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I couldn't find a place to post otherwise... So here it goes.

This is a discussion on communications when all else fails. It occurred to me that most land line and cell phone coms will likely fail. So a few years ago I bought a Galaxy 939 CB radio (11 Meter) - only to discover there is no etiquette on that band. So I got my HAM radio license and now use 2M and 70CM. My HAM radio is an ICom 5100 with DStar enabled.

Radio com will be the last mode of communication when 'it' happens.

Here's my thought. When I wired both radios I did so directly to the battery in my Jeep. I put a-lot of thought into my decision to not make the radios powered by the ignition. E.g. Should I come across a vehicle that had a radio, but would only power on with the key, the radio would be rendered useless to someone that needed it.

So I opted to make all my coms (HT also) available to anyone that needed them should they have the need. I like to think that I'm not prepping for just myself, but also for the lone soul that may stumble upon my tech in my absence or death otherwise. All my radios will power up by just switching them directly on, no key in the ignition is needed.

Any thoughts? - and Yes, I have to be sure I don't leave my radios on and deplete the battery...
 
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The first thought I have, is to have a means to start your Jeep in the event that either your or someone else drains the battery by leaving the radio on.

Jumper cables are satisfactory, but only if there is another automobile in which to jump. My suggestion is to invest in a Diehard Platinum Portable 1150, to jump your car, as well as run both 12v and up to 400W AC, along with a USB power outlet, compressor, inflator, and light. Of course, you will also need to find a way to secure it within your jeep.

The only real pain, is that you have to recharge it 1X/month to 100%, or after each use. Though being self reliant is a real boost (no pun intended).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sockpuppet -

Rodger that. The radios (2+HT) only pull a slight until they transmit. The CB pushes 5 watts, and the ICom blasts at 50 watts. So they only pull amps from the battery when they are transmitting. Otherwise they are idle. I have tested and left them on for a day with no fail. I just start up the Jeep and let it recharge off the alternator.

But you have a good point to add a recharge system to my gear. Amazon has that DieHard model for about 130$ (used) - have you successfully used it to jump start? And how is it recharged? 110v?

Thanks for your input...
 
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Sockpuppet -

Rodger that. The radios (2+HT) only pull a slight until they transmit. The CB pushes 5 watts, and the ICom blasts at 50 watts. So they only pull amps from the battery when they are transmitting. Otherwise they are idle. I have tested and left them on for a day with no fail. I just start up the Jeep and let it recharge off the alternator.

But you have a good point to add a recharge system to my gear. Amazon has that DieHard model for about 130$ (used) - have you successfully used it to jump start? And how is it recharged? 110v?

Thanks for your input...
YW. I purchased mine from Sears when on sale for $99. I believe that they retail new for 1/3 more at KMart, Ace Hardware, and Sears.

I've used it multiple time to jump start cars, with excellent results. It also works well during a power outage, so long as you monitor your power usage to stay under 400W/4amps. The compressor work decently, though it does take a bit of time to air up a completely flat tire; after all, its not a commercial grade air compressor. I've never used the inflator.

Recharge is via a 110v AC outlet, in which a transformer is supplied. It can be 90%(?) recharged via a DC 12v, provided that you purchased the double male cord for the task.

You must recharge it to 100% after every use, and once a month. Otherwise the internal battery will develop a substandard memory. I make it a point to charge it to 100% after every use, and the 1st of every month.

Now honestly, purchasing a used battery for $25 less than new, you're taking a real chance. There is no guarantee that the battery hasn't developed a substandard memory from not being properly maintained.
 

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Sockpuppet -

Rodger that. The radios (2+HT) only pull a slight until they transmit. The CB pushes 5 watts, and the ICom blasts at 50 watts. So they only pull amps from the battery when they are transmitting. Otherwise they are idle. I have tested and left them on for a day with no fail. I just start up the Jeep and let it recharge off the alternator.

But you have a good point to add a recharge system to my gear. Amazon has that DieHard model for about 130$ (used) - have you successfully used it to jump start? And how is it recharged? 110v?

Thanks for your input...
I highly recommend one of these. Installed one on my wife's GMC after replacing the battery a couple times because of her short trips and never getting a full charge. I had been using them for several years on my two other vehicles without having to replace a battery.

Pulsetech PowerPulse - 12-Volt Battery Maintenance System
 

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The Yaesu FT-2900R can be setup to automatically turn itself off after a specified amount of time has passed and no function keys have been pressed.
 

