Field Day - 200 QSOs with a Flashlight Battery
Field Day was an experiment this year. I operated for nine hours
using a 5V 18650 battery and made 200 QSOs
before calling it quits.
I operated on the deck with an MTR 4-B designed by KD1JV. The
antenna was an 88 foot doublet
up about 45 feet. I used the ZM-2 tuner. For power I used the
Powerfilm Lightsaver. This is a 5 watt
roll-up solar panel that charges a 3.7V 18650 battery rated at 3.2
Ahr. The battery inside the Powerfilm
product is commonly used in flashlights. The combination of the rig
and the power supply is crucial.
The MTR rigs will operate from 6 to 12 volts. The Powerfilm puts out
5V to a USB socket. The secret
ingredient required to bring the USB voltage up to the operating
voltage of the rig is a Baofeng USB
charging dongle. This device takes a 5V input and outputs 10.3
volts... perfect for the MTR transceiver.
With this voltage the MTR puts out a little less than 3 watts.
The Powerfilm Lightsaver is designed to charge cell phones for
hikers and campers. It weighs only
about 5 oz. and rolls up into a tiny package. Any USB 5V cell phone
charging battery could be used
with the Baofeng dongle.
This year my whole station operated on 5V. I used a Samsung tablet
In New Hampshire it was cloudy for most of Field Day, but
fortunately the amorphous solar
panel provides some charging even when it's cloudy. I'm guessing
that after 9 hours of
operating the battery was down to about half capacity. The beauty of
this system is
that one could operate indefinitely with moderate sunshine.
I've been experimenting with this setup during hikes and bike rides
for the last couple of
months with a view to using it for Field Day. This year's emergency
exercise proves that
it is viable for an extended grid-down power outage.