Solar Powered Field Ham Radio Shack For Camping

I'm beginning a new adventure in using solar power so I can use my 100W rig when I am camping.   This project is now finished.   Enjoy!

Field Shack 3

 

 

While I am waiting for my components to arrive I have work I can do:   Attached the High-Sierra HS-1500MKII screwdriver antenna I've had in storage for many years.

Bracket

 

Here it is mounted:

Set up

 

Created a sun sheltered area for the field shack.   This was just a quick set up for the photo... when in the field at our camp site it would be sloped away from the horse trailer.   If raining the equipment could be moved inside the trailer and the open sidees closed off.   This makes a nice shaded sitting area also.

Shelter

 More to come when the solar panel, controller and deep cycle battery arrive...

 Okay... Everything is here...

Controller PCBThe Controller PCB

Controller CloseupI had an obsolete telephone modem with a nice enclosure... the Controller's new home.

 Testing SetupTemporarily set up for an initial test... works okay.

Field Shack 1As it will be when horse camping. My screwdriver antenna provides continous tuning from 3.5 to 30Mhz is mounted to the trailer.

My wife provided the callsigh pennant for me.

My first QSO with a WA station resulted in a solid 599 contact.

Field Shack 2The working field shack station. Acer computer, TS-590S rig Running 50W here but able to go to 100W, Diawa SWR/wattmeter, Controller, Antenna control, and my top favorite key, a Begali HST II in Sideswiper mode.   The device on top of the controller is a PowerWerx DC Wattmeter/Power Analyzer but it has such low backlighting that I won't be taking it outside any more... a VOM will have to do.

Now, with this checked out, I am ready to pack up for our next camping and while my wife is our riding I can enjoy some QSOs from the campsite.

73,

Ed - ad7gr

SKCC 30T

UPDATE: On the trip I found that I will need more solar panels to support 100W operation.   However, this system did fine at 50W and lower... unfortunately HF conditions were terrible during the time windows I had to operate.   There was a lot going on during the 2016 AHA Cowboy Camp Meeting... a very enjoyable time even if there were no contacts made.

UPDATE: On future trips I will be using my Elecraft K2 transceiver.   Even though the Kenwood TS-590S is relatively small it's still a lot of radio to take camping.  Unnecessary equipment will not be included.   My final keep-it-simple kit will include K2, CW key, wire antenna & feedline, ZM-2 ATU, computer, solar panel & controller, and battery.   The rig, key, antenna, feedline, tuner, and controller all fit into a Dell computer carry bag and is easily stored behind the pickup truck seat for safe travel.   The next time I have that part of the kit together I'll post photos here.