Generators for field day

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KB1AWM, Jun 5, 2021.

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  1. KB1AWM

    KB1AWM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I want to get a generator for field day. We have been wanting to get a small one for some time. I'm thinking of getting either a Westinghouse or Yamaha inverter generator. Has anyone used either of these? I'm concerned about the sine wave output not being particularly clean, and thus causing noise in radios. Thoughts?
    KA4DPO likes this.
  2. W2JKT

    W2JKT Ham Member QRZ Page

    What you're going to have is a ton of ignition noise getting into everything. Inverters are fine but you'll want to install a GOOD common mode choke in line with the AC from the generator.
    NN4RH, N3AWS and K0UO like this.
  3. KB1AWM

    KB1AWM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

  4. K8XG

    K8XG XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Honda or Ryobi inverters;
    KX4O and KU3X like this.
  5. KD0UFC

    KD0UFC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'd say if you're mechanically inclined, build your own. Take an automotive alternator, and belt drive it off of a harbor freight chonda. I'd say use a 4" V-belt pulley on the engine, and a 1" V-belt pulley on the alternator. If you're feeling ambitious, weld a timing belt pulley to the 1" V-belt pulley, so that you can add additional alternators. A remanufactured alternator with a 50amp output can be had for under $50. Automotive alternators have rectifiers built in, so no need to build one, but they do need to have their fields excited. This is done by the so-called voltage regulator. These aren't terribly expensive either. The bulk of the homebrew electronics would be for filtering. Such a setup would be advantageous over a normal generator for several reasons. First, the obvious, it would provide a large amount of 12V DC power. Second, since the output would be filtered DC, there's no need for the engine to spin at a constant speed to maintain a given frequency, enabling quieter operation, lower fuel consumption, and decreased wear and tear. Finally, the use of linear electronics would reduce the amount of electronic noise.
    A breakdown of estimated costs:
    Engine: $130
    Alternator: $45
    Power transmission (pulleys, belts, etc.) $50-$75
    Electronics: $75
    N8ZL and K8XG like this.
  6. N5PAR

    N5PAR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Have you ever actually built one of these?
    W9WQA, KI5WW, N2EY and 2 others like this.
  7. KD0UFC

    KD0UFC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not yet. On the to-do list. Mechanically, it should be pretty easy. Seems to me the hardest part would be the output filtering.
  8. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    You can really clean them up with a filter choke in series with the output.

    A low pass filter will sign the output for you. You can also use these if you don't want to build your own. 854-03/003 - Qualtek Electronics - EMI/RFI Filter | Galco Industrial Electronics
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2021
    K8XG and N3AWS like this.
  9. US7IGN

    US7IGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you will not be using an amplifier, then you may not need an generator at all. You will go to field by car, and it already has a generator. For several years I have been successfully using in various tests on fields my car power. I start the engine for half an hour and give CQ, then I go S&P for half an hour. Gasoline consumption is low, but in summer the climate control provides additional coolness, and in winter it is warm. Well, the car is a full-fledged shack that protects against insects, rain, etc.

    WA8FOZ, KC3PBI, KX4O and 4 others like this.
  10. KC3PBI

    KC3PBI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yamaha still builds a lot of their own stuff. Westinghouse licenses their name & trademark to anyone with the cash.
    K5PHW likes this.

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