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is an informative, cynical and sometimes humorous look at what is happening in the world of amateur radio.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Solar Panel stolen from GB3JB.

It is the kindness and generosity of radio amateurs over the years that keeps my faith in human nature hanging by a thread. I hear people say things like "there is good in everyone" and I think they are sadly deluded. People are not born good they choose it as a path. Some of us choose good over evil because our parents had morals which they passed on and others in defiance at the immorality of our parents. The same can be said of the other path. If I break the rules it is because I choose to do so and if I do something kind I choose to do that also. Unfortunately we live in a world where those that choose to be kind are out weighed by those who are totally selfish.

One of those selfish people has stolen the Solar Panel at GB3JB.

I received this email from the team...

Hi All,

Well, in my communication of the 29th December, I stated "Unless anything unexpected happens, then GB3JB, will keep going until the end of October 2011, when the site fee is due and the insurance is also due for renewal." I must have tempted fate!

Since over the last day or so, we believe, the Solar Panel was stolen from the site. Having arrived at the site for a general inspection and battery voltage check, it very quickly became obvious that the panel was missing. The bolts securing the brackets that held the panel and its frame to the wall had been removed, and the panel and the entire mounting frame assembly have been stolen. The battery voltage, nominally 24 volts, and typically floating between 25 and 27 volts, was down at 13.5 and despite the turbine rotating at a reasonable speed and gusting to quite high speeds, it could not be determined if charging was taking place or not. GB3JB was switched off. Of primary concern are the batteries themselves, the turbine and the charge controller. The latter, which is microprocessor controlled and contains significant quantities of IC's could well have been damaged by what must have been a significant transient spark / current surge that would have occurred when the cable to the solar panel, was cut. As will be appreciated the batteries themselves could well have been damaged, having been discharged to that terminal voltage in the very cold ambient temperatures. We are not sure, at this time if the turbine has been damaged in anyway, either, as the turbine assembly contains the a.c. generation to d.c. supply rectification. I will return to the site tomorrow, with suitable equipment, and have a look at the battery condition. If the terminal volts are still low, then we really could have a problem, as this would point to the turbine having been damaged. So to the B*@&$#d's who stole the panel ....

(1) I hope that you blew-up the isolating diodes when you cut the cable, which would probably render the panel useless, and

(2) if not, I wish you a very early and very expensive disaster when you connect it to some kit, especially if you think it’s a 12v module. The theft has been reported to the Police. However, the chances of them being able to track down the culprits, is somewhat slim, at best. I'll send out a further e-mail after my visit to the site tomorrow.

Please let us know, if you hear of anyone trying to sell off what is a very expensive and physically large solar panel, cheaply.

Please feel free to forward this communication on to any individuals whom you feel would be interested in its contents.

Cheers & 73’s (Too all bar the culprits)
Dave, G3ZXX.

I wonder if the theft had anything to do with the posting of this video on the Southgate ARC Newsline, possibly giving the thieves an indication of the remoteness of the repeater, its solar panel and wind generator.

So it looks like GB3JB requires some of that uncalled for kindness. Can you help?

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