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Author Topic: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?  (Read 15855 times)
AE5X
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« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2012, 06:01:01 PM »

Just out of curiousity, what scenario do you guys envision that motivates you to make "bug out bags"?

A lot of thought, money and effort seems to be going into the whole prepper ideology (ham and non-ham) and I'm wondering what it is that might render a bug-out kit useful.

John AE5X
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WA6MJE
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« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2012, 06:50:57 PM »

Just out of curiousity, what scenario do you guys envision that motivates you to make "bug out bags"?

John AE5X

Here is the short answer to this question.  My interest in a "bug out bag" began some time ago when I was watching some extreme survival type TV shows.  I think it was "Man vs Wild" with Bear Grylls.  Each episode they would drop him off in some extreme wilderness with nothing but a knife, and he would find food, water and shelter and his way out.  Each episode made me feel totally unprepared for survival anywhere outside of a well stocked super market.   Grylls was an A, and I was a Z on a scale of survival skills.

While I was not interested in his extreme level of survival, I asked the question "would I be able to survive in my own home for say 30, 60 or 90 days without ANY form of outside support?"  Well, as you might imagine, I figured maybe could make one week.

So over time, I purchased what ever it would take to simply live in my home for an extended period of time.  This started with a water supply.  I learned that my neighborhood water supply was pumped in from a reservoir, that required electricity, and it would fail with a massive power loss. So I bought a back packers hand operated water filter where I can make any water I can find potable. I had ham radios for communications.  I have a solar panel I discussed above.  I have firearms for security. First aid equipment.  Off grid power.  Food.  Equipment for a nuclear incident.

When I was a kid, every neighborhood had a fall out shelter with high range geiger counters and pocket dosimeters, and we had sirens outside. We did duck and cover exercises at school.  Decades later, FEMA sent all that equipment to the dump, and the government has NONE on hand. AND you cannot buy any new, because no one makes "high range" equipment.  Just low range. I was able to buy some of the equipment FEMA threw away on eBay, so there is some way to know where to sit in your own home if there is fallout. Without this equipment, there is no clue.

All of this is in my garage in a bug out bag.  Not that I want to bug out. But, specifically to answer your question, I am simply prepared for what we saw in hurricane Sandy. No services of any kind for several weeks or so.  I can hole up in my own home, have water, food, security, power, a way to call for help, and I can just wait it out.  If for any reason I have to leave my home, what is in the bug out bag, goes in the car, along with some meager camping gear. 

I am no  Bear Grylls.  On the other hand, I have some staying power in my own home.  I have no expectation of any particular extraordinary event. But I am prepared for severe natural phenomena.  In California this is mostly fire or earthquake.

Also, I think it is likely that a terrorist may smuggle a small nuclear weapon into U.S. borders in the next several decades.  A small weapon will have a small blast zone that I think statistically is unlikely to effect me. BUT, since I live near Los Angeles, fallout can drift for several hundred miles.  If LA is a target city, there is a chance the fallout will drift my way.  I studied this carefully. If you have the old equipment I bought on eBay, you can make a safe place to stay inside your home by using say your fireplace with bricks around it, trash cans with water on the exposed side can protect from radiation, and a make shift fallout shelter can be made inside your home as long as you have high range measuring equipment to test it out.  Within five days, the half life of the fall out dissipates, and the threat is over.

The likely hood of any of this is remote.  But it was fun and satisfying thinking out what to put into a bug out bag.  So that is what I am expecting and what I did.
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W1JKA
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« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2012, 02:31:46 AM »

RE: WA6MJE

                  Prepare for the worse and hope for the best.It is unfortunate that other people in this country lack the common sense and foresight in dealing with potential natural disasters such as you have.Well written.
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N3YZ
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« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2012, 06:59:54 AM »

Check out http://www.ctsolar.com/solarpowerforamateurradiofaq.aspx

I have their 32watt folding panel, into the Sunguard4 controller, into 7 and 12 amp/hr gel cells.

Really works great.

Connect the hardware with Anderson PowerPoles.

Get two batteries, one to charge while you have the other connected to the QRP rig.

Have fun es 73!

