Most Amateur Radio Operators pride themselves on “Being Prepared” since Amateur Radio in itself is an emergency backup for most forms of communications. It’s always a good idea to have a form of emergency power for communication devices. Spare batteries for AM/FM radio’s, weather radio’s, chargers and portable batteries for cell phones, and your trusty two way radio. It’s also a great idea to TEST those batteries. Case in point, tonight I decided to call my nightly net on portable, emergency power. I used a handheld radio, hooked to an external antenna. It provided excellent coverage and served well to call the net. However, once the net was over, I noticed that my low battery indicator was already flashing. The HT was fully charged before the net, but now was showing low battery? The answer is, batteries do not last forever! My HT is about 3 years old, and so is the battery. While it would last longer on short transmissions, at a lower power output, for an emergency that required the full 5 watt output and after 30 mins of use, it didn’t last as long as it use to.
We’re entering the heart of winter time here in the Carolina’s, that means the chance for snow/ice and the potential for prolonged power outages. Be sure to check your emergency power options and as the Boy Scouts motto says, Be Prepared!