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[VHFcontesting] laptop power

To: vhfcontesting@contesting.com, w9sz <w9sz.zack@gmail.com>
Subject: [VHFcontesting] laptop power
From: Drew Arnett <arnett.drew@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 2021 18:08:00 +0000
List-post: <mailto:vhfcontesting@contesting.com>
Hi Zack,

A partial answer...  I have more detailed notes I can dig up, but from memory...

I setup a Raspberry Pi 2, their official 7 inch display, plastic case,
WinkeyerUSB, Elecraft USB to serial CAT cable, USB to PS/2 adapter &
old model M keyboard (awesome!), no mouse, and a powerwerx 'usb buddy'
12 to 5V power converter.  All COTS.  This was for
display-keyboard-no-mouse HF contest logging with cat & keyer
integration.  Chose the Pi 2, even though it is more expensive and
less capable, because the power consumption numbers were lower.  Using
a modern model M (still in production) or whatever keyboard may reduce
power a bit as well.  Power consumption was 5.5 W IIRC.

The old thinkpad I have on hand measured 40 W idle.  Yuck.

On my todo list, but not gotten around to yet is to find out if it has
enough horsepower for fldigi or wsjtx or just as a waterfall display
(a la PX3) and to see what power consumption goes up to.

The setup above is a nice pairing for a QRP rig for portable battery
power contesting.  :-)

Yes, there is room for improvement over a regular laptop.

Best regards,


> Date: Thu, 21 Jan 2021 08:56:36 -0600
> From: Zack Widup <w9sz.zack@gmail.com>
> Well, I haven't been taking along a computer when I operate QRP Portable
> because my laptop is an energy hog. It uses 19 volts DC. I built a power
> inverter to change 12 to 19 volts. It draws 4 amps at 12 volts. That's too
> much of a battery drain. Also, I don't know where to put it in my car when
> it's packed with equipment and antennas for 10 bands.
> But I'm interested in using FT4/8 if needed in one of these contests.
> Especially since I am very happy with the performance of my recently
> acquired FT897D. I could easily make a connector for it. So I have a
> question. Are any other Rover/Portable stations using some sort of computer
> that is small (like a Raspberry Pi) and doesn't draw a lot of current? I
> would really be interested in putting something like that together. I'd
> like some recommendations.
> 73, Zack W9SZ
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