John N3YZ
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LA9XSA
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Posts: 376




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« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2012, 04:30:29 PM »

WA6MJE, note that radiation meters need regular calibration - they are otherwise useless. There actually are companies in the US which provide this service to the public. Also, the Department of Energy still has radiation detection and response teams.

If you haven't already, I recommend introducing formal risk assessment into your prepping: Score various hazards by probability and consequence, and prioritize your risk reduction and mitigation strategies accordingly. If banal stuff like house fires or traffic accidents don't end up near the top of the list, you're probably doing something wrong in your assessment, or have already done much of the right things to handle the risk.

As for Bear Grylls, in a real survival situation you'd never take the sort of risks he demonstrates, even though it's good TV. I tend to prefer Ray Mears' approach to the subject of surviving in the wild. Les Stroud is mostly OK too, or those guys on Dual Survival or Man, Woman, Wild.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 04:34:33 PM by LA9XSA » Logged
WA6MJE
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« Reply #20 on: December 14, 2012, 09:16:42 PM »

WA6MJE, note that radiation meters need regular calibration - they are otherwise useless. There actually are companies in the US which provide this service to the public. Also, the Department of Energy still has radiation detection and response teams.
I found companies who could calibrate the equipment.  But, it was expensive, and the calibration did not last long and had to be redone. Also, I worried that when I got the unit back, I had no way of knowing what they did to it, if they really calibrated it, or just turned it around as-is and sent it back claiming it was calibrated.

So I decided not to calibrate them. But I have several of them since the were about $10 each on eBay, and some were still in unopened packages.  While I believe that the calibration is way off, they still have value to me in that they can give me relative exposure.  By this I mean, I can tell if my front room has a higher exposure than my bedroom.  I could not tell in Rads, but I could decide where to sit.  The point is that it is the total exposure over time that matters, so getting into the lowest exposure gives longer time.  I feel comfortable that one of the units I bought would place me in the safest location.

Now here is a money making idea for entrepreneurial hams. I would easily pay a few hundred dollars for a modern device and those do not need calibration.  I just bought a FunCube Plus for a couple hundred bucks, and that was designed and manufactured by one man who is a ham, and it contains about 240 components and profound complexity.  He has a six week wait list to buy one. 

So, if one man can do that, I am sure a ham with engineering experience could design a high range meter, and in today's doomsday prepper culture, it would no doubt sell well.  Maybe my hint here, will give me a purchase option a few years from now.  That would solve the problem with calibration.   

It is just amazing that there is nothing I could find to buy (at least five or ten years ago back when I was looking.) By now I would have had them calibrated five times or so.

Rene WA6MJE

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GILGSN
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« Reply #21 on: December 14, 2012, 11:12:46 PM »

Here's a great installation, with lots of comments and photos:

http://radiopreppers.com/index.php/topic,288.0.html

Personally, I just built the CRKITS charger and plan on getting a 10W foldable panel. My battery is a 2.9Ah, and that should be a good combination...

Gil.
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LA9XSA
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Posts: 376




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« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2012, 04:01:30 AM »

WA6MJE, so you don't trust a company using reference radiation sources and the manufacturer's procedure of calibration, but you'd trust some random ham? Why not just build a Kearny Fallout Meter or something then? Sounds more reliable than a 30 year old meter that's never been calibrated.
A quick search shows that you can get your meter calibrated for about 90 dollars including shipping; that's not expensive at all to turn your potential hunk of junk into a meter you can trust.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2012, 04:05:58 AM by LA9XSA » Logged
KJ4AUQ
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« Reply #23 on: December 19, 2012, 08:51:31 PM »

I have two solar panels that produce 23 amps of power at 13 v.  They charge/power two 150 amp hr gel batteries and run my kenwood ts 2000 at 100w quite effectively. I operated this system via hf NVIS while supporting Katrina.  For all you 2m folks, repeaters die when the power goes out and their generators run out of power.
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K5TED
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« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2012, 01:49:49 PM »

Here's my "portable" solar kit:

http://k5ted.net/slide_shows/2012_Field_Day/pics/solarcharger.jpg

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K0JEG
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« Reply #25 on: December 23, 2012, 09:08:26 AM »


