13 Oct 2009

Free power QRPp transceiver or beacon?

The idea of powering a low power receiver, or even a transceiver or QRPp beacon, from free, otherwise wasted, RF energy that is all around us appeals to me. A few people have been toying with this idea and there are even some commercial ICs likely to appear which "harvest" energy from stray RF and even vibrations. The circuit shown here is from the excellent site by KE3IJ (R.Andersen) and shows how to use 50 or 60Hz mains "fog" and stray RF to power a simple receiver. See http://www.tricountyi.net/~randerse/nopower.htm .

See also Ben Tongue's crystal set pages for a circuit using a supercap to store harvested energy which is then used to power a micropower op-amp.

A "harvester" QRPp transceiver or beacon which derives its energy from stray RF, storing this is in a supercap and allowing brief periods of transmission at very low power is worth developing I think. I have not seen such "harvesting" circuits used to power a transceiver or beacon before but for a uW level beacon this should be feasible.

1 comment:

g4ilo said...

If too many people took up this idea then the bands surely would be quiet. :) Ever since I was first interested in radio as a kid with my first germanium diode crystal set I used to wonder whether every receiver made the signal a bit weaker in all of the others, because the total power received by all the antennas could never exceed the power radiated by the transmitter. I never have figured it out...