Articles for Amateur Radio Newsletters aimed at new hams
 written by Gerry Crenshaw, WD4BIS, Rowlett, Texas



NHP #23: Evolving DC Connector Power Standards

We need a standard DC connector: we need radios that can be interchanged easily from one power supply or battery to another. Whether in fun times such as at field day or in more tense situations during a disaster situation, being able to quickly and easily switch to a new battery is a necessity. If you have a dead battery, standardized connectors mean that anyone can hand you a battery so you can continue.

But, standards change. What is a standard? If one takes a look at the standards written by the various electronics organizations such as EIA or TIA you will find that it is not a static unchanging document. You do not write it, publish it and forget about it. Rather it is a living thing that changes as technologies change. Many of them go through years of evolution. As our mobile radios have changed and evolved our need for connector with higher current capabilities have also changed as power outputs have increased from ten watts to outputs with fifty watts or more.

The standard for DC connectors was the two-pin Molex connector as recommended by the ARRL field service. While this ARRL standard still exists, the requirements for Dallas RACES changed at the beginning of 2005. Once again standards have evolved and a new standard more fitting our needs has emerged.

And, even if you’re not in RACES, if you at all participate in public service events or will make yourself available if there’s a public need, being standardized to match the Dallas area RACES units allows you to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. The need for skilled communicators will always be there.

The new standard recommended by the Dallas RACES council to meet our increased power requirements in the Dallas area is the Anderson Power Pole connector. These connectors have the advantage of coming in color-coded shells (Red for +13.8Vdc and Black for ground) and the contacts for the shells come in ratings of 15, 30 or 45 amps depending on the wire size you use. The shells interlock to form one connector. The connectors are available locally at Packaged Industrial Power . Powerwerx provides connectors kits prepackaged in bags of 10 to 250 and includes roll pins, shells and contacts via the Internet.

I will be the first to admit that I was resistant to the change. Modifying all my equipment to the new standard was a large project. While the standard was in the transitional stage I made adapters so I could use either type of connector. As equipment was worked on or replaced (as in the case of older batteries) the new connector was added. If you decide not to modify equipment the new connector, you should have in your possession one adapter that will adapt your equipment to the new standard.

The value of the standard DC will never change. We have seen its value time after time in things as small as traffic nets and 4 th of July celebrations to Weather nets and Tornado warnings. In the event of an emergency be able to use your equipment and skills to aid in whatever relief efforts are needed!

Best Regards

Gerry WD4BIS

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Copyright 2005 Gerald Crenshaw WD4BIS. All rights are reserved.

Permission in advance is granted to those who use this for non-profit Amateur Radio club newsletters as long as it is used unmodified including this copyright notice and that notice is given to the author via email ( In addition, please forward a copy of any newsletter this appears in to: Gerry Crenshaw WD4BIS, c/o GARC, 1027B W. Austin St, Garland, TX, 75040

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