Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1] 2 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Need helpful Ideas Please Help  (Read 5626 times)
KC7NFF
Member

Posts: 36




Ignore
« on: October 31, 2011, 08:58:53 AM »

Hello Everyone,
  My Name is Adam (KC7NFF), I am not sure if this is suppose to go here but anyway.  I am in need of assistance.  I have been asked to provide security and emergency communications for a very large Scout Encampment of about 1000 scouts with their leaders coming up in August 2012 around the Spokane, WA area.  I will have plenty of operators at my disposal but I need some help with my own things. 
    I am needing to be able to run on Non-Commercial power for 6 days and some of those may include some late nights.  I do not know however whether I should run my equipment off of a Generator or Solar Power.  I will probably need the ability to recharge HT Radios and probably quite a few of them.  I currently do not have either a Generator or Solar Panels and not sure which would be a better way to go.  I am thinking a generator but am not sure.  Below is the equipment that I have currently.  What equipment will I need and which is best to have to operate this equipment efficiently and properly?

Radio: IC-7000 needs a constant 13.8v to run a full power on all bands
Antennas for in the field: Arrow 2m/70cm J-pole and Scorpion SA-680s HF Antenna
I will need to power a Dell Laptop as well.

Any all suggestions will be helpful.  Thank you to all 73's
Logged
KC7NFF
Member

Posts: 36




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2011, 09:53:00 AM »

Just received an update on the number of scouts.  There will be just around 2800 scouts not including their leaders and others.
Logged
AC2Q
Member

Posts: 348




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2011, 10:11:39 AM »

Adam,

 Your post seems in line with the sprit of the forum to me.

In addition to the below, I'd make contact with the local ARES group.

I'd go with a generator rather than solar panels, and something small.

My recommendation would be a Honda 1kw unit. They're abt $700, but sip gas and are ULTRA quiet and dependable.

With routine maintenance it'll easily last a decade.

Are any of the ham volunteers trained in Search and Rescue?

Mike AC2Q
Logged
W9FIB
Member

Posts: 650




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2011, 10:27:13 AM »

Hi Adam,
I agree with Mike, go with a generator. But before you buy one, find the local ARES/RACES group. They can probably help you with equipment and manpower. They may also be able to give you pointers to help deploy in a good manageable way. Also with a group that big, maybe contact the Section Emergency Coordinator and talk with him/her as well. He/She could probably link you up with all kinds of help and tips. Don't be afraid to ask. As an ARES/RACES member myself, we all try to help where we can. Even if it is just answering a question.

Go to ARRL.org to look up the info on your SEC. I am sure he/she will be a big help!  Smiley

73,

Stan
Logged
W8JX
Member

Posts: 5590




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2011, 10:58:36 AM »

Your budget may be limited so i would suggest to not go Honda route here. Get a generic 2.5 to 3KW unit that has a big tank and can go 12 hours plus on fueling on moderate loads. They can be had for around 300.   You can locate it well away for radio area and have reserve power for lighting and such. It could even run a fridge too if so desired (never do that on a 1 k honda)  5 years I ran a 3k Chinese generator for 5 days due to power outage and it ran 12 to 16 hours a day and ran 3 refrigerators/freezers, lighting, few TV's at times and wife's sewing equipment one night. One time I got a little over 14hrs on 4 gallon tank of gas too.  All on a 200 dollar generator that I still use some today and starts first pull too. (I might mention that a massive storm had moved through and was only generator I could find and it sold out too 15 minutes after I got it) If I had had a 700 buck 1K unit I would have been SOL and lost all my food and would have never run wifes iron either.  Last week Aldo food stores had same generator as I have on sale for 199. Only thing "bad" about it is no 240 volt output for water pump. I have overloaded and dogged it more than once and it comes back for more. Pretty quiet too.
Logged

--------------------------------------
Entered using a  WiFi Win 8.1 RT tablet or a Android tablet using 4G/LTE or WiFi.
LA9XSA
Member

Posts: 376




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2011, 12:35:08 PM »

Add a 12 V deep cycle battery (AGM maybe) so you can run the IC-7000 without interruption.
Actually, with such a large event, I would have more than one generator. Two small ones rather than one large one.

