27 August 2007

Power Supply

The power supply for the Icom IC-735 is very heavy, probably close to 30 or 35 pounds. I deemed that way to heavy if I want to take, say.. shoes or clothing with me. Thus, I put out some emails to folks in the local ham community for information and advice.

I had several suggestions from several sources including Bob, K0NR. All of them were reasonable, but I settled on the one below. Wes (K0HBZ) responded with a type of supply. He sent me back an email with the following notes:

"There's only ONE power supply to have -- Alinco DM-330MV -- $149. They're incredible, I have two (actually three but a lightning strike damaged one of them) and have been using them for several years. I run my backup HF station (Yaesu FT-847) and all other 12vdc radios and equipment in my shack off it. 30A continuous, 33A peak."

Armed with that information I started searching for the power supply on the internet, found one at Ham Radio Outlet for $129.00. I ordered it and it arrived the very next evening, and I tested it on my rig that evening, made several contacts, received good reports and deemed it more than adequate.

The output on the back consists of two heavy duty terminal connections with knurled banana-plug type connectors. I built a cable and connector for the IC-735 to the power supply. This particular system can supply 32 amps, is a switching supply so is significantly lighter than a supply with a transformer. There are, as you can see, other outputs on the front for other devices.

One of our main concerns is taking communications equipment into Jamaica. I've been assured by Jamaica's Spectrum Management Authority, and some local Jamaican Amateurs we should have no problems. Obviously our licenses will accompany us, as well as copies in the equipment.

The second major concern is carrying the gear with us. We have pretty much decided on hard-sided luggage with wheels, so that we can still take one bag each, plus our carry on backpacks. I've read all sorts of things about putting equipment into luggage, and then worrying about it. However, I made several hundred trips from Washington, DC when I worked for the White House Communications Agency, carrying (not counting my OWN bag) on Vice Presidential trips, up to 25 separate cases, boxes, suitcases and other transports, at one trip. I never ONCE lost a piece of luggage or equipment. It always seemed to arrive, occasionally late, but it got there. So, I'm going to "trust" the airlines to do a good job and get our stuff there.

Unlike many other folks who ship equipment in early, we don't have that luxury, nor ability and it would most likely cost us even more money than just carrying it in. Between our two bags, we ought to be able to shift our weight around enough so that neither bag is overly heavy and the equipment will be divided up between us. This should reduce the weight for both of us, allow us to carry enough clothing and our normal trip stuff with us and let us still get our equipment there, and back home again.

The other thing is JoAnne has to drag her own bag through the airport once we collect things from Customs and I don't want her struggling with extra weight. I don't mind being a little heavier on the Bag-Side, but, don't really want to take 75 pounds in one bag. No clothes then!

Sometime soon, I'll weigh the whole shebang (once the antenna is completed) and see what the total weight, plus coax will be, then work out the clothing requirements last.

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