Unexpected power outage
While working on some websites while monitoring nets on HF, I experienced an unexpected power outage. I heard a loud pop from a transformer outdoors and lost my AC power at 10:40 a.m. Since all my computers, WI-FI router and radio were connected to APC Battery Backup power supplies, they continued to work normally and I was able to shut down the computers in an orderly fashion. The only disruption was that for some reason I lost the COM port connection between the Win4IcomSuite software on one computer and the IC-7300 radio. Not sure why that happened.
Responding to power outage
I continued monitoring the net I was on with the HF radio powered by the APC battery backup battery for 20 minutes. Since power had not been restored by 11:00 a.m., I decided to switch to my emergency battery backup power supply. After turning off the MFJ-4035MV 12V power supply, it was a simple task to unplug the Anderson powerpole connecting my radio from the MFJ-1128 DC Power Outlet and connecting it to a ElectroResales-Rig-Runner-Outrigger12-Volt-DC-Fused-Power-Pole-Panel which I connected to a CSB GP1272F2, 12 Volt/7.2 Amp Hour Sealed Lead Acid Battery.
Battery backup power was turned on in just about about a minute. I was able to see my battery voltage at 12.58V using an inline JZCreater Watt Meter Power Analyzer between battery and Rig Runner. The IC-7300 was turned back on and I was listening again to the net pulling about .87A from the battery. I reduced the power on the radio to 75W and logged in to a couple more nets. Power draw on transmission was between 4.07A and 8.08A.
Two hours later, my AC power was restored and I switched back from the backup battery to the AC power supply. The backup battery voltage had dropped to 12.29V after 2 hours of operation, with plenty of power to continue operating if necessary.
It was good to practice my emergency backup power procedure in a real-world scenario and feel confident it will be helpful again in the future, especially since we’re going into the severe weather time in Kansas. I’m still planning on adding a larger capacity battery for my base station as my 7.2 Amp Hour batteries are really designed for portable remote operation.
I discovered as I was disconnecting from the battery backup there was an intermittent short in the Anderson powerpole connector between the radio and power analyzer. Upon closer inspection, I found one contact pin was not fully seated inside the housing causing the problem. This was a good reminder to carefully check the connections when assembling powerpoles. When inserting the contacts into the housing you should hear a click. When they are inserted fully you should notice that the contact and it’s wire “floats” slightly inside it’s housing. If it feels tight it may not be snapped in fully. Tug slightly on the assembled connector to make sure the contacts are locked in place.