Solar-Powered HF : 10AM-11AM : Lonestar II & III

 Lewis Thompson W5IFQsolarwx

The design and construction of an SSB and digital mode, 100 watt HF station powered only by solar power will be discussed.


The station consisted of an ICOM IC-7100, SGC SG-235 auto tuner, DR-7400 Pactor modem, a Panasonic laptop and the occasional use of an SG-500, 500 watt amplifier. A 10% transmit to receive duty cycle was used.


The solar power supply consisted of two 100 watt Monocrystalline panels, 240 AH of batteries and an MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) controller.


The West Mountain Radio, Epic PowerGate, and the Renogy Rover MPPT controllers were successfully tested with each having different advantages.


The station was operated continuously for 7 days with fully charged batteries at the end of the last day.



 Lewis Thompson W5IFQ

W5IFQLewis Thompson is a Senior Engineering Scientist (mostly retired) for Applied Research Laboratories, University of Texas at Austin. During his 44 years of employment, he worked the areas of underwater acoustics, and radio communications. His has been a licensed amateur radio operator since 1961 and is now licensed Extra Class. He held amateur radio leadership positions including President of the Austin Amateur Radio Club, RACES District Radio Operator (DRO-62) and Assistant Emergency Coordinator for TCARES. He joined Texas Army MARS in 2006 and served as State MARS Director from 2009 to 2011.   He is a Warrant Officer 1 in the MARS Detachment of the Texas State Guard and currently is the Special Consultant to the Texas Military Forces for Texas Army MARS.