Once you start accumulating more than a couple of pieces of radio equipment, the questions around power supply quickly comes up. Radios can quite easily draw in excess of 15 Amps @ 13.8 Volts depending on the model. My two main HF rigs have a specification of 23.8 Amps and 18 Amps respectively. This is generally more than your standard off-the-shelf supply.
For domestic consumption, linear type supplies (Transformers) are only really viable up to 25-30amps. After that the cost starts going up significantly, as does the weight of the unit. Thankfully switch-mode technology seems to have come a long way in recent years, which resulted in me purchasing a 40 Amp power supply, and no noticeable RF QRM.
With power sorted out, the next thing to deal with is how to get the power from the supply to the devices. With a 40 Amp supply, you can power a whole lot of things, but I quickly discovered the posts only allowed me to connect 2 devices after I attached lugs to the leads. Also, lugs generally are not that portable going across different power supplies – what works on my QTH setup will not work in my car, or at someone else’s house. There had to be a better way.
I’d heard a lot about Anderson power pole connectors in my research of ways to connect up my devices, and with many people saying positive things to me about them. What really sealed the deal for me though was the kit created by the Waverley Amateur Radio Society that was a fused distribution box allowing me to connect up to 6 devices to one unit (pictured).
There was a wait for all the components to arrive – The WARS kit, 20 pairs of connectors and also the crimping die from eBay. Watching some of the videos suggested that crimping was better for the connector than soldering, so that is what I did.
It took me around 3 hours to put together the distribution box – largely hampered by an inadequate workspace, and then adding the connectors to the leads. tested to make sure everything was working, and then pressed into service. Works a treat.
I will be making up some additional pigtail leads which will go into the car. This means I should be able to pick up my mobile HF rig and distribution box, and just connect them into the existing leads I have in the car.
All in all, I think this is a good way to deliver power with common connectors to make for a portable setup.
I’d be interested to know what other do for power distribution! Do you use busbars? lugs? just poke a wire in? please leave comments below 🙂