I see you have the "new" Harbor Freight controller. Does it really control the rate of charge to the batteries? I ask because the old box that came with that kit really wasn't anything more than a switchbox and distribution panel. It didn't do anything to control the voltage or current going into the battery (but the panels didn't produce enough current to be dangerous anyway).
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WA6KYR
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Posts: 15




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« Reply #26 on: December 26, 2012, 08:34:42 AM »

Try this link for Power Film.   I bought one that was made in the  USA .
I called them and found out that some of the  panels are assembled in China
some in USA.  You might check what they are currently doing.
My panel was not listed anymore and worked exceptionally well. I got rated power out of it.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/browse.html?ie=UTF8&marketplaceID=ATVPDKIKX0DER&me=A1VOUFSIGRIGBC
also see
http://www.powerfilmsolar.com/products/foldable-portable-remote/f15-1200

Rich
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N4DSP
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Posts: 153




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« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2013, 04:09:54 PM »

Purchased a 4 solar panel pack in 2004 from CT Solar and still going with full output. It has performed flawlessly and provides 1120mA to recharge those batteries quickly. For the money you cannot go wrong. Tech and product support at CT Solar is first class.

http://www.ctsolar.com/208wfoldingbackpacksolarpanel.aspx

Sunguard Solar Controller rated at 4.5A 12V was purchased from Morningstar Corp.

http://www.morningstarcorp.com/en/sun-guard

Hope this helps.
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KB2FCV
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« Reply #28 on: January 03, 2013, 01:02:33 PM »

So over time, I purchased what ever it would take to simply live in my home for an extended period of time.  This started with a water supply.  I learned that my neighborhood water supply was pumped in from a reservoir, that required electricity, and it would fail with a massive power loss. So I bought a back packers hand operated water filter where I can make any water I can find potable. I had ham radios for communications.  I have a solar panel I discussed above.  I have firearms for security. First aid equipment.  Off grid power.  Food.  Equipment for a nuclear incident.


After some of the weather events that hit us and seeing some things we take for granted get interrupted for quite some time, I have been adding some supplies so that I could be self-sustaining for a little while at my house. I need to improve my water supply. Just curious, what back packers hand operated water filter do you have? I have a river in my back yard.. that could make a good source of water if properly filtered.

On the original topic, I like taking my KX1 out and about for fun out to different places. What's a good durable lightweight panel that will give me enough power to run 2-5w?
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KB1GMX
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« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2013, 03:19:20 PM »

To run a radio at any power the ttal needs have to be supplied and that will be greater.  So for
5W likely a 10W (or more) panel is needed if running directly from the sun (not advised).  Reason
is the radio needs more power then it puts out to the antenna.  However a nominal 12V panel is
about 21V unloaded and about 17V at max load and far less voltages at maximum current.  Think
of solar panels as unregulated, so running radios directly off one is likely to disappoint.

A smaller panel charging a battery is the usual way, the battery can be fairly small (for a K1 is could be 12V worth of NiMh AA 2000mAH cells) and a 3W panel. The batteries run things during low light or current peaks (like TX) and the panel recharges them while receiving when the power needs are very small (assuming the panel puts out more current then the receiver needs).

If the panel isn't needed as super light weight or portable there are standard panels that will
 be cheaper then foldable types.   I picked up two 20W on sale [still on sale as of writing] 
from SolarBVLD.com for 29.95 each and they only weight maybe 5 pounds each (14"x18.5"x1").
A 20W panel is usually good for about 1.1A (these test at 1.13A at 18.1V, max power point).  I
use them for utility and portable.   That firm sells panels from smaller 1W to over 240W usually
at attractive prices.  I don't get a discount for this.

One thing for most panels smaller is more costly per watt than larger as it costs almost as much to mount 36 small solar cells to the glass as it does to mount 36 bigger ones.

For running a K1 (or in my case a KNQ7A or my 6M HB SSB) a 3W surplus volkwagon panel
usually had for cheap to free with a suitable small battery [AA NiMh or 2.3AH gell cell) works for me. Last time I bought those I paid $25 at a flea for 4 of them all good. 


 Allison
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