Running VARA HF with an Evolve Maestro III Laptop

If you were lucky enough to pick up the Evolve Maestro III from Microcenter for $60 (currently sold out), you may be wondering if it can be used for ham radio digital operations.  Yes, it can.  And the battery life is outstanding.  Here’s a recent video of me using it in the truck to operate VARA HF.  It also works great for WSTJ-X for other modes like FT8.

You may also be wondering, can I power this up with 12 volts?   Yes, you can.  I like Anderson power poles, so with a couple parts I can keep this powered up along with all my other radio equipment.

From Amazon:

2Pcs DC Power Connector Adapter 90 Degree Angle 3.5mm x 1.35mm Male Plug to 5.5mm x 2.1mm Female Jack Coupler Converter (L Type 3.5 x 1.35mm Red)

iGreely 5.5mm x 2.1mm DC Male Power Plug Cable for Portable Generator 14 AWG Wire 3.3ft/1m (Male)

You don’t need much battery capacity to keep this alive for many hours. It’s rated to last 8 hours, although in practice I’ve found that four hours of continuous use is a more realistic.  A 12aH Bioenno battery pack would give you plenty of juice for an all-nighter and if combined with a 60 watt solar panel and a charge controller, you could go on forever.

The battery inside the laptop is a 5500 maH @ 7.2v.  If you ever need to replace that battery, you can find it here: