Emergency Power
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In a major disaster the power will fail.  In turn the communications infrastructure will crash.  Only people with radios which are capable of or running on and have emergency power will be able to communicate.  As a emergency communication (EmCom)  amateur radio operator, you need to have at least two sources of emergency power.   Three sources is even better. 

Which ever emergency power sources you pick, you need to know the limitations and problems of those sources.   

For some hams, their emergency plan is that they will respond to the call from the amateur radio emergency communication organization.  They intend on letting the organization worry about emergency power.   What if there is an emergency and no call recieved or no call up?  

Some hams emergency plan is limited to only the battery power left in the existing charge of their 2 meter or 2 meter/70cm handheld transciever.  Their ability to respond is very limited - hours of operating, if even that much. 

Some hams have older handheld radios and are not in a financial position to afford something newer.  Older radios may have more current drain.  Also older handhelds ni-cad batteries fail.  There are hams who have handhelds who bought extra ni-cad battery packs but over the years as those packs were rebuilt they reached their rebuilding limit, of one or two times and they may be down to one ni-cad pack for a twenty year old handheld that has been out of production for 15 years. 

These hams should not feel guilty over being financially challenged in an economy as voltile as the present one.  Nor should hams who have emergency communication manage responsibilites gave them hard time.  Managing  hams should in fact be aware of the fact some hams can not afford to go out and spend several hundreds of dollars on new equipment. 

Some hams have a emergency power plan of using their and whatever car batteries they can get their hands on in an emergency.  These hams are advised to have jumper cables made up before hand.  Some hams store car batteries.  This can be dangerous for they out gas hydrogen.  Car batteries must be kept in a well ventaliated place.  If hams live in a condonimum or in rental housing they should confer with their CC&Rs or rental agreements.  Most CC&Rs prohibit storing car batteries. 

Other hams have gone and bought their own generators.  It is commendable that these hams have gone to this expense.  When using a generator it must be kept in the open so carbon monoxide fumes may safely dissipate.   Running a generator in an apartment's balcony or courtyard is unsafe.  

The gas powered generator presents a gasoline storage problem.  Again, hams in condos or rental may be prohibited from storing gasoline.  There may even be municipal ordinances in some jurisdictions outlawing residents from storing gasoline.  Gas is highly explosive.  It is a bomb even an small quantities.  Terrorists and criminals uses small containers of gas to make Malatov Cocktail bombs.  Even leaving gasoline in the generator in between uses is a problem - a spark may cause a fire or explosion in some cases. 

Solar panels and fly wheel generators are a clean energy source.  They offer low power output.  Fly wheels do not have the problem solar power has of the sun not being out or it being overcast.  Solar panels are per watt an expensive solution. 





Jim Yuen, WH6GS’ Solar Photovotaic Power System
Lead Acid Battery Desulfator by Alstair Couper

From - Homebrew magazine, June/July 2000. 

Anderson Powerpole Page by Westmountain Radio Anderson Powerpole connectors have emerged as the standard power connector.   Having standaridized connectors enables interoperability of equipment which is crucial in an emergency.   
Knut, N1QKPs Moldex Connectors Page Commerial page providing helpful information as well as selling Moldex power connectors.