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The Yaesu FT-2900R can be setup to automatically turn itself off after a specified amount of time has passed and no function keys have been pressed.
This is the radio I use in my Jeep Rubicon, it puts out 75 watts and with a Diamond NR22L antenna mounted on the tailgate I have no problem in my area talking 20 miles simplex to another mobile (used same radio) and 28-35 miles base /mobile. If you leave most radios on a day wont cause a problem, but don't push it, they all DO draw more power than you think just sitting there receiving. And if your radio has been sitting without engine running for a day, you will not have the voltage to get full tx power from it , unless you do start the engine.
I also have the ID5100a as a base, we never use the 70 cm but are on 2m simplex every day, with a GP9 antenna it's base at 35ft " blasting out 50 watts " as you said, I had lousy signal reports out past 18 miles, I added a
TE Systems 1406G 100 watt amp, now I am good talking to mobiles in Corpus Christi which is 35 miles from my HQ with the radio powering the amp on it's medium power setting 15 watts. That amp can also be used mobile. All the folks that are in our area simplex group use a minimum of 75 watts both mobile and base, Some will say it doesn't make a difference, but we have found it does . 90% of the group also use a diamond NMO mount super gainer antenna mounted center of roof for mobiles.
As always conditions vary, and your area terrain may be different.
 

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What you want is called a battery isolator.

It's effectively a smart switch. You will need to invest in both the isolator unit and another auxiliary battery. You connect both the aux battery and your main car battery to the isolator. The isolator determines if the vehicle is running (car battery will appear to have a voltage of 13.5v or higher coming from the alternator), or if it is off (car battery voltage will be below 12.7v).

If the car is on, power is supplied from the car battery (alternator) and it also charges the aux battery.

If the car is off, power is supplied from the aux battery and no power is drawn from the car battery.

Now, granted, it's going to take up a little more space in the car, but it's the proper setup for operating ham radio in a vehicle (that's an opinion).

See this product: http://www.westmountainradio.com/product_info.php?products_id=iso_pwr

 

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I would install a timed relay so that you can run it without the ignition on. I have one that will reset after 30 minutes without the ignition on. It cheap insurance incase I forget to turn off the radio or become distracted.
 

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What you want is called a battery isolator.
Absolutely.

First, you want the radios drawing power directly from a battery, not via any switched power. This can alleviate several issues of voltage sag and low power, as well as reduce the potential for noise.

But this leaves the potential to accidentally leave a radio on and to kill the battery...I won't go into how many times I have done that ... DOH! Even though a radio on receive typically does not draw much current, it can still kill a battery given time.

A battery isolator and an auxiliary battery means you can turn on the goodies, whatever they may be, and not worry about later not being able to start the vehicle.

I use a setup like this in most of my vehicles with radio or other electronics gear in them.

T!
 

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I would consider running the batteries in parallel..

I would also consider chucking a solar panel on top the car..

If you run multiple rigs you may want to consider mounting a few batteries within spare tire wheel well and have them on a dipswitch relay it switch between the 2
 

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I would consider running the batteries in parallel..

I would also consider chucking a solar panel on top the car..
Running a pair of batteries in parallel means it will take twice as long to kill the batteries, but you still will eventually kill them. With an isolator the radios can be put on the second battery and the radios will draw power ONLY from that second battery. Even if you kill the second battery the first battery is still untouched, and can be used to start the vehicle and charge both batteries.

T!
 

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With a wheel well full of batteries I would tend to route the power from there..

You can run an isolator all you like though you still have the same issue of killing both batteries..
Because when 1 dies the other will be to follow, until as such time you start the vehicle or something that you an trickle charge with that..

You have a good point there first token, though you should take some of your own advice before dispensing it to others, before parting with the wisdom, because whether or not you use a battery isolation switch you still face the same problem using it because you will still need to switch it over when you kill the reserve battery.. Before switching on the motors to get the alternators charging the stupid batteries again..
so you don't kill any battery you use I would make sure to install a kill switch leading to the radios to conserve power, especially when not using the radios in question..

That would be logical choice to do failing in that **** will definitely hit the fan eventually.

Good idea though totally moot point because you kill both batteries in an isolation scenario it just takes longer to do it..
 

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You can run an isolator all you like though you still have the same issue of killing both batteries..
Because when 1 dies the other will be to follow, until as such time you start the vehicle or something that you an trickle charge with that..
That isn't how battery isolators work. They are used by HAMs and also for camping RV people. The vehicle alternator charges both batteries and when the vehicle is running, the radio or other equipment connected via the isolator, runs from the alternator. When the vehicle is not running, the voltage drops back down to around 12Vdc and the isolator "isolates" the secondary battery and the load connnected to the isolator from the vehicle's main battery. The secondary battery can be run down by the radio, but the vehicle's primary battery is still fully charged. http://www.powerwerx.com/batteries-...rlEzg9rDydVIs9s-JiAx0Mshekf7BSeaEGRoCMPvw_wcB
 

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With a wheel well full of batteries I would tend to route the power from there..

