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Portable Power


Portable Power

I like operating from the Ranch, because I have some decent antennas there, and the background noise is nearly nonexistent.  But in the past, that has involved packing all my radio stuff up, including the old Astron 20-Amp linear power supply (= heavy).

I decided to make things a little more convenient.  I got a 115 amp-hour marine battery from Walmart, and a cheap 2amp/6amp battery charger from Harbor Freight.

Harbor Freight Charger

With these hooked up at the ranch, I can now have the battery charging while the generator is running for other stuff (like construction or cooking).  Then I can turn the generator off and run off battery for a long time.  It’s really nice at night, when I can set the TS-480 up to automatically shut off after 60 minutes (or 120, or 180).  That allows me to go to bed listening to the gents on 80 meters or 160 meters, and not have to worry about running down the battery, or getting up to disconnect everything.

There is no need to disconnect the charger when the generator is not running.  It only pulls about 8ma in that condition.  The charger quickly brings the battery up to 14 volts or so, then goes into a PWM mode, where it cycles charging on and off as needed to maintain a charge.  I wouldn’t want to leave it on 24/7, as it would cook the battery at that rate, but it’s pretty good for temporary operations.  I notice no noise from the charger on receive, and others say I have no noise or hum on my transmit signal.


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