Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Profiling my Bioenno folding 100W solar panel with CBA

We had a sunny and completely clear day here with low humidity and no clouds whatsoever. A perfect day to profile my new 100-watt Bioenno folding solar panel.

I've had a Computerized Battery Analyzer (CBA) for many years now but have never used it to profile a solar panel. A short write-up on the process is available on West Mountain Radio's website. I've read it several times and had the process on my to-do list for some time now.

As you may be aware, there are two broad categories of solar controllers: Pulse Width Modulated and MPPT.

MPPT stands for Maximum Power Point Tracking and is the more efficient of the two types. Several factors determine the maximum power capable of being extracted from a given solar panel: mono- or poly-crystalline construction, temperature and load characteristics, to name a few.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

MDS measurement of IC-705

Gigatronics 2420M sig-gen with 40 dB of attenuation on output

A Gigatronics 2420M just back from being calibrated baited me with its freshly-attached green 'PASSED" tag. We use these heavy pieces of gear at frequencies much higher than the IC-705's range so I was curious to put the two together at HF to 433 MHz and see what the results might be.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

A non-solar-powered POTA activation (K-4420)


Icom 705, ailing Hardrock-50, paddles, mic, battery, PAR MTR end-fed antenna, solar panel.....

No, it's not a stealthy set-up. It's not going to fit, KX2-like, in a shirt pocket, and there are certainly easier ways to put a 50-watt signal on the air from a portable location.

So what's the point of all this stuff?

Friday, April 16, 2021

Bioenno's 100-watt foldable solar panel

A few days ago I sold my two 100-watt Renogy panels that performed well in a 3-year stint at powering my station.

Their part-time replacement arrived today: Bioenno's 100-watt foldable solar panel.

As Murphy dictates, today is completely cloudy - but cloudy weather is good for photographing them without harsh shadows, so here they are for your inspection.

Folded, the panels are the size of a skinny brief case. A zippered pocket on the reverse side has the output cable which is terminated with a 120-amp Anderson Power Pole.

Can you say overkill?!

I removed it and will either put on a more shack-standard 15A PP or just wire it directly to the input of my solar controller which will also live in the panel's pocket.

Sunday is forecast to be sunny and here's the experiment I want to perform on one of those days:

Friday, April 9, 2021

tinySA: Output power accuracy in Sig-Gen mode

I recently posted a video of how to use the tinySA (as a signal generator), a multimeter and a few attenuators to measure the MDS of a ham or shortwave receiver.

The main requirement for accuracy of such a measurement is accuracy in that of the test equipment being used. With this in mind I decided to see how far the indicated output level of the tinySA, when in signal generator mode, deviated from the actual level at various frequencies.

I chose two power levels to be ouputted from the tinySA: -7 dBm and -25 dBm and used a calibrated HP-436A power meter to measure the actual values.