My Radio Equipment

My requirements are simple… small, capable (all bands/all modes) and lightweight with a large fun-factor.

Radios:

Antennas:

Power:

  • Internal FNB-85 Ni-MH Battery Pack (1400 mAh @ 9.6V)
  • External ENERGIZER XP8000
  • Foldable Solarpanel Powerfilm F15-600 (0.6A@15.4V)
  • LiFePo4 4S config (4200 mAh @13.2V)
  • LiFePo4 3S config (2300 mAh @ 9.9V)
  • LiPo 4S config (2300 mAh @ 16.8V)

Video (answers to inquiries I received):

If you would like to leave questions or comments, please do so through Youtube.

Comments

My Radio Equipment — 58 Comments

  1. Is the battery and charger at the end necessary for the initial setup we saw at the beginning? I understand it to be the PV to the charge controller, to the battery, to the FT-817. Correct?

  2. If you want to charge the internal battery of the FT-817 I would definitely go with the charge controller. The external battery (XP8000) can handle 19V, the internal battery can’t – therefore a charge controller is highly recommended to avoid any smoke :)

  3. Makes sense. That way I can run one battery while the other is charging.

  4. Everything is connected at the same time. The solar-cell feeds the external XP-8000 and the radio is geting power from the XP8000 through the internal battery (FNB-85). There is no need for the charge controller since the XP-8000 accepts up to 19V (which cannot be produced by the solar panel). If you want to feed the radio directly (through internal battery) you will need a charge controller since the limit onthe radio is 13.8V (I believe). The solar panel can exceed that. Hope that explains it.

  5. @k0mos you are a genius at explaining this in laymen’s terms. I am new to non-commercial power and I thank you greatly for your patience in answering my questions about your setup. Thank you so much! I can’t wait for more videos as I have subscribed to your page. Last question…so far my shopping list includes: -XP8000 -Solar cell any misc cables, connectors, etc… that you recommend?

  6. [..YouTube..] You’re videos are great at capturing SOTA. I need to add a watt meter to my rig. Is there any particular reason why you use a Watts-up instead of Doc-Watt meter?

    Clarence KI4WTT

  7. You’re videos are great at capturing SOTA. I need to add a watt meter to my rig. Is there any particular reason why you use a Watts-up instead of Doc-Watt meter? Clarence KI4WTT

  8. [..YouTube..] @TUFFMATE Thanks for your comment. There is no particular reason for the watt meter. It seemed to fit my requirements (small/lightweight/reasonably priced) and was readily available. I did not look into a ‘Doc-Watt meter (but I will now :) )

  9. [..YouTube..] Thanks for your comment. There is no particular reason for the watt meter. It seemed to fit my requirements (small/lightweight/reasonably priced) and was readily available. I did not look into a ‘Doc-Watt meter (but I will now :) )

  10. Thanks for your comment. There is no particular reason for the watt meter. It seemed to fit my requirements (small/lightweight/reasonably priced) and was readily available. I did not look into a ‘Doc-Watt meter (but I will now :) )

  11. [..YouTube..] Hi Mat. Nice oither vids too – on SOTA hikes. I notice your rating on the XP8000 (obviously not an 8 Ah LiPo). Have you done a capacity test at 12V? Looking at one while waiting for the KX-3 to arrive. Cheers es 73 Peter

  12. Hi Mat. Nice oither vids too – on SOTA hikes. I notice your rating on the XP8000 (obviously not an 8 Ah LiPo). Have you done a capacity test at 12V? Looking at one while waiting for the KX-3 to arrive. Cheers es 73 Peter

  13. [..YouTube..] @ve6kk Hi Peter, sorry for the late reply. I did not do any capacity tests with the XP8000. When I remember correctly I used the numbers from somebody else on the web who did some testing. 73, Matt

  14. [..YouTube..] Hi Peter, sorry for the late reply. I did not do any capacity tests with the XP8000. When I remember correctly I used the numbers from somebody else on the web who did some testing. 73, Matt

  15. Hi Peter, sorry for the late reply. I did not do any capacity tests with the XP8000. When I remember correctly I used the numbers from somebody else on the web who did some testing. 73, Matt

  16. [..YouTube..] @Matt: Is there a minimum panel voltage from your PowerFilm + XP8000 setup before the XP8000 actually starts charging?

