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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