Monthly Archives: March 2016

Portable Station Stress Test

Today took the portable HF station out for a stress test on power consumption and a shoot out between my 60W folding panel and the Sunkingdom 52W panel. The configuration today was the magnetic loop antenna, the FT-817ND and the MX-P50M amplifier configured for 20W running off the solar charged batteries. I am using two 7Ahr gel cell batteries in parallel.

I started by running the 60W folding panel that I used last field day and ran normal operations for 1 hour. I used the DC meters to monitor how many Amp-hours were delivered to the batteries by the panel and how many were consumed by the radio and amplifier. Today was a partly cloudy day with periods of direct sunshine followed by cloud induced shade. After 1 hour the 60W panel delivered .422Ahr to the batteries with the load consuming .717Ahrs. I then switched to the new Sunkingdom panel and after 1 hour it had delivered .727Ahr with the load consuming .667Ahr. The smaller Sunkingdom panel clearly outperformed the large 60W foldup panel running these loads.

During these 2 hours of operations I made 8 contacts including Venezuela and Argentina. Interestingly enough my weakest contact was with a NPOTA station at Palo Alto battlefield only 10 miles from the QTH. All in all another good afternoon of outdoors radio! I will likely do some more testing on these solar panels but it looks like the Sunkingdom panel is a winner.

I also did a tweak on the Magnetic loop antenna and replaced the wooden dowel with a fiberglass rod for tuning. The wood rod was getting chewed up with each use while the fiberglass looks like it will be more durable. The tripod repair I made did not take as the epoxy looks like it didn’t cure properly. Probably a bad mix on my part. Will repair as time permits.

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ARRL DX SSB Contest

There were many Ham radio activities in my area this weekend but unfortunately I could not attend most of them. This is after all a hobby and pressing family events and activities ALWAYS take precedence over Ham Radio. I missed the annual ARES Summit in Harlingen on Saturday as well as the Saturday morning coffee at the local club. The ARRL DX SSB contest started in the early evening Friday and continued on through Sunday afternoon. I was not able to tune in until Sunday afternoon at 20:12 and continued until the end at 23:59. During this time I worked over 50 DX stations on 10m, 15m and 20m mainly in Central and South America as well as all over the Caribbean. Pretty fun time and as always it is great to see the bands alive on the panadapter.