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Self Contained Solar Repeaters?


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I have two 1250 ft. mountains within three miles of my location that would be great sites for a repeater. Are there any commercially available remote area repeaters that run off of solar?  These places are a long way from a power source. And if we lose the grid for a few weeks or months, could be a life saver (once we pull our radios out of the Faraday cage). 

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Don't know about a "kit", but I bought a solar generator ( lipo batery) and a 100 watt panel to experiment. But had to leave and put my small system in storage. Hope to pull it out next year and see how it functions. I would think any system with the right amount of batteries and solar charging capability should work fine.

 

 

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A solar repeater set up can and has been done. But requires heavy expensive batteries. and more importantly maintenance of those batteries. Even lite use will kill a small battery in short order. Unless you employ a quality LVD= Low voltage disconnect, you could be replacing those expensive heavy batteries regularly. If you build a repeater from two mobile radios, you could run a simple 12 volt set up with 2X 6 volt Golf cart batteries. Depending on usage a single 12 volt battery may not be enough. Once you have your repeater average load figured out, you can determine the battery needed and size of array necessary to maintain said battery. Our repeater is a BridgeCom 40 watt, "not solar" I have a 35 AH AGM battery connected to it's backup port, It automatically cuts power back to 20 watts when on battery and still kills the battery in just a few hours of lite use. Do not buy junk Solar panel kits for this or really any worth wile project. the Harbor Freight 45 watt kit is junk and will produce 25 watts under the best of conditions. Unless solar panels are aluminum frames, stay away. Although an MPPT charge controller is ideal, this set up can be done with a cheaper PWM, you will just need 30 to 40% more array to make up for inefficiency.  IMHO is better to just go with MPPT. and lastly, you will need a quality, locking, vandal proof environmental enclosure, to protect all of this expensive gear. Hoffman makes awesome enclosures.

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You'd also want to be realistic with needs and performance desires. General rule of thumb, the crystal controlled radios were generally more efficient designs.

 

Some have even gone as far to build controllers which cyclically power the receiver when not in use to provide a function similar to an HT's battery saver. The receiver only stays active for 100 ms of every second or so when in its hibernation state. If COR goes active, it fully powers on the receiver.

 

Generally you are looking at radios putting out around 10W or less.

 

 

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