The idea to borrow a generator is a good one. Those guys in ARES/RACES will have ideas about that. If they don't have one themselves, they might know of civil defense authorities that are happy to have their generators being used for something like this.
Logged
KC7NFF
Member

Posts: 36




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2011, 12:44:01 PM »

This is great information,  I am looking at getting one of the Honda Generators and want to know which one would you guys recommend to run quite a few accessories?
Logged
LA9XSA
Member

Posts: 376




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2011, 12:54:43 PM »

Two questions:
- How portable would the generator need to be (as in, is the site accessible by car or would it need to be carried for a distance)?
- How many HTs will you need to charge?

Edit:
If you're going to buy yourself, check out the review section for generators here on eHam:
http://www.eham.net/reviews/products/74

If you're set on a Honda, I'd look into their smaller models, since your IC-7000, laptop and a few HTs charging won't put you over 1kW. Note that the inverter models they have (like the 1000i) while efficient, quiet, and delivering clean power, may need AC line filters for RF noise from their inverters. The RFI problem does not appear for everyone, and can be tamed with filters/chokes, so read the reviews carefully and perhaps get an opportunity to try before you buy.

Also note that the unregulated 12V out is for charging batteries and can't deliver enough juice to run the radio - you'll need to bring the power supply unit along.

Edit 2:
Note that many of the reviews for the EU1000i are actually posted under the EU2000i.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 01:25:28 PM by LA9XSA » Logged
KG4RUL
Member

Posts: 2703


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2011, 01:53:07 PM »

Two questions:
- How portable would the generator need to be (as in, is the site accessible by car or would it need to be carried for a distance)?
- How many HTs will you need to charge?

Edit:
If you're set on a Honda, I'd look into their smaller models, since your IC-7000, laptop and a few HTs charging won't put you over 1kW. Note that the inverter models they have (like the 1000i) while efficient, quiet, and delivering clean power, may need AC line filters for RF noise from their inverters. The RFI problem does not appear for everyone, and can be tamed with filters/chokes, so read the reviews carefully and perhaps get an opportunity to try before you buy.

I have never had a problem with RFI from a Honda inverter generator.  With other generic models, the ignition systems often create a large noise fingerprint and they suck fuel compared to an equivalent rated Honda.  Also, the generic operating generator noise will become a problem over a 6 day event.
Logged
W8JX
Member

Posts: 5590




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2011, 03:04:43 PM »

I have never had a problem with RFI from a Honda inverter generator.  With other generic models, the ignition systems often create a large noise fingerprint and they suck fuel compared to an equivalent rated Honda.  Also, the generic operating generator noise will become a problem over a 6 day event.

I do not think you have used many generics because Honda does not have a exclusive hold on noise level or fuel usage. They do make a quiet unit but other are nearly as quiet and unless it is right under your feet this is not a big issue. I would place generator some distance away anyway. Also I was without power for 36 hours last month and got on air for a bit using generic power and had no detectable RFI from it. Honestly if this is a big long event you are going to want more than 1 KW at times and not want to refuel it 4 or 5 times a day too as this could get very old over a weeks time. Get a generic 3K or so with a 4 gallon tank and you will fuel it every 12 hours at most and even then it will not be close to empty unless unit is heavily loaded. (so for one way you refuel about 35+ times vs a dozen at most running 24/7) Also consider if this is in summer and hot, a 3k unit will loaf even in extreme heat under a 1kw load while a 1k unit will be straining. What ever you choose do plan for a few oil changes during event and if new do break it in before event and start event with fresh oil. People that have short life with generator motor never bother to change oil every 2 or 3 days tops in 24/7 usage.

