Are you prepared for your next power outage?

As amateur radio operators, we always have disaster and emergency preparedness on our minds. I want to do a series on disaster prep and how you can be prepared. Today we will talk about power.

Can you imagine the world today without power? I can't. Everything from my water supply, to the septic system, to my car depends on electric power. Your needs may be similar. If we have a major event like a hurricane, earthquake, wildfire or similar, power is likely one of the first things to go. In the old days, it was simple - get a supply of disposable batteries and battery powered flashlights to ride it out until power comes back. Or if you had the money, get a generator. If you really had a lot of money, get a whole house generator that runs on natural gas or propane.

Today, we have even more options. Within the past 10 years or so, I have seen a number of options for backup and portable power that put the fuel powered generator on the back burner. To be clear, I don't see these replacing gas generators in all circumstances, but they work well in many places and can even work where generators cannot.  Ecoflow, Jackery, Zendure, Anker and others have developed advanced battery power stations to the point where they can cover small outages or even extended ones. They can provide 120 volt power Some of these units can even connect to your home's wiring and power devices in your home. 

These battery power stations are quiet, and do not produce toxic fumes such as Carbon Monoxide. This makes them perfect for use in apartments and condos, which typically are not conducive to noisy fossil fuel powered generators. 

They can also be charged via portable solar panels, which can not only give you charging during an emergency, but can even be used to cut part of your power bill during normal times. Power stations also usually have DC power ports so you can directly charge phones, tablets or even laptops without having to use an AC adapter.

How do you choose? There are several sites that can help you choose, but one of the better sites I have seen has been WattBuild. This site has a suite of tools that can help you choose the right power station and solution for your needs. 

One useful feature I have seen is the ability to check solar panels that you own or are looking to buy to match them to your portable power station. 

You can take into account the specifications of your panels and also the local ambient temperatures so you can see if panels will work in your location. 

Check out the site at

I will be looking at other preparation resources in the future, and if you have anything else you'd like to add to the list, please leave a comment below!


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