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Author Topic: Go-bag  (Read 10005 times)

Posts: 28

« on: November 23, 2011, 09:43:37 AM »

Although I'm not a part of ARES or RACES (yet, hopefully), I've recently started to put together a go-bag for personal preparedness. One question that I've run into is where  to get remote power from. Say if you're in a situation where you can't get access to power for a week, what then? I was thinking of keeping a compact 12V solar panel, such as, in my bag just in case. Thoughts or suggestions? Of course if there's any sort of nuclear winter effect from any emergency, I guess that won't be of much help…


Posts: 146

« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2011, 10:17:28 AM »

I could be wrong but I doubt that you could run a rig off a solar panel. From my research, you need a battery to charge and then go from there. I have been looking into the same thing.

Posts: 490

« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2011, 08:29:14 PM »

Wouldn't it make sense to plan for the 99% case and not the .0001% case? Where do you plan to go with your go-bag? And how long do you plan to be there? and what's your plan for extending beyond that time? Resupply? stretching your rations, etc. Think of your go-bag in context.

Posts: 17483

« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2011, 04:29:28 PM »

Nothing wrong with having a solar backup - especially in Albuquerque where you have
a high level of solar availability.  But it takes a bit of planning to actually be able to use

First, what radio are you planning to use it with?  Maximum output current is 800mA,
and many HTs require more than that on transmit - my HT could only operate at 1/2 watt
output off the solar panel alone.  You probably want a battery of some sort to store
charge during the day and power the radio at night, while also providing high peak
currents for transmit.  Even with a battery, you'll have to be aware of the current
requirements for your rig to manage the power consumption to support 24 hour
operation.  And you might need other accessories - for example, a good external
antenna with a suitable support may allow you to reduce your output level and
extend operation time off the battery.

Whether a solar panel is the best investment you can make for your Go-bag is
a decision only you can make, based on your expected operating requirements and
the likelyhood that it will be important in the scenarios that you expect to be
helping with.

Posts: 3

« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2011, 08:18:52 PM »

On Page 78 and following of the September 2011 issue of QST is an article called the Haiti Project.  KE5ZDZ has thought through the power issue you described.  In short, he was able to operate a 20M QRP rig for 1-2 hours a day with 10 hours of charge time.  He operated between .5 and 10 Watts, with an 80/20 (Listen/Talk) duty cycle.  He used a collapsible 10w solar panel and a 7.5 amp hour 12V sealed gel cell battery like they use in home burglar alarms.

His setup may be different from what you are trying to achieve, but it was pretty simple, relatively inexpensive, water resistant and self contained.  (It all fit in an 18 quart igloo cooler.)

Posts: 2573

« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2011, 10:26:58 AM »

Don't forget the most important "go-bag"... The necessities of sustaining your life while off on some em-comm mission. Just some suggestions;

A week's worth of any prescription medicine you are taking
Soap, toiletries, deodorant (for the people around you)
Extra change of clothes, 2-3 changes of underwear, 2-3 pairs of socks, extra shoes that are appropriate for the disaster.
(BTW, tennis shoes are not the right thing to wear while responding to a tornado, I guarantee you will get a nail through your shoe and vehicle tires)
Enough water and food to deal with your immediate needs for several days (you are going there to help, not be an additional burden upon the emergency services)
A "good" first aid kit
A couple of good tarplins, bungiee cords, rope and stakes (you will not imagine how useful this will be).
Extra fuel for your vehicle
At least two sets of fully charged batteries for any portable you will be using. A charger to allow you to recharge from your vehicle or some other 120 VAC or 12 VDC supply.
A good flashlight with spare batteries
jumper cables
Your radio amateur gear with spare batteries, auxilliary charging system (solar, generator, etc...)

The rough rule of thumb when calculating solar power sizing is 10x of your average current draw (do not forget duty cycle). Charging systems are not perfect, batteries do not give back all you put into them, you may end up there in the winter when there are fewer charging hours per day or it will be overcast. The batteries need to carry through a full night of operation without going dead, size around that as well.

Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
Free space loss (dB) = 32.4 + 20 × log10d + 20 × log10 f

Posts: 5639

« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2011, 07:13:05 PM »

To tag on AA4HA's shoe comments, you want BOOTS in any disaster area; Preferably steel toed and steel sole shanked.

Been to more disaster sites over the last 40 years than I can count.

A smoking section in a restaurant makes as much sense as a peeing section in a swimming pool.

Posts: 34

« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2012, 12:53:00 PM »

I don't go to the restroom without a good knife.  A good knife.
A Leatherman-type tool is good to have.
Good, strong gloves.
LED headlamps are invaluable, as you can remain hands free when the lights go out!
A good watch.  Timing things, like battery use, etc. could be critical
« Last Edit: January 16, 2012, 03:52:07 PM by JOSEYWALES » Logged

Posts: 297

« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2012, 11:53:55 PM »

I took a slightly different approach to a 'go bag'... I created a station in a box..

I have this wooden box with a nice hinged lid.. about the size of a medium suitcase.. no idea what is was for.. but I have it now Smiley

in it I packed:

a Motorola MaxTrac 25w VHF radio. (It was what I had laying around, and they're tough as nails)
a suitable power supply, initially I used a 7A linear.. but that was REALLLLY heavy.. I'm going to trade it for a switching unit later. (the MaxTrac needs only 5A on transmit)

I also packed in (4) 6v 11aH sealed lead acid batteries, wired in series/parallel for 12v.

I included an INTELLIGENT maintenance charger.. the type that cycles on and off.. NOT a float charger. (I've had those sealed batteries explode on the bench from a float charger)

i attached the charger, and a 12v courtesy lamp meant for a car to the inside of the lid, so I have a work light.

I wired the p/s and batteries through a series of toggle switches..
Mains and batt..
mains on, batt off.. normal operation..
mains off, batt on.. normal operation on the batteries
both on.. charge the batteries from the p/s.. though risky w/o regulation.

all the power was wired through a 4 position automotive type fuse block.
one fuse for the radio, one for the light, one for the cigarette lighter jack, and one for the banana jacks I included.  This way I can connect other devices, other radios, whatever the case maybe, OR, I can turn off both power switches, and wire an external power source to the banana jacks.  and with the fuses being ATO type, (your basic automotive blade type fuse) while not recommended, if a fuse had to be replaced in a pinch, a short jumper wire with flat blade crimp on ends will work...

Then I have a Radio Shack scanner antenna that's resonant for transmit on 2m and 70cm.. when I unscrew the ground radials, it stores very compactly.. and I keep a 25ft length of RG58 coiled up in the box.

while it IS extremely heavy.. I took a slightly different approach to 'portable'.  my intent was to be able to go somewhere, flip the lid open, set the antenna up, plug into power if it's available, and sit and operate.
portable is a relative term.. this thing can be taken anywhere.. but I wouldn't wanna be hiking very far on foot with it.. I actually plan on permanently attaching a luggage carrier to  it.. to keep it on wheels Smiley

I also included an automotive Ammeter and volt gauge for monitoring battery life Smiley

i've never really had the patience to test the batteries to capacity, but I figure on anywhere from 24 to 48 hours on the batteries, depending on duty cycle and other current loads (like using the light which pulls a couple of amps on its own... i think it's time to consider an LED replacement to the incandescent)

Posts: 10

« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2012, 10:24:37 AM »

Don't remember where, but I saw  descent solar powered emergency unit... with a battery... the panel folded up...

This is pricey, but it is on my 'wish list' and will go with my CERT/Ham git outta dodge stuff...

Herb / K0HEA
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