Sunday, April 15, 2007

Show and tell this week

I was able to meet with my friend's daughter Carolyn this week. She's recently finished her degree in physics and is now working for a local company developing photovoltaic technology. I met her for lunch this week to talk about solar technology.
The first thing I did was confirm with her that the posting I'd made last year on my folding panel was accurate. I didn't have a copy of the posting, but I was able to recreate some of the numbers by scribbling on a napkin. She nodded at all the right times. {whew!} I then showed her the folding panel.
The technology she's developing is still on wafers so the CIGS technology employed by my panel was new to her. So, while I wasn't able to get any new insight into my portable panels, she was able to give me a grand tour of the kinds of things we can expect from the wafer-style cells in the near future. It should be very exciting!
I've not made any decisions on obtaining a new big panel. Certainly it would be a boon for the overnight stay for the RSGB IOTA contest in July, but it would also help a great deal for those day trips. Looking back on a previous post I had determined that my IC-7000 drew about 1.3 amps on receive. (Compare that with the 35-45 milliamps that the K2 draws!) Transmitting at 20 watts drew upwards of 5-7 amps (estimated). The extra power helps on transmit, of course (that should be about an S-unit worth of increase) but it is brutal on the batteries. Supplementing the power from the batteries with an extra 3 or 4 amps from the panels would make a tremendous difference. It would mean I could operate most of a day on Georges Island even at 20 watts output without exhausting the batteries.

Tuesday night is the local club meeting and is show-and-tell night. I haven't decided what to bring yet, but the current ideas are:
  • Buddipole beam - I've ordered enough stuff from Chris to be able to make either a 6m or 10m beam just from Buddipole parts. The trouble is: I don't think the stuff will arrive in time for the meeting.
  • Buddipole low band coil - I have one such coil (with another on order... see above). I have been able to make a nice vertical from my small Buddipole system that can be tuned for 80m, 40m, and 20m by just moving the tap on the coil and lengthening or shortening the radial(s). I assume 60m and 30m are also possible. I just didn't try that yet. If I could only bring one antenna for the RSGB IOTA contest, I would be hard pressed not to pick this system.
  • AntennaSmith - You can't resist bringing a new toy to show-and-tell. I bought it a nice Pelican case yesterday at HRO, too.
  • Masts and fishing poles - I've talked about these things at club meetings, but I'm not sure I've actually showed how light (and versatile) these things are.

I don't need to decide tonight. And, even if I bring a bunch of stuff, I don't need to show everything I bring during the meeting. I can always hold court afterwards and show off more toys!
Finally, I received a message from Carol, the owner of the beautiful home in Maine we were to be visiting this week. She's graciously offered to let us pick another week in the off-season, or apply what we've paid to another week at the on-season rate. That was very generous! As far as I'm concerned, she was under no obligation at all to refund anything given how late we cancelled. But, that's why we like staying there. These folks are great. Anyway, I think Sandy and I will just ask her if we can't reserve next year's Patriot's day week. With luck, both our work schedules, and the weather, will be more accommodating.


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