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Wednesday, October 21st, 2015
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Solar Stand Front

I'm putting together a small trailer containing radio gear that is powered by its own small solar system. This is the portable stand (just built, will be painted next) that allows me to take the solar panel with me into the field, and then deploy the panel in the general direction of the sun.

When taken down, the stand folds flat and the support slips hinge-end first into the U-shaped receptacle on the panel side of the stand, leaving the assembly 5.5" thick, folded. I used piano hinges for the front edge, and for the base of the support. You just lift the top a little, fold down the support, and then the top folds flat on top of it and it can be packed away again for travel. View of the other side is here.

The angle is set by our latitude; the sun is generally pretty low in the sky here compared to a more southern placement. The panel itself remains in the stand and is protected by the surrounding bezel of 2x4s.

The panel is 100 watts, and feeds a smart charging system with a bank of 12.6 VDC lead-acid batteries. Inside the trailer, I use 12.6 VDC LED bulbs which provide very bright light with only 1.5 amps draw, or about 18 watts total (for three bulbs.)

The radios use a couple hundred watts on transmit, and what with all the computers and SDR gear, I pull about 50 watts during receive including the lights, so I get about 50 watts of charge constantly as long as the sun is out.

Because I don't transmit anywhere near as much as I listen, this setup goes all (sunny) day without any breaks at all. I've run it as long as 8 hours in the dark and still had power, too.

It's a fun way to get away from all the RFI in populated areas. I just find a place with no power lines, telephone poles, houses, etc., park and deploy. Takes about five minutes, and I'm good to go.

Next year I'll spend my first field day actually out in the field with this. Still don't know if I want to actually get involved in the contest itself, but it'll be neat to be actually out there, independent of everything, ready to go. I'll definitely be listening. The rest... we'll see.



Width: 1393
Height: 1045
Company:  Samsung
Camera:  SM-N900V (Galaxy Note 3 Cellphone)
Shot On:  2015:10:21 10:12:34
Aperture:  ƒ/2.2
Focal Length:  4.13mm
Metering Mode:  Center
Exposure Mode:  Auto
Flash:  Did Not Fire
Light Source:  Unknown
Exposure Time:  1/560th second
Exposure Program:  Normal Program
ISO:  50

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