With the Lake District weekend coming up I’m gathering my equipment together to operate from the western edge of the Cleveland Hills from the back of my car as a Chaser on Day 1, Saturday. I already have 2 X 7 AH Ultramax LiFePo batteries, purchased in 2014 and still in good order. I went over to LiFePo batteries that summer from SLABs having seen what DF2GN Klaus (who some of you may recall as a prolific CW activator) was using on Lupfen DM/BW-057 in 2014 with an FT-857.
The 7 AH Ultramax batteries will run my FT-991A at the 50 watt output level no problem, TX/RX for an hour or two each. For operating from the car, which is not something I do that often, I wanted to run independently of the car battery so I have just bought an Ultramax 18 AH LiFePo 27 Hole Golf Trolley battery, with T-Bar connection. It came in a case and looks to be a quality item. I changed over the connection on the T-Bar from an Andersen Powerpole to an RC5 type that I use. I’ll be using the battery next Saturday on the G/LD weekend. Battery comes with its own protected switching charger at 14.6V / 3.0A - seen here with my favourite mug…
Young thrusters in the SOTA Community might be brave and strong enough to carry these on an activation if they wanted to have a long session. Probably still lighter than a 7 AH SLAB that I used to carry for SOTA a decade ago… Weight of the 18 AH LiFePo with a 600mm long T-Bar radio lead, is 5 lbs 3 ozs (2.35 Kgs). Photos here of the new battery with charger and one of my 7 AH Ultramax LiFePos bought in 2014…
73 de Phil
Quite a beast Phil, is there an indicator or cut out on it to let you know when it is ready to be charged again?
No. The charger has an illuminating row of LEDs that show red when charging. When the voltage within the battery reaches 14.6 volts the LEDs turn green and it’s time to disconnect. Charger is CE marked - the old certification EU system. UKCA approval came in on 01/01/2021 due to Brexit but many goods are lagging behind and still being sold are in the UK as CE marked.
PS I guess you have a rough idea how much current you have pulled based on your operating period and power level and you will probably become accustomed to seeing the voltage start to fall off after a few hours use, so that should give a good indication of when to charge.
Could you let me know how you get on with the 18AH please? Life is taking me towards car operations just now, mainly due to lack of fixed antennas.
have fun with the LD weekend.
I think you’ll be fine with that battery. I have a similar battery to run the IC7000.
I think I’ll be using LiPos for my 3 summit trip though, there’s no way that I’m opting to carry an IC7000!
That ones plainly seen SOTA service - looks like classic badge engineering like the old Austin/Morris/Vanden Plas BMC Cars. Yours probably came out of the same factory as the Ultramax ones…
More badge engineering, this is mine I use to run the FT857, it is 16Ah, I also have a 24Ah one as well. This one is about 7 years old & I’ve not noticed any decrease in performance.
Longest continuous activation? Has there been such a thing? Surely someone has spent more than 24 hours on a summit. With an FT-817 and that battery you could be there weeks
These Ultra Max batteries are brilliant I can assure you. No faffing with voltage droppers, diodes - wasted power etc), plugging things inline and out again. Recently bought the 22Ahr with a view to buying the smaller 18Ahr c/w usb (for Microsoft Surface if needed). Even the 22 Ahr is pretty light IMHO, for me anyway.
22Ahr battery lasted all afternoon portable on Gospel Pass near Hay on Wye at the weekend averaging 50 Watts o/p on PSK31, FT4, FT8 and JS8 Call. I’d recommend these batteries 100%.
Thanks for this post. I’ve just ordered exactly the same one. Hoping for it to arrive before I head to the Lake District on Monday where I’ll use it with my FT897D from the car and from our accommodation. I’ll stick to the 44aH lifepo and FT817 for the hills though
73 Al - M1FHM
I have a 22Ah LIFEPO4 battery, you do need to have a smallish meter to tell you how run down the battery is, also they say you shouldn’t charge it past 60% as this improves battery life. Mine is about 4Ib so it is no problem to fit in a rucksack. I use mine with an FT-818 and can also run a 20W amplifier if needed. Nearly forgot, you can charge these with a portable solar panel but you will need a charge controller!
Took delivery of one too…