Field Test of Portable Solar Powered Repeater

What follows is an update of the setup and testing of my Solar Powered Portable Cross-band Repeater described in the link.

It could not be much hotter conditions for my area.  Even though the official temps were high 90’s for this week in August, my thermometers at the house always read 6-10deg F higher than the official forecast.

The Kenwood D700A is spec’d to operate at 140F, but I want to keep the inner temp of the case below 120F at all times.  For the test I stuck a HI/LO monitor in the case to determine if cooling fans were going to be required.

I would rather not install them as it will compromise the integrity of the case,  but a waterproof case with a burnt up radio inside is of little use, so…

One issue I found was that I could only go to the Military ridge of the hill because the shading of the trees up higher would not allow for charging with the solar panel.  I can move it higher to the very peak of the ridge and get sun also, but it will put it on a logging companies property and not my own, so I decided to test it as is before making that decision.

The repeater was left to it’s own devices from 08/04/17 to 08/12/17

FIRST TEST: 08/05/17

The first test allowed for comms in my local AO but no farther than 2 miles due to terrain.  Without the repeater that distance shrinks to less than 1/2 mile in many areas due to sever ridgelines in the area.

hill_results
location_a

 

I was very happy with this result as it will provide community comms while allowing the repeater to remain “inside the wire” so to speak.

Unfortunately, the extreme heat proved to be too much for the 7ah SLABs and I have abandoned the idea of using this setup.

The D700A is now back in my truck and in the future I plan to use a Chinese HT with cross-band repeat in a bucket hoisted up into a tree.

5 Comments

  1. That’s it you just give up?
    Why not just bury the Pelican case for the heat, and leave the solar panel out exposed for sunlight? Another question How much tx power were you using on the d700? Finally how did you come to the conclusion that the AGM batteries failed because of the Heat?
    You’ve done so much work on this. I’m kind of disappointed with the casual tossing of it to the side

    Like

    1. Hey Julian,
      I didn’t determine if the SLABs failed because of heat or were duds from Amazon. I don’t want to buy more to find out and am going to 16850 cells only in the future.

      I’m going another route. I’ll be getting a TYT UV8000E instead and mounting it and a battery with regulator inside a small Pelican case with an NMO antenna. The idea is to hoist the whole thing into the tree, less chance of being found.

      Like

      1. Sounds awesome. Hopefully you’ll take some pictures and document the steps. It sounds really interesting

        Like

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