New Toys – but the jury is out…

By , September 25, 2011 8:48 pm

Bike Portable (Hogs Back)

Bike Portable (Hogs Back)

Today I cycled to Hogs Back Falls.  I was trying out three new products/concepts for my portable ultralight amateur radio work.  When I’m cycling/hiking/canoeing/etc, I like to carry as little weight as possible.  Also when I’m out cycling to join a HF net, I want setup to go as quickly as possible.

So today I was trying out some stuff.

  • A tiny 50 gram amplified speaker from Diamond called a ‘mini rocker‘.
  • A tiny 170 gram 6½ amp hour battery from Novuscell.
  • A quick deploy all band antenna

The speaker did work… after a fashion 😕   Certainly it is tiny and powerful.  The most obvious shortcoming was that when I’m sending morse code I cannot hear my side tone on every frequency.  Some frequencies were okay, others were not.  I guess the RF was affecting the amplifier circuit.  I also noticed a lot of noise on the band which may have been generated by the speaker’s amplifier circuit.  I didn’t have earphones to compare with.

Bike Antenna

Bike Antenna

The battery also is not without it’s quirks also.  I’ve taken it on a few outings so far.  There’s a button on top.  When it charges up, and I press the button, four LEDs light up.  Last time I took it out, I charged it with a 5W solar panel for around 6 hours and afterwards I got four LEDs.  After about 2 hours of operating, it was down to two LEDs.  The following morning I couldn’t get any of the LEDs to light 😥

So today I had it charged up 100%.  After 2 hours of very light operating (listening mostly) it was down to 3 LEDs (out of 4).  My gut tells me that I should be getting more endurance out of this battery (if it really is 6½ Ah like it says on the front).

So…  the jury is out… for now.  Time will tell if these two items become a permanent addition to the VA3SIE/P ‘go-bag‘.

The quick deploy antenna concept however worked well.  I strapped a Jackite Pole to my bicycle in a vertical configuration just behind my bicycle seat.  When I got to Hogs Back, I rested the bicycle up against a low wall, hooked up the wire and extended the pole.  The antenna was up in less than 5 minutes and I was on the air on 80m through 20m.



One Response to “New Toys – but the jury is out…”

  1. Robert says:

    I admire the amazing things you do Martin.

    73 de Robert VE2AGE

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