Generators for field day

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

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  1. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't know how things are there, Gasoline is expensive here in the US. I know that a 1KW Honda generator is far more fuel efficient than running say, a Honda Civic for field day. The Civic is rated at 117 KW, which, to say the least, is overkill. An 1800 watt Honda generator will run for 16 hours, at 900 watts, on less than a gallon of gasoline. At 400 watts, it will run for 17 hours on the same amount of fuel. That means it will run for all of field day, and then some, for less than 6 dollars worth of fuel.

    I can tell you my pickup truck would cost a small fortune to run that long.
  2. US7IGN

    US7IGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here one liter costs one dollar. I don't consider 10-15 dollars for fuel together with the road too expensive to go to the field once a month. Food for this time will cost the same ... 1KW Honda generator cost here $1100...
  3. W2JKT

    W2JKT Ham Member QRZ Page

    We just came out with a new model that has an electric start, too...

    And don't forget the parallel cable!

    I get these for a song on my employee purchase deal so I have several of them. They work great, though I really wish they would start putting in a fuel cutoff so you can run the carb dry before storing them.
    K8XG, N2EY and KA4DPO like this.
  4. N1IPU

    N1IPU Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Some FBOs will refuse to sell 100ll due to regulations so if you ever get hung up tell them your a home builder and want to test your Rotax.
    K8XG, WN1MB, N2EY and 1 other person like this.
  5. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    That is nice, and the price is excellent.
  6. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've got a several small inverter generators in the 2o00 watt range. Two "cheap" ones, Harbor Freight Predator 2000, and Champion Power Equipment 2000 from Tractor Supply. And an older Honeywell 2000i that was "expensive" at the time.

    The Honeywell puts out so much RFI it's utterly ridiculous crazy. The Champion and Harbor Freight are much more RF-quiet, as well as acoustically much quieter and more fuel efficient than the Honeywell. I could use either of those for Field Day I think, although when I do field day on my own, I do it QRP on battery power.

    The Champion and HF both weight about half as much as the older Honeywell, and they always start up on the first pull. The Honeywell takes 30 or more pulls to get it going, even with the fuel tank topped off to the max (it relies basically on gravity feed from the top of the tank to get enough fuel to the carburator to start, and there is no primer). Instead I just pull the air filter and spray some carburator cleaner into the bowl then it starts up right away. A bit of a nuisance, but a lot easier on me than pulling that darn starter 30 times. And once started, it works fine.

    I did some calculations and figured that under most likely scenarios, I'm better off in terms of total fuel efficiency with several smaller inverter generators versus one large one. Plus it gives some redundancy in most scenarios.

    I've read that the Harbor Freight and Champion generators are considered "cheap junk", so maybe they wont last as long as a more expensive generator. I don't know. I've had these a couple of years so far and run them periodically, and take care of them. So far so good.

    Since we had that prolonged gasoline shortage a few weeks back, I've been considering getting a dual-fuel generator and a couple of 20 lb propane tanks as a backup in the unlikely event I get caught short on gas.
    K8XG and N2EY like this.
  7. W9RAC

    W9RAC Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Honda eu2000/2200 are great units for sure. That is the surge rating, 1800 is output rating. 58 dB very quite. 73 Rich
    N1VAU likes this.
  8. K6WI

    K6WI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Spend some time watching these fuel treatment videos. He's 18 months into it and you might be surprised to see the results so far. Yeah he's goofy, but the info is good and pertinent.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2021
  9. K8XG

    K8XG XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    ^ I will Watch it but what I can tell you is that I was able to get Gas to last 2-3 years with Lucas treatments for lawn mower and big Honeywell Gennie ; I would stop at the 2 year point for more finicky engines like in the inverters and my car, HI HI
  10. AC0GT

    AC0GT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Home builder? You mean someone that builds homes? Oh, you mean someone that builds at home. As in build an airplane at home.

    Rotax? Had to look that up. A popular brand of engines for aircraft and boats.

    FBO? Had to look that up too. Fixed base operator. A provider of airport services.

    Regulations? I assume you mean prohibitions on using avgas in over the road vehicles.

    100LL fuel is low lead, as in lead was added where the fuel for automobiles have no lead. There's no ethanol but it has lead. Enough lead to be a concern? Quite possibly not. I thought this an interesting option and thought I'd look what local airports charge for avgas. Avgas runs about 20% more than mogas, as in "motor gas", as in for over the road use. The Marion airport near me sells mogas too, along with 100LL and Jet-A. I don't know for sure but given the clients they serve I suspect that the mogas they sell is lacking in ethanol like the 100LL avgas. Pilots looking to save on fuel costs will have aircraft certified for mogas. It's cheaper but my understanding is it lacks the energy density of 100LL, therefore there's slight loss of power and range. Could burning 100LL mean a longer running time for a generator? That would be an interesting experiment to run. Mogas at an airport being taxed like any other fuel for over the road use there should not be any resistance from the FBO to selling that to anyone. That is unless they find people looking for ethanol free mogas for a generator an inconvenience.

    Many filling stations around Iowa do not sell anything but ethanol blended gasoline. I don't like ethanol fuel for many reasons, being hard on small engines is one reason. There's also economic, environmental, and therefore political concerns I have that I won't go into here. I recall all the BP stations lacked ethanol free gas, but Casey's stations would all have an ethanol free option.

    Going to an airport to find ethanol free gasoline is an idea, quite possibly a very good idea. I'm just thinking that it may not be necessary to pay the premium for 100LL avgas there. Marinas that sell fuel for boats are likely to offer ethanol free gasoline too. A quick check of the website for the marina at the Coralville Lake shows they sell 87 octane non-ethanol blend gasoline If the marina operators push back on you pumping fuel into a jerrycan instead of a boat then say you are home builder and want to test your Rotax. ;)

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