The Off-Grid Ham Shack series discusses creating a self-sufficient ham radio station or ‘Ham Shack’ capable of operating on solar power during any grid down scenario, emphasizing the importance of an energy strategy for off-grid communications. This system includes solar panels, a charge controller, battery, and power distribution system. Key elements are the use of photovoltaic (PV) panels to harness solar energy, a solar charge controller to regulate energy flow and prevent battery overcharging or damage, and a battery to store energy for later. As well, power distribution ensures the allocation of power to multiple devices simultaneously. A grid-down energy strategy is crucial to any communication-related emergency, be it CB, FRS, GMRS, MURS or PMR radio, UHF CB, DMR, DStar, Meshtastic or LoRa communications.
The author discusses choosing a solar charge controller suitable for radio communication. He focuses on three criteria: portability, radio frequency quietness, and Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) functionality. Recommending Genasun due to its compatibility with these requirements, he mentions his dissatisfaction with another brand, Victron, that caused excessive radio frequency noise. For optimal results, he suggests keeping devices DC powered and using no inverters. He provides specific instructions about matching controllers to battery and solar panel specs, and suggests parallel configuration for Genasun controllers.
A demonstration showcased the durability of PowerFilm Solar’s portable panels, enduring multiple hits from a .25 caliber rifle yet continuing to perform. Despite numerous punctures, the panels’ peak current decreased from 0.73 to 0.47 amps but remained stable. PowerFilm Solar, an American company, offers these robust panels excellent for mission-critical tasks, illustrating quality differences between brands.
In May 2023, Julian OH8STN, Ed WQ2U, and Oliver DL4KA set off on an off-grid communications field test above the Arctic Circle. The team aims to test new strategies for off-grid communications, spanning portable power, robust hardware, and antenna efficiency. The expedition will take place near Rovaniemi, Finland. Also, part of the testing includes new robust packet radio capabilities and power supplies. The team encourages interaction from the community via Winlink and APRS messages.
Off-Grid Winlink RMS Gateway Powerdd by PowerFilm Solar
The post provides a detailed guide to creating a portable solar charger for an e-bike using only solar panels, a charge controller, and the e-bike battery. The system is lightweight and doesn’t need an inverter. It details two scenarios: charging the e-bike battery while stationary, and using one battery while charging a second. Additionally, it explains the concept of pedal-assist, the role of a boost charge controller, and how to achieve off-grid e-bike charging.