Banner County Repeater Solar Project

On December 2019 Larry – KL7MH, Rick – W0SSB, Chris – KA0INA, and Steve – N6RSH went to the Banner County repeater site to remove all of the equipment for repair and upgrades. This is in preparation to convert the site to total Solar Power. When completed the 147.00- repeater and the APRS digipeater will be powered by Solar Power only.

L-R: Rick – W0SSB, Larry – KL7MH, Chris – KA0INA (Steve – N6RSH taking photos)
Repeater Building
Removing all repeater equipment for upgrades.
Looking up the Tower
Base of tower with feed lines entering building

On October 3 2020 a crew from the club went up to the site to prepare for the panel installation. This involved digging the hole for the support mast and putting the 7’8″ pipe in and cementing it in. The 2′ hole left the pipe at 5’6″ or so. Also 3 vents were put in around the building. The crew consisted of Larry – KL7MH, Dave – KD0ZXH, Kurt – KW0P, Chris – KA0INA, George – N7JJY, Rick – W0SSB and Steve – N6RSH.

Steve – N6RSH cutting the weeds for vehicle parking safety
Larry – KL7MH cutting down the weeds for the support pipe.
Getting ready to dig. Fortunately Chris – KA0INA brought a gas powered auger (not in picture).
Dave – KD0ZXH next to the finished product. Pipe is in and cemented.
One of the vents. 3 were installed this time but 2 more may be added later.
(l-r) Larry – KL7MH, George – N7JJY (owns the digipeater), Kurt – KW0P, Dave – KD0ZXH, Rick – W0SSB, and Chris – KA0INA. (Steve – N6RSH taking the picture)

On October 10, 2020 a crew of us returned to the repeater site with the panels and we put them on the pole. It actually wasn’t that hard to lift them up. We set the angle and bolted everything down tight. Next trips will see the installation of the connection boxes and wiring everything in. Then it will be ready for the repeater, link radios and George – N7JJY’s APRS digipeater.

The panels are up! The shade helps…
This is looking north. The angle is set for a compromise between summer and winter maximums .
The panels will provide some shade which will help cool the hut. We noticed a difference after the panels went up.
I (Steve – N6RSH) wrote the date we poured the cement… 😉
Our crew (l-r): Dave – KD0ZXH, Larry – KL7MH, Rick – W0SSB, Don – KF7BR, and Chris – KA0INA. (Steve – N8RSH behind camera)

October 20 & 21 2020 Larry – KL7MH and Steve – N6RSH went down to the Banner County repeater site to complete the electrical connections of the solar panels to the batteries. Larry built a nice panel to make all connections easier as well as install a vent tube for the battery box. As you can see from the photos, all 4 batteries are fused on the positive side. After everything was connected, the switch was thrown outside and the panels started charging the batteries! After about an hour they were topped up and the Charge Controller shut off per specifications. All that is left is to put the repeaters in.

Installation complete! Here you can see the panels, junction box on post, battery box vent tube and the cutoff switch.
All connections complete! l-r: Charge controller (cover off during testing), 4 battery fuses on positive side, pos/neg bus bars.
Battery box vent tube outside. This vents any dangerous hydrogen gas buildup.
Vent tube from box to outside
Hard to see, but this indicates charge complete and the controller shut off at voltage float level of 13.5 v. Status indicator led on left shows “Green Solid”.
We are now on 100% Solar Power!!!