Arizona Emergency Net - Maricopa

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This site currently includes recordings from 2010-2012

AEN-MAR

Every Monday night, the Arizona Emergency Net – Maricopa meets on 2 meters FM for training and exercise in the public service communication arts. We focus on preparation and readiness for public service – be it scheduled events like bike races or drills, or emergencies such as storm damage or terrorist attacks. Someone has to be ready. This net is dedicated to addressing that challenge. The Arizona Emergency Net – Maricopa also activates during threats or emergencies affecting Maricopa County

12-5-2011 - Field Power Part II - KF7CCC

10-12-2011

Generators:
- If you're getting a generator, get one that's slightly over the rating you need. One participant suggested 30% over was a good figure: if you have a 1 kW need, get a 1.3 kW generator.
- Getting too much more than you need will cause problems. The generator gets heavier, and the amount of fuel it takes goes up (meaning you have to bring more fuel into the field with you).
- Generators with 2-stroke engines are more compact, but not as fuel efficient.
- 4-stroke generators are better at fuel efficiency, and the generators tend to last longer.
- Some generators have an "eco" or "smart" throttle mode that quiets the engine until you need additional power.
- If you're going to start an AC motor (such as an air conditioner) with a generator, be warned that the starting load is often much greater than the running load. You may need a larger generator if you plan to do that.
- Test any generator before you buy it for RF hash.
- Don't run the 12V power direct from a generator into your radio; it's pretty dirty and probably bad for the radio.
- Multiple grounds should be avoided to prevent ground loops. Some participants had used generators without explicitly grounding them.
- A portable GFCI was recommended for safety when connecting to generators.

We spent some time talking about propane generators specifically:
- Any carbureted gas generator can be converted to run on propane.
- Propane's advantages: easy to store (unlike gas, which can go bad, and diesel, which gets moisture), easy to change (swap tanks rather than fill).
- Propane's disadvantages: economy - fuel consumption is about 150% of gas for equivalent power.
- Some generators are "tri-fuel generators" - they can run on propane, gasoline or natural gas.
- One participant recommended the website http://propane-generators.com

Solar:
- You need to know your power requirements before picking a solar panel. You can get away with a 15 W panel to trickle-charge a SLA battery, but not to power a 100 W transmitter full time.
- There's a spreadsheet on the AEN-MAR website at http://aen-mar.org/Files/AEN-MAR%20%20Battery%20and%20Charger%20Sizing%20Utilities.xls to help you calculate your power and charge needs.
- In addition to a solar panel, you'll need a battery (for when there's not enough sun) and a charge controller (to regulate the power to the battery).
- Some solar panels have integrated diodes to prevent battery discharge.
- Monocrystalline solar cells are more expensive but have better power density (meaning you can use a smaller sized panel for equivalent power).
- Polycrystalline (or multicrystalline) solar cells are cheaper.
- Photovoltaic laminates (thin film) can be flexible, which might make them easier to take to the field.

Hydroelectric:
- One participant had experience with hydro power.
- There are two types of hydro generators: "head" which run off a difference in water heights, and "flow rate" which run off the speed of the water flow.
- These are not easy to set up, and probably not suitable for radios in the field.

Wind Power:
- Some hams are building wind power generators using car alternators.
- Impellers are available on the Internet.
- One participant knew of people using digital tape drive motors to build a wind generator that needed lower RPMs than an automobile alternator.
- One website that describes building a wind turbine is here: http://www.mdpub.com/Wind_Turbine/

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