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Re: [TenTec] Using an Argosy in the field

To: "'Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment'" <tentec@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [TenTec] Using an Argosy in the field
From: "Rick - DJ0IP / NJ0IP" <Rick@DJ0IP.de>
Reply-to: Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment <tentec@contesting.com>
Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2012 22:46:43 +0200
List-post: <tentec@contesting.com">mailto:tentec@contesting.com>
Steve, you are way off on your assumptions.

Normally the TX current drain is not the biggest problem.
Continuous current drain is the problem.
I would say you will be on receive 90% of the time.
When talking you probably average only 30% of max current drain.
On transmitting CW it might be 50%, probably less.
But as I said, 90% of the time that the radio is switched on, it will be in
RX mode.

Important is continuous current drain:
 - Turn off the dial lamps (can't remember if there is a switch on that rig
or not; if not, install one)
 - Use headphones instead of speaker; that way it draws less current
 - Turn the radio off every chance you get (breaks for eating, etc.)
 - If it gets dark, use an external LED lamp to light the rig's front panel
(I used to use candles)

Run as little TX power as necessary.
For CW, 20w is generally enough (if you feel you have to run more than 5).
Running in QRP mode saves more than you think because it is more efficient
in that mode than when running reduced power in high power mode.  What I
mean is, if you switch it to QRP, it draws perhaps 800mw on TX.  If you run
it in high power but back the power off to , say, 10w, it doesn't draw twice
the current, but rather 3 or 4 times as much current.

I hope your Argosy is the analog version.
It will draw less power in receive than the digital readout version.
You will find that the dial lamps draw half of the total current in RX mode.

My Experience:  18 years of running Ten-Tec transceivers from a motorcycle
battery.  Transceivers used: Ten-Tec 505, 509, (both with and without the
405 amp), Ten-Tec Argosy (analog), Ten-Tec Scout, and Argonaut 515.
You can see some photos of my setup here:
SPECIFICALLY, check out the ones to the Isle of Man, and Corsica.

ALSO, check out my 1979 operations from Andorra.
I ran a Ten-Tec Omni (analog, dial lights switched off, running @ 50w CW)
for 10 days off of car batteries.
Generally one car battery would last me an entire day, and I was on the air
about 16 hours per day.
I could recharge the battery on our generator which was located near the SSB
tent, about 200 meters away from the CW tent.
I felt like I was transmitting all the time (or so it seems when you're
doing it), but the reality is, you receive far more than you transmit.
See: http://www.dj0ip.de/my-expeditions/andorra-1979/ 
In my 1975 expedition to Andorra, we also ran off of the car battery (that's
all we had) but we ran the car's motor quite a lot, just to keep warm.  We
ran an old Swan SS-100 (well it was brand new then) with 50w out.

It's not a problem to run the full 50w off of the car's cigarette lighter.
You need to purchase a special device for this.
Check out the MFJ-4403 transceiver Voltage Conditioner:
It works.  

You can almost always find another driver/car willing to jump start your
car, but they don't always have jumper cables.  

Have fun!

Rick, DJ0IP

-----Original Message-----
From: tentec-bounces@contesting.com [mailto:tentec-bounces@contesting.com]
On Behalf Of John
Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 10:12 PM
To: Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment
Subject: Re: [TenTec] Using an Argosy in the field


Thanks for the info.  I had suspected that the lighter plugs were not up to
the demand of powering the Argosy.  Can I assume that the real power input
to the Argosy is 50 W on high and 5 watts on low.  Actually the manual says
9 amps on transmit and 0.5 amps on receive.  RTFM wins 
again.   If I assume I talk 60 % of the time that comes out to about 4 
AH at full power.  Again, assuming figures don't lie that would give me
about 1 .5 hours of operation at full power  with a 7 AH battery or 
about 6 hours at low power?   Does this line up with what you have 
experienced in the field?  I picked the battery size because that was the
first battery I saw listed on Ebay.  What battery and size do you use?  This
is a new area for me.  Also have you found a small charger for portable use?


John / WA1JG

On 3/27/2012 3:21 PM, Stephen Roberts wrote:
> John,
> As far as power, you have to consider the output of the radio. If 
> you're going to only operate at 5W, then you could use a smaller SLA 
> (sealed lead acid) battery, like the kind they use in security light 
> backups or APC computer backup power units. Of course your mileage 
> will vary depending on the battery's amp hour rating, your radio's 
> current draw at transmit and how much time you're actually 
> transmitting. As far as the car is concerned, you would probably be 
> better off connecting directly to the battery itself rather than use 
> the cig lighter power outlet. I know that many lighter outlets cannot 
> deliver enough amperage to give you the power that you need. If you 
> operate directly from your car battery or another battery of similar 
> size, then make sure you follow the directions for the argosy and use 
> the circuit breaker so you don't fry anything. And be careful. A car 
> battery can kill you. Another option for power would be to use lipo or 
> lifepo batteries. Another subject all
>   ogether, but if you plan to do more QRP location stuff, it might be
worthwhile to check them out.
> I'm going to be doing the same next month with my Argosy in Maine and I
plan to take a BuddiPole, a painters pole mast and an end fed 10/20/40
dipole. I'll probably take a tuner as well for the Buddipole. I'll probably
take my spare lawn mower battery along for power as I don't intend to stray
too far from where I'm staying.
> 73
> Steve
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