SLEEP Cross Band Repeater

SoLar Energy & Emergency Preparedness (SLEEP)

Will you be able to SLEEP when darkness comes?

SLEEP Cross Band Repeater - A Real Live Test


I deployed a Solar Powered Cross Band Repeater to solve a very real problem at an actual 24 hour event.  I signed up to provide radio communications support for a 100 mile running race in the Santa Anna Mountains.  It was the Chimera 100K and 100 mile running race.  The aid station I was assigned to was in Silverado Canyon.  I did not know what I was getting myself into until arriving at the site.

I am always on the look out for opportunities to deploy and test solar energy capabilities and Silverado canyon turned out to be a real live challenge.  When I drove to the Silverado aid station location the afternoon of the day before the race was to begin and ran initial radio tests, I could not Tx or Rx any race designated repeaters.  The next morning, I also failed to communicate to another aid station on simplex.  It was dead up and down the canyon from the aid station area.  I then decided to hike up a trail to see if I could get a signal.  About 1000 ft up the trail and 100 ft higher elevation I could get the primary Net Control repeater signal on my VX-7 HT but had difficulty transmitting clearly to Net Control.


I decided to set up a solar powered cross band repeater at that location with a good chance it would work at 50 Watts.  It was a good challenge to get the system at over 100 lbs up the rocky 10% grade trail.  I set up a log periodic antenna pointed NE toward the Heaps Peak Net Control repeater.  I set my FTM-350 to cross band with the repeater on one side and simplex 146.445 with tone squelch of 107.2 on the other.  I then was able to use my VX-7 HT on 146.445 with PL 107.2.  There was very little risk anyone but me could key up the repeater due to the tone squelch.  It was nice to just carry my VX-7 at 5 Watts and be able to reach Net Control from anywhere around the aid station deep in Silverado Canyon.


The system ran on solar power all day and then used less than half the 100 Ah solar powered battery through the night.  I ran the FTM-350 for all Net Control repeater and 146.445 communications at 50 Watts.  The system worked!


SLEEP Portable Solar Energy Station 1P1B Configuration


The Cross Band Repeater was deployed as a 1P1B configuration of the SLEEP Portable

Solar Energy Station.  See more about general capabilities and other configurations on the

SLEEP Portable Solar Energy Station page.  A 1P1B configuration was deployed because it would meet

the estimated power requirements but more importantly was a light weight configuration which

more easily be transported up the 1000 feet 10% grade rocky trail.


The 1P1B system has 1 Solar Panel and 1 Battery, 30A Digital Charge Controller, and 1500 Modified Sine Wave Inverter.  Note that the inverter was not used for the Cross Band Repeater (no need since the radio ran directly off the DC battery).  The Cross Band Repeater also required a radio and antenna, of course.  The 1P1B system provides 80W of Solar Energy and 100Ah of Battery storage. 


SLEEP Portable Solar Energy Station 1P1B Power Capabilities


The power capabilities of the 1P1B system are as follows:


1.) 200W (16A) continuous for a 4 hour event (DOD 50%, w/recovery of 2 days)

2.) 125W (10A) continuous for an 8 hour event (DOD 50%, w/recovery of 2 days)

3.) 50W (4A) for 8 hours per day indefinitely (no overnight DOD, 50Ah (50% DOD) reserve for days without sun or short term heavier usage)

3.) 18W (1.5A) continuous 24 hours per day indefinitely (overnight DOD 25%, w/recovery daily)*


*Note that this 18W capability, although a very small amount of energy, is capable of powering the following: 45 quart refrigerator running 24 hours per day at a temperature of 38 degrees, Fantastic thermostatic controlled vent fan for 2-3 hours per day, regular use of HD TV, HD Radio, DVD player, GPS unit, hand held Ham radio, LED lighting, Rechargeable NiMH batteries, a small set of 18V Lithium Ion Power Tools, etc. (the bottom line is that you can run a lot 100% off grid with Solar Energy with this 1P1B configuration).  I used this 1P1B configuration in my Xterra for a 1 year period to test this capability.


SLEEP Portable Solar Energy Station 1P1B Pricing


SLEEP 1P1B Portable Solar Energy Station**, $1,949* (current promotional price is $1,595)


*Contact SLEEP for additional discount pricing for Military, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), & Federal, State & Local Government (Police, Fire, FEMA, etc.)


**Systems include 80W Polycrystalline High Efficiency Solar Panels, Deep Cycle AGM 100Ah Batteries, Rugged Aluminum 3 Position Portable Cart, Battery Box with Lid for each Battery, 30A Digital Charge Controller mounted in Battery Box lid, 1500W Modified Sine Wave Inverter (3000W Surge and automatic shutoff and warning capability), 150A Circuit Breaker Switch mounted on each Battery Box lid, Marine Grade Panel Mount 12V DC Socket w/ATC Fuse mounted on each Battery Box lid, 20' weatherproof cables from Solar Panels to Charge controller with quick disconnects at the Solar Panels and Charge Controller, Modular 120A Powerpole cables between the Batteries and Inverter for quick configuration and disconnect, 6ft 10 Gauge power supply cable from Battery with Powerpole connectors.  Price includes CA sales tax, assembly and installation, and personal training.  Major components are covered under manufacturer warranty including Sharp Solar Panel 25 year warranty, Lifeline Battery 5 year Warranty, and 1 year warranty for the Inverter and Charge Controller.  SLEEP will cover all other components for 1 year parts and 5 years labor.


The SLEEP Portable Solar Energy Station 1P1B configuration is shown on the right when it was deployed as a Cross Band Repeater to provide clean quite energy for a 24 hour event.


Robert E. Todd, KJ6RET

11835 Carmel Mountain RD, STE 1304-120

San Diego, CA 92128

(760) 803-5170