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Author Topic: Emergency radio power in a major disaster?  (Read 1910 times)
ONAIR
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Posts: 1744




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« on: February 21, 2007, 11:22:10 PM »

   I was just wondering how we HAMS could stay on the air in the event of a major prolonged disaster (when communications would probably be needed most).  What if the power was out for an extended period of time (weeks or even months), and we could not even get gas for our generators?  Are there any hand crank generators on the market (like the ones now built into some portable radio receivers but generating higher power) that could be used to power HAM transmitters?  What about a pedal powered generator?  I was thinking about hooking up a car alternator to a stationary bicycle, or something along that route.  Any suggestions would be appreciated!
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N4CR
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Posts: 1672




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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2007, 12:30:22 AM »

I have solar cells topping off a deep cycle battery.
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73 de N4CR, Phil

We are Coulomb of Borg. Resistance is futile. Voltage, on the other hand, has potential.
SSB
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Posts: 1




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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2007, 12:32:01 AM »

That's a strange question.  My first question if power went out for a long period of time would be what am I going to eat and drink?


Alex.....

PS.  The answer to your question is Solar Power.
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KE5LIB
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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2007, 01:02:28 AM »

Give some thought to what modes and frequencies you'd be operating most on- probably phone/VHF, 2 meter for local contacts. Figure up what it would take to power your rig
for the day, and consider using a battery bank with solar panels or, instead of that stationary bicycle, consider wind or water power to turn that alternator. I suspect that it'll take a combination of these to make for a
reasonably reliable power source. Look around you and see
what possibilities and limitations there are. If you're urban, the battery bank/solar panels may be it. If you're rural, well, there's more room for experimentation.

I'm rural. My possibilities are (with a large heavy duty
battery bank/inverter combo) solar panels and a small wind powered alternator for passive generation. Waste veggie oil along with an oilseed crop like hemp or rapeseed for biodiesel, and a small diesel generator, or a diesel tractor PTO-driven generator would be active aspect. There are natural gas wells near my property that could easily support operating a single-cylinder hit-and-miss pupmp jack engine belt-driving a generator head. Just some ideas.
Use your imagination, you'll be amazed.

73!!

Mark KE5LIB
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ONAIR
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Posts: 1744




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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2007, 02:48:30 AM »

  Solar crossed my mind as well, but what if an asteroid impact, huge volcanic explosion or nuclear exchange greatly reduced the available light?  And what about the cost/availability factor?  I would think a that a wind turbine and/or solar array would be quite expensive, whereas a used car alternator with a regulator circuit, belt driven by a bicycle and charging a battery could be within the reach of most hams, and those items would probably be more readily available in a disaster situation as well.
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KAISERSOUSE
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Posts: 327


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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2007, 04:27:52 AM »

asteroid impact would cause so much debris in the air I would expect signals would be killed...as would 95% of humanity (if not all). A "super volcano" would have the smae effect I would think, on a smaller scale though. If you had a lot of ash in your area a solar panel wouldnt work well and a wind power generator would probably seize.

Nuclear attack has a high chance of touching off a large release of missles from other countries, which would result in retaliation (more bombs) etc and so forth.

If you are really worried I would get solar array and look up any kind of human powered means (crank?)

Besides IF the population descended into a free-for-all (looting etc) which I would fully expect in a global-scale disaster...a tower w/ generator on it would just make you a big target for bad folks who might be bright enough to assume you have some form of self-sustaining power which means you are better off than them which means they will want what you have.

No...I don't have a very bright outlook on the human races ability to conduct itself in the event of large scale disaster. No I dont wear a tin foil hat Wink

Personally I'd be just as worried about stocking up on ammunition and canned goods.
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N0RZT
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Posts: 104




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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2007, 05:11:51 AM »

A few months back, I came across a few websites in which people talked about their homebrew wind turbines.

http://www.instructables.com/id/E0T6AVT19OEP286NG5/
http://www.instructables.com/id/EDTMO3QLQIEP287OGM/
http://www.instructables.com/id/E1CFJRQRD5EP286605/

I'm real tempted to try the bicycle-wheel windmill before field day.

Chris
N0RZT/8
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KA5N
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Posts: 4380




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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2007, 06:03:22 AM »

In a truly major disaster, the people who are killed instantly are the lucky ones.
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KA5ZCB
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Posts: 16




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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2007, 06:28:41 AM »

http://terlinguagallery.com/id77.html
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NJ1K
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Posts: 330




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« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2007, 06:33:06 AM »

Build the bicycle-generator and use it for Field Day or anytime just to experiment with... It's a worthy project... You will also quickly learn just how much work it takes to generate a watt!!!
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KAISERSOUSE
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Posts: 327


WWW

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« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2007, 06:35:48 AM »

"In a truly major disaster, the people who are killed instantly are the lucky ones."

I can't argue with that.
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K7PEH
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Posts: 1124




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« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2007, 08:13:36 AM »

Being prepared for a major disaster of the scale mentioned (asteroids, super-volcano, nuclear attack) could be a very expensive undertaking.  I submit that it is much more likely that the power reserves you need for a few days or a week without electricity is more likely and more easily accomplished.

Certainly there is always a situation you can dream up that will compromise your ability to serve in an emergency.  So, stop dreaming them up and do the practical thing.

As for me and my house, we lost electricity for 3 1/2 days in the big storm of the northwest a few months ago.  I was on the air every day using my mobile rig and my dipole antenna.  That worked.  Not really an emergency that demanded my services though; however, most of the cell phone towers were out too, their limited battery backup lasts only an hour or two.
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KC2PTA
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Posts: 171


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« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2007, 08:56:16 AM »

well, i am only 16 and dont have many answers,but what i do have is a deep cell marine battery ($65) which is topped off by a solar chargerm which i plug the radio into when it runs low, it takes about 3 days to get the battery up to full again, it works great..
 

 toatle cost: $65     battery
              $35     solar charger
all bought at napa auto parts

hope this helps 73's
kc2pta
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KB3LSR
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Posts: 297




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« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2007, 09:01:08 AM »

I have some solar panels (3x 1.5W to yield 4.5W under perfect conditions) that I got at Harborfreight for $10 a piece.  I might add a few more cells to what I have to get around 1A, but they work nice to keep my 12V battery array (35Ah) topped off.  Of course, in an emergency, I would rather use my FT-817 than my FT-897 to conserve power.  For the 817, I have 10x 9.6V 1600mAh RC car batteries I keep charged up with a RC car charger.  All in all, I think the best power source for an emergency is solar/battery power.  Batteries will run out eventually and the sun stops shining at night, so they make a good combo Wink

73 de KB3LSR
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W5RB
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Posts: 564




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« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2007, 09:34:59 AM »

Buy two blue tarps to live under and learn to surfcast for your supper . A solar still can desalinate the ocean water .This will allow you to survive for two years (or more) until FEMA arrives .Forget the radio . Nobody will forward health and welfare traffic because they're afraid they'll "compromise private medical information " by telling your family whether you're dead or alive .Get a gun and lots of ammunition . When you have one of these , you can get food and generator gas from people who DON'T have one .Good luck .

Russ , W5RB
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