POWER SUPPLIES, THE HEART OF YOUR RADIO ROOM, AND MY RECOMMENDATIONS.

Marius Lubbe ZS1ML

Let me invite you into my exciting world of ham radio, where the heart of the operation lies in the humble 12-volt power supply. This little powerhouse has been a game-changer in radio rooms since the mid-20th century, and I’m thrilled to share with you a small peek into its journey, the challenges it has faced, and the innovative solutions that have been developed over time.

Early on, ham radios were powered by a hodgepodge of sources, from batteries to home electricity. However, the quest for a reliable and stable power source led us to the 12-volt power supply. Its compatibility with car batteries, which were frequently used during field operations and emergencies, made it a popular choice. Over time, the 12-volt power supply became the standard for ham radios, striking the perfect balance between power, safety, and convenience.

But, as with all good things, the 12-volt power supply has had its fair share of challenges. Voltage fluctuation, which can lead to inconsistent radio performance, is a common issue. Overheating, especially with older or poorly designed power supplies, can shorten the lifespan of the power supply and potentially damage the radio equipment. And then there’s the issue of noise interference from the power supply, which can affect the clarity of the radio transmission.

But fear not, for we have found several solutions to these issues. Voltage regulators and stabilizers are now commonly used to ensure a consistent power output. To combat overheating, many modern power supplies come with built-in cooling systems and are made from materials that can effectively dissipate heat. And to tackle noise interference, power supplies with noise offset controls or those designed with noise-reducing technology can help maintain clear radio transmissions.

Now, let me share with you my experiences with two particular power supplies that I’ve had the pleasure of owning and extensively using – the MFJ-4230MPF and MFJ-4230DMP. I can recommend both of these units for beginners and established users as being of good quality, construction and design, with up-to-date features.

The MFJ-4230MPF is a compact switching power supply that can adjust between 110 and 220VAC. It’s similar to the MFJ-4230MVP model, but it comes with PowerPoles installed on the front panel. I’ve found it to be incredibly stable – it doesn’t fluctuate in voltage and is quiet when the fan kicks in. If I ever needed an additional power supply, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another one.

The MFJ-4230DMP, like the MFJ-4230MPF, is a compact switching power supply. However, it comes with a digital LCD display that simultaneously shows amps and voltage on a backlit screen. PowerPoles are located on the back of the unit. It’s a neat little device that’s been well-received by users for its stability and quiet operation.

The MFJ-4230DMP is a compact switching power supply from MFJ Enterprises. The MFJ-4230DMP has a digital LCD display that shows Amps and Voltage simultaneously on a backlit screen and has Power Poles ® on the back. There is also a video review of the MFJ-4230DMP by TheSmokinApe on YouTube, https://bit.ly/43gdFGY where he takes a quick look at the power supply.

It’s important to note that buyers outside the USA must make sure to select the correct power setting for 110V or 230V manually underneath the units as they are not auto selectable.

In conclusion, both the MFJ-4230DMP and MFJ-4230MPF are compact switching power supplies that have received positive reviews from users. They offer useful features such as a digital LCD display and Power Poles ® on the back (for the MFJ-4230DMP) and have been found to be RF quiet by users. However, it’s important to make sure to select the correct power setting, set on the bottom of the units) for your location before using these power supplies.

In conclusion, the 12-volt power supply has been a cornerstone of ham radio operation for decades. Despite the challenges it presents, solutions have continually been developed to improve its performance and reliability. As ham radio technology continues to evolve, so too will the power supplies that keep them running, ensuring that this form of communication remains viable and effective for years to come. So, here’s to the future of ham radio – it’s sure to be an exciting ride!

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