in series will provide approximately 11,5 V at 180MAh. This would be sufficient to top up batteries during daylight hours to the point of being functional again. Weight would be an extra 250-350 grams in your kit… Always worth having on hand… 73 de ZS6KMD

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