Point is we are not talking about a occasional use single or small party short term event. We are talking maybe 24/7 for 7 days and I would get a bigger unit and generic too for much less money. Also consider this, if you use several batteries to power other things at this event, a 3kw unit can run a few big chargers to rapid charge several deep cycle batteries while still powering radios and lights. Not possible with a 1k unit. Nothing is more frustrating than having a generator but then finding its capacity lacking and wishing you had bought bigger.
Logged

--------------------------------------
Entered using a  WiFi Win 8.1 RT tablet or a Android tablet using 4G/LTE or WiFi.
WB6BYU
Member

Posts: 13112




Ignore
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2011, 01:15:34 PM »

My first question would be, over how large of an area do you need to provide communications?
What is the terrain like?

What sort of communications will you be expected to provide, and how quickly?

What sort of communications infrastructure exists already in the area?


These will determine the type of equipment you need, operating modes, etc.
In many cases you may find that putting up a 30' mast with a good omni antenna on
top will cover the required area - even at 5 watts output.  I know a number of folks
with portable 440 repeaters - that might work well if you have a suitable site.  But
if you are covering 40 square miles of mountainous terrain, that may require multiple
repeaters or HF links.

So your first need is to define the limits of where coverage is expected, then visit
the site and do a survey of how well communications work on the bands you think
you may be using.  We've done that before by placing low power beacons on some
of the likely spots and then wandering around the area seeing how strong they are.
If the site is in a bowl, is there a hilltop overlooking it where you can put a portable
repeater (or manual relay site)?  Is there already reliable repeater coverage in the
area that can be used to communicate with the outside world?  Is there cell phone
coverage?  (That may affect the amount of traffic you have to handle.)  If there
are multiple areas, you may need a base station to cover each, and to relay HTs,
then provide a second channel for these stations to communicate with each other.
But you don't know until you check out the site.

If you can borrow a portable repeater (perhaps more common on 440 than on 2m)
that may handle the bulk of your needs - plan to use simplex for more local coms,
perhaps separate frequencies for different areas.  Or even without a repeater,
one (or a few) stations with good antennas (height is more important than gain)
may give sufficient coverage to talk with the HTs in the field.  Depending on the
communications load, you may want to assign separate frequencies for different
needs: security, general calling, supervisory / logistics / task assignments, etc.

If you do have rough terrain and need to use HF, the optimum frequency will vary
throughout the day and night, but likely 40, 80 and 160m will be the bands of interest,
and a horizontal dipole probably will work better than a vertical.  But maintaining an HF
link requires a General license (or a knowledge of CW), and more knowledge to know
when to shift frequency, etc.  I would only consider it as a last resort, and then only
as a link between local base stations.

All this needs to be planned before you start looking at power sources, because the
needs will be different.  If you can run your base stations at 5 watts and your HTs
at 1 watt, the power requirements will be much less, and you may be able to get by
on batteries, possibly with some solar recharging during the day.  I'd also look at
using alkaline AA cells in the HTs:  for occasional use you may get by with one or
two sets for the whole event, and you can buy a LOT of them for the price of a
single generator to run a bunch of chargers.  Note that the HTs I've tested won't
put out more than about 1W from AA alkalines - that should be enough if you
have efficient antennas and have arranged good coverage from the fixed stations.

It still won't hurt to have a few generators available for backup, depending on what
else may be required of you.  The lightweight inverter models are often very quiet and
fuel efficient - they should be more than adequate if you are just running the radio
equipment.  But if you have other needs (and air conditioning comes to mind for
Spokane in August) then you'll want something larger.  But if you design your radio
system to require minimum power levels, you should only need the generator for
periodic battery charging, and do your primary operating from batteries.  You
really shouldn't need more than 5 watts in most cases on VHF/UHF, unless you
have a difficult path (in which case improving your antennas may be a better
choice.)  You can also reduce your current consumption during quiet times by
listening on an HT (which draws less current on receive than a mobile rig) and
only turning on the big rig when you get a call.

If you have a portable repeater, it likely will need a good set of  batteries with the
option of solar or a generator for recharging them.  Depending on your needs, you
might arrange for it to be turned on only during peak times, or when needed.  We
used to do this with the Forest Service - you'd call the fire lookout and ask them
to turn on the repeater, then use that to call the other station so they didn't have
to relay your message manually.  This may be practical if you have a base station
that covers the required area - you still have emergency communications even with
the repeater off, but it is available when the field units need to talk with each other.


