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[CQ-Contest] Power Inverters

Subject: [CQ-Contest] Power Inverters
From: tgeorgen@lsil.com (Georgens, Tom)
Date: Mon Jan 8 17:02:07 2001

I am currently planning another contesting trip to the Caribbean and am
giving some thought to a point I have neglected in the past, emergency
power.  I had a power outage during a WPX in KP2 one year but it remarkably
occurred during an off time.  I actually had a generator which, by the time
I coaxed it into working, was not necessary since the lights had come back

More recently, I have been in 8P where there is a generator but I dread ever
having to use it.  I am not very handy with motors and dealing with gasoline
before and after the contest seemed like an ordeal.  Instead I have just
taken the risk that the power would be OK.

However, I have seen these relatively cheap inverters in stores such as
Circuit City that claim 300 or 500 Watts output at 110V.  Since I have an
automobile handy that is sure to start and already has gasoline, I was
wondering if anybody out there has a judgement as to the suitability of
these devices.  I figure that, in the event of a short power outage, I can
continue to run at exciter power off an automobile and one of these
inverters.  At a minimum, I need to run the radio, computer, and lamp (if
dark).  It is not ideal, but it is better than being off the air entirely.

Assuming the inverter is operating within its limits, does it provide a
viable alternative to a generator for contesting power requirements in the
300 to 500 W range?  I am concerned about stability, electrical noise,
reliability, and lots of other things I surely have not considered.

Thanks and 73, Tom W2SC


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