For a little while now, I've been keen on the idea of getting a small scale solar power project going here. Seeing some of the projects on BBC2s 'It's Not Easy Being Green' made me realise that it wasn't too hard to generate at least a small amount of power - and then of course, we got to talk to Dick Strawbridge himself about all this stuff. That as they say, is another story!
Anyway, if you were listening to GB3WH on Friday morning - you may have gathered that Paul, 2E0BHA kindly presented me with a couple of fire alarm batteries (handed over at a lay-by near the A34!). I picked up a solar charger at Maplin - and set the batteries charging (actually, Paul had already charged them nicely - thanks!).
On Saturday afternoon, I hooked up the FT817 to the batteries - connected the Butternut and tuned around the bands. The Russian RDA contest was in full swing, so I decided to try and make some contacts. Though some people moan about contests taking over the bands, they're brilliant for testing equipment - you know people will work you if they can hear you. On 20m, RL3A from Moscow was the first in the solar powered log to be followed by another 15 or so stations, mostly from the Moscow area. UA9CLB was further east and is probably the best solar powered DX yet! I did hear UA0BA, but couldn't raise him with the 3w. Great fun. A quick visit to 40m resulted in a QSO with LA1S/LH on a lighthouse.
The battery voltage was hardly dented by the operating session - an hour's operating 'cost' about .15v - which was quickly replenished by the solar charger - despite cloudy skies.
Hmmm. Maybe I'll try using the FT857 or IC706 and run a little more power - that would be even more effective. And the other idea is to get an inverter and then try running the FT1000MP from that.
Great fun. Thanks, Paul !