I would agree with the others - contact the local ARES group(s) to get their advice.
They may be available to help, loan equipment, or at least give good advice on
coverage and propagation.  The local radio club may also have some resources, either
belonging to the club or to members who would be willing to loan it out.

Also, be very clear on what communications you will be expected to provide, check out
the area you need to cover, then plan what you can do to provide the required coverage
with a minimum of power.  I'd set a goal of doing so (at least for all local communications)
using HTs at low power and, at base stations, mobile rigs running 5W or so.  This may
require good antennas (on the HTs as well as the base stations), especially getting them
up in the air.  (Portable masts in the 30' to 40' range are pretty easy to put up.)

Your plan should include such things as how unlicensed Scouts contact a station when
there is an emergency to report, etc.
Logged
AA4PB
Member

Posts: 12768




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2011, 01:36:49 PM »

"I do not think you have used many generics..."

Do you mean Generac?
Logged
K1CJS
Member

Posts: 5974




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2011, 11:47:41 PM »

To start, night operation will preclude the use of solar power, unless you're going to have either many batteries or a whopping big solar collector to recharge those batteries.  It just isn't practical for what you'll be doing.  You'll be better off with a generator.

Next thing to look at is just what are you going to power with the generator?  Are you going with just a single rig, computer.  What about a worklight for your nighttime operations?  (You did mention nighttime operation and also charging of handi talkies)  Are you going to want to use anything else that will require 110VAC?  If no, then a one KW generator should do fine for you.  If you are going to power more than just the station, you may want to go with the three or even a five KW genset.

Most of the time, boy scout reservations prohibit cars from being in the camping vicinity, but will allow cars in to drop off the gear needed for the camping.  You, as an official or 'contractor' may be able to bring your vehicle in and keep it there.  Either way, weight will not be a real factor.  A secondary issue will be fuel and its storage.  You'll want to keep it away from the generator AND the area the scouts will be in.

The suggestion to ask the ARRL section management is a good one.  Either that or a local ham club.  The local EMA may be able to assist as well.  There are many places you can go for more detailed info on operations like this--and don't forget the camp leadership.  Although they're asking you for aid with radios and communications, they may have access to generators and other gear that could help you tremendously.





Logged
KB1SKZ
Member

Posts: 4




Ignore
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2011, 04:43:14 PM »

+1 on ARES and +2 on local organizations, most specifically Office of Emergency Management or whatever the community has for emergency operations.

For an operation like this, generators are most always available from those sources but more importantly (if this was in my community), you are putting 2800 new citizens in my town that need all the things that 2800 people need (food, water, sanitation, security, medical services, fire protection, etc.).  Whomever is central to the organization of the event should already be considering power needs and pulling a single 110v circuit off a 100Kw generator that’s running everything else is a non-issue.

I know that my local ARES and OEM would love to participate and help with merit badges, etc. as well as to get excitement on the hobby.  Sounds like a good time, have a blast!

/Jeff
Logged
KC7NFF
Member

Posts: 36




Ignore
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2011, 10:22:37 AM »

All of you have been a great help to me.  I am definitely looking at generators and seeing who will be able to provide those generators if needed.  This location I believe is the Cowles Scout Camp just outside of Newport, WA.  Usually these types if scout camps have commercial power onsite already.  Also my Liaison is a retiring fire chief for Coeur d' Alene, Idaho which is only about 2mi from me and I will be working with him on this. 

On Tuesday Nov. 15th is my first meeting with the committee and that is where we will find out for sure what communication response and support will be needed. Once we have that information then my assistant for Radio communications and I are going to take a trip out to the camp to see what the layout is like, where we can set up, what kind of power do we have and how big of an area will all these scouts be camped at and running through.

Please continue with each of your comments.  This is the first time I have been tasked with handling something this big.  I am very grateful.  I will keep everyone informed as I get more information.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!