After two shippers had accepted the job and then – big surprise! – realized this was a hazmat load (I mean, really, do I need to tell people who do this for a living that used batteries are hazmat!?) and declined to transport it, one professional operator stepped up to bat and got ‘er done.

C&D MCT II 5000-AH cells

C&D MCT II 5000-AH cells

There are 24 of them. Each weighs 700 pounds. Altogether they weigh 8.5 tons. I don’t know how many bathtubs full of sulfuric acid they contain. By the time they’re ready for retirement, I may be able to recoup my investment just from the lead.

When new, the array had a rated charge capacity of over 200kWH. They used to belong to those mad scientists, Jim Mason and crew, at the legendary Shipyard / All-Power-Labs in Berkeley. Why they got rid of them? TOO HEAVY. For them, that’s saying something. Besides, they (finally) are enjoying grid power these days, so all the PV and battery power is a tad less sexy for them than it used to be. While in use there, the batteries kept a three-phase machine shop running. Before the Shipyard, they are presumed to have been installed as a telecom UPS and were maintained and fussed over accordingly. Their duty cycle is 20 years.

This is the third and final component of a grand power conjunction: these batteries; an Outback VFX-3648 inverter; and the ~4kW of photovoltaic panels recently rescued from destruction and donated to the East Jesus power grid, bringing the solar capacity up to over 6kW. I may need to add a much larger generator than I have now, just to equalize the batteries. We’ll see. First, though, I have some reading to do. The IEEE has specifications on the care and feeding of these behemoths, and I know I’m going to have to do things right or possibly suffer very messy, explosive, corrosive consequences. Until then, I don’t even have the guts to unwrap them.

Meanwhile, KI6RRX is now equipped with a mobile/base VHF/UHF rig – very pleased with the Kenwood TM-D170 and the Diamond X300A (about 30′ up.) I’ve been enjoying lots of QSO with other PAPA members, picking up APRS beacons from as far away as Holbrook, AZ and hearing a lot of activity on 2m and 440 that I simply haven’t jumped into yet. Cross-banding is now possible with the Yaesu VX-8R HT – I can talk to PAPA while bathing with carneys and nudists at the hot spring, using the base station as a repeater. Kinda cool.

Finally, in other, completely unrelated news, I have been approached by a museum that wishes to acquire my collection of paintings and drawings by convicted serial killer John Wayne Gacy, and email scammers tried to convince me that the UN Foundation had awarded me $500,000, presumably for outstandingly surrealistic lifestyle that may better the world and all humanity…