New Directions Radio: Ray Martin's Methane Power Generator

Copthorne Macdonald shares information on Ray Martin's methane gas generator and homesteading in Texas, and the future hamfest schedule.

| May/June 1975

  • 033-044-01
    7 1/2 hp might seem very small, but all units are not used al the time. The load is staggered between alternator and air compressor. The air compressor has an output of 3.5 cu. ft. per minute. It only runs about 20% of the time, leaving just the alternator for the engine to power the remaining 80%. The waste heat generated by this rig is ""free"", so to speak, since it represents no load on the engine. (The air compresor is an old York refrigeration compressor.)
  • New Directions Radio
    New Directions Radio is an international network of radio amateurs concerned with those ways of using ham radio (and related modes of communicating) that promote our own growth as individuals, and which we perceive as helping to create a more aware, more caring, and more responsible human society.
  • 033-042-01tab
    Future Hamfest schedule.

  • 033-044-01
  • New Directions Radio
  • 033-042-01tab

Copthorne Macdonald is an amateur radio enthusiast, inventor of slow scan television, and founder of New Directions Radio. New Direction Radio article MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 33, May/June 1975. 

Ray Martin's Homestead and Methane Gas Generator

The simple life at the Junction starts with the house, originally the shell of a small fishing cottage. As Ray put it: "No plumbing, no electricity, no floors . . . just a hull. But the price was right."

"We had to have the place livable by the opening of school, just six weeks off, and everyone pitched in to help. Eight-year-old Billy worked as hard as anybody. A job in the city kept me busy 12 hours a day, so we tackled the house late at night and on weekends. The materials were salvaged from various buildings that were being torn down here. in Houston, and we got all of them simply by asking very nicely. Most demolition companies are glad to have you remove the leftovers they can't sell readily."

"We finished the bedrooms first, and went on to nail cabinets, install scrounged bathroom fixtures, make a plywood kitchen counter, and put in a sink. We'd never realized just how much work was involved in fixing up a house!"

"Then the real fun began. We checked around and found that the cost of a water well would be about $1,200. There was no way we could afford that — and school time was getting nearer — so we decided to do the work ourselves."

"Sometimes ignorance is bliss. Since I'm not an engineer or a professional driller, I didn't know that you can't sink a well in this country without a lot of machinery. But we did it with nothing more than a twisted spring from an old car and plenty of elbow grease . . . because there just wasn't anyone to tell us we couldn't. Fortunately, the water wasn't too far down and there was plenty of it. We installed a 35-year-old piston pump to get it to the house."


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