Field Day / Technical Articles

Gearing Up for ARRL Field Day 2022 Part 3: Batteries, Generators, and Power Supplies

One of the exciting aspects of Field Day is the challenge of operating with power sources you’re not accustomed to using, including batteries, generators, and solar panels—even water-driven, bicycle-powered, or hand-cranked options that are truly in the spirit of Field Day’s original goals about honing emergency-operating skills.

If your club is really into the contesting end of Field Day, major bonus points can be had by powering your transmitting equipment from an emergency power source completely independent of the commercial power mains. You can take advantage of a multiplier of five if all your contacts are made with five watts or less using a power source other than commercial mains or motor-driven generator, such as a battery. Check out all the rules for ARRL Field Day 2022 here.


If you’re looking for an excellent Field Day battery, DX Engineering carries Deep Cycle AGM 12-Volt Batteries from Optima—a great option for any time you need long-lasting portable power. The batteries are safe for indoor use and will survive long periods of slow discharge, making them perfect for EMCOMM trailers. They offer two times longer life and 15 times the vibration resistance of standard lead-acid batteries, plus they are spill-proof. These batteries can be quickly recharged and operate over a broad temperature range. Further, their ability to recover from the deepest discharge approaches that of wet NiCds, but with less maintenance and a lower life cycle cost. Four Optima Yellow Top and three Blue Top models are available, with cranking amps ranging from 750 to 900 and reserve capacity from 120 to 155 minutes.


DX Engineering offers a great selection of portable gasoline generators ideal for powering your equipment on Field Day. Choose from a range of starting/running watts, amps, engine displacements, tank sizes, and weights. Here are a few options:

A-iPower Inverter Gasoline Generator

This portable 2,000W generator (AIP-SUA2000I) from A-iPower features an air-cooled, four-stroke engine; 1.1-gallon fuel tank; built-in inverter; two 120V outlets; recoil starting system; 65 dB operational volume (muffler is included); low-oil shutdown; 15 amp 120V circuit breaker; 1,600W maximum AC output; and 7-hour run time at 50% load. Perfect for your outdoor amateur radio adventures, the 46 lb. unit delivers clean, quiet, reliable, and convenient power when you need it.

Also available is the 4,000W, 208cc AP4000 model from A-iPower. Weighing 105 lbs., it features a 7-horsepower, air-cooled 4-stroke gasoline engine; recoil starting system; automatic voltage regulation; low-oil alert and shutdown; and caster wheels. The 5,000W, 223cc AP5000 version has a 4-gallon tank and can run up to 9 hours at 50% load.

Visit for more portable generator choices from A-iPower and other leading brands.

Power Supplies

Power supplies provide stable DC voltage for transceivers, amplifiers, and other equipment. These devices convert the power supplied by the commercial source, generator, or battery to make it usable to power your station. For example, a power supply would convert the 120V AC or 240V AC from a commercial source into the +13.8 Vdc output needed to power a transceiver. Here are a few top switching power supplies available from DX Engineering:

Samlex SEC-1223 23 Amp Desktop Switching Power Supply: This high-efficiency device (SXA-03061) provides a well-regulated DC output voltage of +13.8 Vdc. Compact and lightweight, this advanced 120 VAC switch-mode DC power supply produces clean, reliable power and is well-filtered to suppress unwanted noise and RFI. Safety features include over-current, short-circuit, and over-voltage protection. The  Samlex SEC-1223BBM 23 Amp Desktop Switching Power Supply (SXA-03064) comes with all the benefits of the SXA-03061 plus a built-in battery backup module input.

Astron 30 Amp SS Series Switching Power Supply: This highly regulated unit (ASR-SS-30-AP) is designed for moderate to high power applications. It provides a well-filtered +13.8 Vdc output for the operation of mobile or portable equipment. Features include:

  • Short-circuit and over-voltage protection
  • Automatic over-temperature shutdown
  • Output current rated at continuous service
  • Front panel USB charging ports and Powerpoles
  • Precision regulation of output voltage
  • Fully EMI filtered
  • Internal fuse access
  • Switchable 120/240 V input voltage (auto-select with power cord change)

The SS-30M-AP model comes with separate backlit DC-Volt and DC-Amp meters.

DX Engineering carries a full lineup of power supplies from Alinco, Ameritron, Astron, Daiwa, Diamond, Kenwood, MFJ, NTE, Samlex, Sangean and Yaesu. Not sure which one is right for your Field Day stations? Contact the Elmers at DX Engineering for expert guidance.

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