  17. @Matt: Is there a minimum panel voltage from your PowerFilm + XP8000 setup before the XP8000 actually starts charging?

  18. [..YouTube..] Matt, Did you have to do any mods to the cables from Energizer to make them be able to plug into the 817?

  19. Matt, Did you have to do any mods to the cables from Energizer to make them be able to plug into the 817?

  20. [..YouTube..] Are you happy with your watts up meter. I am thinking about ordering a meter from powerwerx. There are 4 different models. And just trying to find the best one for a setup like yours. Im using the powerfilm 20w with a 14ahr battery with 857d

  21. I am happy with it. Gives me all the info I need and gave me no troubles so far :)

  22. Hi TheAllred. Did you get an answer to this? I’m trying to replicate this setup. Also, do you know what the little digital meter on the power lines is? What manufacturer/model.

  23. Thanks Matt. I built the same setup. I like using the wattmeter to help positioning the solar panel for maximum charge when the sun gets lower in the sky. Works great!

  24. I did not but bought the battery anyway and it comes standard with an adapter that fits the 817. the digital meter is a “Watts Up” meter that you can by from Powerwerx.

  25. I bought a male cigarette lighter adapter with powerpole ends instead of cutting the power line that came standard on the panel.

  26. Very cool setup! Looks great for backpacking or emergency use. Once I save up the money I want to get one of those radios. That solar panel looks rather handy. I may have to get one of those too.

  27. I have had the 817 for bit now. It’s a great radio. I recently made a 10 meter PSK 31 contact from California to Japan using a home built wire dipole! Anyone debating getting this radio should just do it. It’s a fantastic radio. The only downside is the included batteries. They suck. In the shack my radio is hooked up to a lead acid battery and 45 watt solar panel set. It works great.

  28. One minor issue I see with your setup. You are using red/black powerpole connectors on the solar panel. For amateur radio use the red/black connectors are for 12 volt nominal only. For my solar setup I am going to use yellow/black on the solar panel and charge controller.

    Other than that minor issue, you have a great setup!

  29. Good point… was not aware that powerpoles connector come in different colors… have to look out for them. Thanks for the tip.

  30. Nice video and comments….I got a new FT 817ND and had all the modifications done on it from W4RT filters, etc….Got dipole configuration original ham sticks for all bands, telescoping lightweight mast, yo yo 40-6 MTR mini dipole, palm key, and all the goodies….made some terrific contacts on it…I want to get a solar panel for the W4RT Super Battery I have which is 10,000 mAH and voltage at 9.6 v…..my question is what would be the best solar package to get and where?..Thank you! K8ESE…

  31. Thanks for your comment. The best solar package out there is the one which fits your requirements. Before you do not know how/where/how long you want to operate you can’t design a solar setup. There are just too many variables. My setup works for SOTA activation here in sunny Colorado. It will not generate enough power in OR or WA where sunny days are rare compared with CO.

  32. Hello K0mos , can you tell me the model of Digital Battery Capacity Checker you use to check the load voltage

  33. sweet I’ll just go order it off amazon now than, I have a solar setup too btw :3 what’s wrong with the yaesu battery?

  34. The charge runs out pretty quick. Also, the charging system is pretty stupid. The radio can’t tell when the batteries are charged. You just tell the radio to charge for 8 or 10 hours and hope you don’t overcharge the batteries. Other than that it’s a fantastic rig. I have a MOLLE camera bag (hazard 4 forward observer), this radio fits in perfectly. With AA’s in the radio and an additional pouch added to the side of the bag, I could fit a full HF ham station in it. I call the shack in the pack :)

  35. On my charge controller I did yellow/black power poles where the panel plugs in and red/black when the battery plugs in. One nice advantage if the label sticker comes off the controller; since the plugs are color coded, I know which is which.

  36. this is a great help for my portable set-up, since most of those Watts up
    type meters are from China, i went ahead and ordered one , which goes up to
    60V-50amps continuous ,100amp intermittent , for only 13bucks shipped to my
    door. Thought i would share that tip from Ebay ,might not be fully
    waterproof, but i will silicon the edges if i have to. since you put this
    up we have LIPO4 batts readily available , wondered if you looked at them ,
    yes more moolahs but oh so much lighter weight,(these are not the
    Boomhshagalagah type , hihi. 73’s