I recently passed my Radio Amateur License Exam here in Canada. For my first radio I wanted something easily portable that I could take with me any where. I purchased a Yaesu VX8-DR handheld transceiver or HT for short.
The battery life of the standard pack (1100mAh 7.4V) and high capacity pack (1800mAh 7.4V) are commendable at about 4-6Hrs, well until you press the PTT and start chatting. At 5W power output, they get used up pretty quickly.
Another factor in this is that you cannot transmit while plugged in with the supplied charger. It just doesn’t put out enough current. So the what’s the answer? I have a cupboard full of RC LiPo at 11.1V and 14.8V nominal ranging from 2200mAh, 5200mAh and more. That should do the trick nicely.
NOTE: I should mention I haven’t tried the 4S (14,8V,16.8Vmax) batteries yet. VX8-DR specs say 12Vdc is ok. Car batteries are 13.8V when charging, so not sure if the regulator can take the higher voltage of the 4S.
I simply cut the cable of the supplied charger, and solder a XT60 connector inline. Now I can connect any of my RC LiPo batteries and save the power in the built-in battery packs when i need to go truly mobile. The RC batteries can also charge the internal battery, which is great. Maybe i need to enter some QRP contests 😉
The other benefit, as I live in a earthquake zone, that in an emergency, I should be able to run the radio for at least 72Hrs with no need of a recharge… awesome.