You can run an isolator all you like though you still have the same issue of killing both batteries..
Because when 1 dies the other will be to follow, until as such time you start the vehicle or something that you an trickle charge with that..

You have a good point there first token, though you should take some of your own advice before dispensing it to others, before parting with the wisdom, because whether or not you use a battery isolation switch you still face the same problem using it because you will still need to switch it over when you kill the reserve battery.. Before switching on the motors to get the alternators charging the stupid batteries again..
so you don't kill any battery you use I would make sure to install a kill switch leading to the radios to conserve power, especially when not using the radios in question..

That would be logical choice to do failing in that **** will definitely hit the fan eventually.

Good idea though totally moot point because you kill both batteries in an isolation scenario it just takes longer to do it..
Errr...no, that is not how it works and it is not a moot point at all. You apparently do not understand what is being discussed when the term "battery isolator" is being used. The point of a battery isolator is the two (or more) batteries are isolated electronically from each other. By the way, a battery isolator is not the same as a switch to isolate the batteries. There are no switches to throw and nothing to remember once the system is installed.

If you have an isolator and two batteries on separate circuits of the isolator, with the radios / auxiliary gear on one battery and the vehicle electrics on the other battery you can completely kill the secondary battery without discharging the primary battery at all.

The alternator will charge both batteries anytime it is running but the radio gear / auxiliary electronics will ONLY draw energy from the secondary battery. The only way to discharge the primary battery with the radio gear is to switch the radio gear power over to the primary battery from the secondary battery, and that would defeat the purpose of having the isolator in the first place.

The idea, of course, is that if you kill the secondary battery, or it gets low in charge, with your electronics then you still have the power to fire up the vehicle motor. With the electronics NEVER connected to your primary battery you can never have a dead vehicle because of operations of the radio gear. If you kill the secondary battery and then connect the radio to the primary battery without starting the vehicle then you might as well not have had an isolator in the first place.

Here is a drawing:
https://www.emarineinc.com/products/alternators/alternator images/iso1alt3bat.jpg

This drawing shows 3 separate circuits, with 3 batteries, but it could be just 2 batteries. In this drawing the vehicle electronics would be connected to Battery 1, the radio gear would be connected to either Battery 2 or Battery 3. You can completely discharge Battery 2 and 3 and Battery 1 will maintain a full charge, ready to start the vehicle.

A low voltage protection relay, a relay that will kill power to the radio gear if battery power gets below a certain point, is a totally different animal, and there is no reason you can't use both. An isolator to make sure the prime mover / starter motor battery never dies, and a low voltage cutoff on the radio power buss to make sure you never completely kill the auxiliary battery.

T!

EDIT: Ooops, I see that while I was typing this firewallsrus was saying the same thing.
 

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I run my radios directly off the battery, and ground to the body or frame. If keeping your radio from running the battery down is a concern, as in accidently leaving the radio on, why not install a simple relay? I assume that in your direct line to the positive post of your battery, you have installed a fuse. This would be a great place to install the relay. That way, you would still be drawing power directly from the battery, but would be using an "ignition on" wire to trip the relay and close the circuit. Yes, you would have to have a key in the ignition to make it work, but trust me, any ham that comes upon that radio and wants to use it will have that relay bypassed in 3 minutes. Just a thought.
 

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By the way, make sure and leave the fuse between the battery and the relay, and also put a fuse in your wire that trips the relay... 5 amps will be plenty.
 

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What you want is called a battery isolator.

It's effectively a smart switch. You will need to invest in both the isolator unit and another auxiliary battery. You connect both the aux battery and your main car battery to the isolator. The isolator determines if the vehicle is running (car battery will appear to have a voltage of 13.5v or higher coming from the alternator), or if it is off (car battery voltage will be below 12.7v).

If the car is on, power is supplied from the car battery (alternator) and it also charges the aux battery.

If the car is off, power is supplied from the aux battery and no power is drawn from the car battery.

Now, granted, it's going to take up a little more space in the car, but it's the proper setup for operating ham radio in a vehicle (that's an opinion).

See this product: http://www.westmountainradio.com/product_info.php?products_id=iso_pwr

That is the exact setup I have in my Silverado. My Yaesu 857 lasts a long time, and I never have to worry about not being able to start the battery. Plus, if your main battery ever needs a jump for any reason, you have a spare battery right there! West Mountain Radio makes some nice equipment.
 
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