Power for the Radios

First things first, I know there are folks out there who run with big power supplies or their rig plugs right into the wall.  I don’t! I run with a big battery because I want the radios and scanners to all be able to operate if the power is out. I do own an Astron 30-SS switching power supply, I keep it as a back-up in case my battery gives up the ghost, which it recently did.  Power for my radios at my home shack has always been a deep cell marine battery.  I’m on my third.  Here are my lessons learned.
The first one only lasted a year, I used to run it down and then quick charge it with a quick charger.  The battery couldn’t handle the fast charges and I think I might have taken it down lower than I should a few times before charging it.  The second battery lasted me seven years, 2008 until just a week ago.  You might ask, “What changed?”  My answer is, a lot has changed.  The first battery was a cheapie I paid little, went with a no name brand and I got what I paid for.  The second was actually a Sears Die Hard 120 AH.  It lasted me seven years because I hooked it up to a battery maintainer and left it connected continuously. The maintainer gave a green light at 13.4 volts and trickle (amber) when it was lower than 13.4.  When this one died last week, I discovered it had a dead cell. It gave 10.5 volts (perfect voltage for 5 cells and a dead giveaway on a dead cell). I went to K-Mart to get another Die Hard, but they don’t carry any more. So I went to a marine (boat) store went into their parts section and picked out a big marine battery and a new box to keep it in.  Hopefully this battery is a good one.  Time will tell.  When the power goes out I’m able to run the radios for a while before needing to figure a way to charge the battery. Future upgrade to this will be a solar charge controller, a solar panel, and a second battery in parallel with this one which should pretty much make the power situation 100% “off grid”.
I have an MFJ-1126 to distribute power from the battery and all of my radios and scanners have Anderson Powerpoles on them which means everything runs on the battery.  I have a couple of shortwave recievers that plug into the wall.  I need to convert one so it’ll do 12 volts, but the other has a 12 volt power socket, a trip to the thrift sotre should turn up a wall wart with the right connector that I can cut and replace with power poles. The bottom line (You should strive to be able to run your radios, monitoring scanners and recievers regardless of the availabillity of commercial power. Make it so…
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