Today I was watching the news about the hurricane aftermath in Puerto Rico. Most of the island is still completely without power, and much without Communications. The hurricane caused damage to a dam, causing authorities to give a mandatory evacuation order to 70,000 people living in the flood Zone. That 70,000 people who were already without power and utilities before the damage to the dam occurred.
Now we hear of family and friends trying to reach their loved ones in Puerto Rico. With power and Communications down, even if emergency crews could get some cell service up and running again, most of the people are still without some sort of personal off grid power.
Earlier in September 2017, I published my video DIY LiFePO4 Power for ham radio. I believe we as field radio operators, have the knowledge and experience to put together a practical kit, similar to my DIY project, but a kit focused on the needs of a disaster survivor, forcibly out in the field. Here is that video.
I wanted to see how small a pack I could fit this 10Ah LiFePO4 battery, PowerFilm solar panel, Genasun charge controller, and all of the other practical components that would go into making up a kit like this.
The kit includes:
- 10Ah lithium iron phosphate battery pack
- 20w PowerFilm solar panel
- Genasun charge controller
- Nitecore 18650 charger USB
- Goal Zero AA charger USB
- Fused DC distribution box
- 1000 lumen LED Headlamp
- 2x spare 18650 batteries
- Tablet PC with first aid, navigation, and weather apps
I’m certainly no expert on being a disaster survivor. I do spend an awful lot of time in the field. Usually that’s days at a time rather than hours at a time like the Casual amateur radio operator. With that in mind there are lots of ways that people could be deceived with cheap Chinese products, or budget portable power supplies which you’re not meant for the rigors of disaster survival. We need to sell this idea this concept of well engineered well-designed portable power solution to our friends and families. Cost of building such a solution will put them off, but having this discussion with him and helping them put something together, might just save their lives one day.