Guide to A123 battery packs

Charles Preston, a member of the Buddipole User Group email reflector has just posted links to two clear and useful guides to using the A123 Battery Packs available from Buddipole. While the Buddipole site links to documents about the batteries there’s very little practical information available about how to nurture these batteries. Similarly the Cellpro Multi4 charger documentation is more geared to the primary market – radio controlled airplane enthusiasts – so it’s great to see advice directly relevant to our intended use.

The Revolectrix CellPRO Multi4 charger
The Revolectrix CellPRO Multi4 charger

The first document is a Guide for Buddipole A123 Battery Packs and it explains how to maintain them and likely operating times for popular transceivers. The core of the document is how to charge the A123 Packs using the Multi4 charger (also available from the Buddipole site). There’s also mention of how to approach charging the Battery Packs with a solar panel and mention of the Genasun GV-4 Li 14.2 V MPPT controller. also sell a version of this charger designed for LiFePO4 batteries. Prices between US$110-119.

It’s great to have all of this information available.

The second document is Charging a Buddipole 4S2P or 4S4P A123 battery pack with a Cellpro 10s charger and focusses on the larger charger.

Three cheers for Charles Preston!

iPad date announced for Australia

News this morning from Apple that the delivery date for iPad (both WiFi & 3G) – in Australia – is 29th May.

The new Apple iPad
The new Apple iPad

I’m so looking forward to seeing how an iPad might fit into a portable QRP operation. Or even a remote one. I’m also hoping that Apple will retain enough of open protocols so that the device does not simply become an expensive personal front end to whatever shops they wish to set up, like the sadly not ready for primetime Kindle.

Lack of a camera on the iPad is odd – given the next iPhone will actually have two – one in the front as well as the existing one on the back. Bluetooth keyboard sounds like it could be fun. I also imagine that ham radio apps to track satellites (ProSat) and monitor solar activity (Space Wx, 3D Sun etc) should look amazing. A work colleague showed me his new Android phone with a graphically brilliant astronomy application that you could use to locate, stars, planets and constellations easily. It felt like visual velvet and the images were much richer than I’ve seen so far on the iPhone.

Even a straighforward app to display bandplans should be able to be made to look clear and brilliant and enable you to get different views depending on mode, QTH or licence class.

CW and the missing link

Animation showing how the Palm mini paddle can stow away - perfect for portable operation.
How the Palm mini paddle can stow away – perfect for portable operation.

I’ve been keen on finding out more about the Palm mini paddle. I like the look – and the size – of the paddle. I haven’t worked out yet if there’s a way to strap it onto your leg, but it certainly doesn’t seem to require too much in the way of real estate.
I also like the design style of this line including the modular keyer, the “code cube”.
Most impressive of all is the Infra Red link technology they’ve incorporated into the line. It looks like you can purchase an IR enabled Code Cube to plug into an existing Mini Paddle so you can link up via an IR receiver connected to your transceiver, or even a tiny sensor within the txrx – up to 5 metres away.
Marshall Emm’s Morse Express seems to be the most accessible distributor. The site hosts extensive info including the pdf manuals, which can also be found on the German site.