[RFI] Non-RFI Battery Voltage Regulators

Fred Stevens K2FRD k2frd at mac.com
Fri Aug 11 22:09:19 EDT 2006

Kenwood TS-2000; SSB, CW, PSK-31, PACTOR-III (Winlink 2000). Power: highest I can without FM distortion up to 100w. While I watch my DC voltmeter very carefully (the rig may start FMing at 12.4 to 12.7 vdc) and drop power when it approaches this level before it starts distorting, batteries being batteries may drop voltage suddenly without my notice and I'll start receiving reports of distortion. Before or when this happens, I drop power down to, first 75w, then 50w until the distortion clears, but still can operate for only limited periods after that. I can operate 25w to 50w for considerably longer periods on battery if i start at these lower power levels, but in these days at the bottom of Cycle 23, I like QRO as much as possible (I'm also not a QRPer).

I hadn't planned to get into this much detail since it's complicated, lengthy (verbose in the details), and possibly boring to most for which I apologize, but two 75ah marine batteries (new Feb 06) constitute my main battery bank with a second similar bank (used for my trailer's organic systems - lights, fans, pumps, furnace, jacuzzi, etc) capable of being switched in if absolutely needed, but I don't like to do this unless I'm chasing after 3Y0X or comparable DX. There are no other non-ham devices powered from the main battery bank while I'm operating. Two parts to the problem: (1) the battery banks are seldom charged to maximum capacity of 14.5 to 15.1vdc (varies with season); usually 70% to 80% charge (13.5vdc) is typical, charged by either two 80-watt solar panels when I'm in my winter RV feeding grounds in southern Arizona or, when in a sun-challenged location, by a Honda Eu1000i or Mitsubishi 600/900 (back-up gen/inverter) into either  electronic chargers (am using electronic chargers rather than analog chargers which tend to overcharge batteries thus reducing their life span) or through an Astron PS-35 or, recently an el cheapo Radio Shack 20 amp PS. The power supplies put out 13.8vdc, so are inadequate to fully charge the batteries beyond 60% to 70%; the Honda and Mitsubishi inverters put out RFI despite the common mode choke I constructed from http://www.dellroy.com/W4EF's-Ham-Radio-Page/Portable_Operation/EU2000i_Filter.htm (works OK, but both inverters still generate too much RFI). While I can bring the battery bank up to 70% to 80% charge (13.5vdc) in, say, 15 to 30 minutes with the charger, that last 20% takes an hour or longer and is not a deep charge. I don't have the luxury of a long slow charge on the batteries since I'm never near a commercial power source and have to rely on the inverters or solar. There's just too much RFI operating the TS-2000 through the power supply from one or the other inverters (note: I have a Coleman/B&S 3750 generator [not inverter-generator] which creates absolutely no RFI, but at one gallon gas per three to four hours, gets spendy, gas-wise and then there's the size and weight problem when on the road with the Coleman. It stays in my storage shed in the desert.). The two solar panels are sufficient to slowly recharge the batteries to 100% (presuming there is sun and no draw off the batteries), but are inadequate to keep the batteries' voltage up while operating (a third panel might tip the balance, but at $380 a whack, it's gonna have to wait).

And (2), I was spoiled rotten by my two Kenwood TS-50s (1999 to 2003) which would operate for up to four hours at 100 watts off very comparable battery banks under almost identical conditions (i.e., less than full charge). The TS-2000 uses a lot of power in idle and consumes disproportionately more than the TS-50s at 100w - more circuitry involved at full power in the 2000. The TS-50s also would not start FMing until battery voltage fell below about 12.0vdc which gave me considerably more operating time off battery power. I have a much narrower battery voltage window with the TS-2000.

In summary, I want to utilize that lower 50% of the battery's charge which is presently unusable. I didn't know that W4RRY was back to producing his boosters until I received several offlist responses to my original post http://members.cox.net/w4rry/index.html for which I thank all for the information. Now that I know a ham booster is out there, I'm golden, but I'd like to see if other list members know of other sources for boosters. I'd like one which is adjustable and has meters, but no RFI if it won't break the bank.

73 de Fred K2FRD

At 1:15 PM -0700 11/8/06, John Carobine - WB8RFB wrote:
>What rig(s), mode(s), and power level(s) are you
>running in your RV?  I'm no expert at any of this, but
>the run times you gave seem to be quite short from 4
>marine deep cycle batteries if they are relatively new
>and fully charged.  Are other appliances running in
>off those batteries at the same time too? 
>Knowing what power levels you run plus what else might
>be powered on will help.  I'm sure others on this list
>will have the answers you are looking for.

73 de Fred Stevens K2FRD, VO2FS

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