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FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power Line Noise Case:

from The ARRL Letter, Vol 26, No 35 on August 31, 2007
Website: http://www.arrl.org/
View comments about this article!

FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power Line Noise Case:

The Federal Communications Commission's Dallas Field Office issued Citations on July 25 to two utilities in a longstanding power line noise case in Lubbock, Texas. Bryan Edwards, W5KFT, of Lubbock, first reported the interference concerning the two involved utilities, Lubbock Power & Light (LP&L) and Xcel Energy, as early as 1994. The record shows that the FCC Dallas Field Office clarified the FCC rules with regard to power line noise for LP&L as early as 1998, and issued three letters to LP&L in 2003 and 2004. Xcel Energy was first issued an FCC letter in 2004.

The Citations to the Lubbock utilities said that due to an investigation conducted by the FCC's Dallas office May 22-25, 2007, they found that both LP&L and Xcel "caused harmful interference to the reception of amateur communications to amateur licensee W5KFT in Lubbock, Texas," and that "Section 15.209 sets the general radiated emission limits for intentional radiators. The limit for the band 30 to 88 MHz is 100 micro-volts per meter measured at 3 meters. The attached list of strong electrical arcing points appears to exceed the value allowed even for intentional radiators." The list, attached to each Citation, included 44 separate "strong electrical arcing points" that were found near Edwards' home.

The FCC directed both LP&L and Xcel, pursuant to the Commission's Rules, to provide documents and information within 10 days of their respective Citations. "Because the source of harmful interference is emanating from more than one power company and past attempts have not resolved the problem, you must submit a written plan describing the planned resolution of this case," including LP&L's coordination with Xcel Energy and Xcel's coordination with LP&L, according to the Citations. Also, each company is "directed to provide a report every sixty (60) days, of work completed to resolve the interference until your distribution system is in compliance."

Each Lubbock utility was warned that "[v]iolations of the Act or the Commission's Rules may subject the violator to substantial monetary forfeitures, seizure of equipment through in rem forfeiture action, and criminal sanctions, including imprisonment." In rem is a civil forfeiture proceeding as opposed to a criminal forfeiture proceeding.

In its undated Response to the FCC's Citation, LP&L stated that it "does not admit to and specifically denies any violation of the [Communications] Act [of 1934] or any rule pertaining thereto," but "in order to comply with the...Citation, the City of Lubbock files this response." As a result of the Citations issued by the FCC, LP&L's Response stated that representatives from "Lubbock Power & Light met with Paul Leonard, P.E., Area Engineer with Xcel Energy to discuss the alleged findings regarding harmful interference to the reception of amateur communications by amateur licensee W5KFT in Lubbock, Texas."

Xcel's Response pointed out that the Citation acknowledges "that the source of harmful interference to amateur licensee W5KFT is emanating from more than one power company." Xcel also alleges that it "has been working with amateur W5KFT for a number of years in an effort to identify the source of, and a possible resolution for, the harmful interference he is experiencing. Xcel Energy has a good working relationship with the licensee and has coordinated with him on numerous occasions in attempting to resolve his interference problems."

Xcel goes on to assure the FCC that it will "retain an outside technical consultant to provide an unbiased assessment of whether the harmful interference to W5KFT is attributable to Xcel Energy's power system and if so, what corrective measures would be required." Edwards reported that on Thursday, August 30, he received a phone call from Paul Leonard, head of Xcel Energy in West Texas. Edwards said he was told that Xcel has contracted with Mike Martin, K3RFI, to come out to Lubbock in October to work on the line noise. "Leonard said they tried to get LP&L to participate with them and Mike, but they refused to do so," Edwards said. Martin owns and operates RFI Services, a firm dedicated exclusively to RFI locating and training. He has been locating interference sources for more than 25 years, solving an average of 500 complaints a year, according to the ARRL Lab. Martin has also given power line interference workshops at ARRL Headquarters.

ARRL Lab Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, said, "I am pleased to see the FCC taking a strong enforcement step in this case. It has gone on for a long time, and this Citation should serve to finally get things resolved. It is unfortunate that some of the power line cases the ARRL is handling can't be resolved without the FCC taking formal action, but I expect that electric utilities across the country will now take notice of this case."

Most power line noise sources in fact can be located quickly and economically, Gruber said; many utilities in fact handle power line noise complaints as a matter of routine maintenance. "All it takes is a properly trained RFI investigator with modern noise locating equipment. By using noise signature techniques, the utilities would have had only to address those sources actually contributing to the problem. The message to utilities here is clear. Don't ignore power line noise complaints! Don't make the FCC get involved!"

For more information on this story, as well as links to the ARRL report, the FCC's Citations and the utilities' Responses, please see the ARRL Web site http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2007/08/30/100/?nc=1.

Source:

The ARRL Letter Vol. 26, No. 35 August 31, 2007

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
How long is too long?  
by AI2IA on August 31, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Does anyone know if Rip Van Winkle was a ham?

Will the power companies get the message? Tune in several light years from now and find out the answer!

Hmmm! Makes you wonder what the power companies might due with their BPL complaints!

The grist mill wheels of the gods turn slowly, but they grind to a fine powder.
 
RE: How long is too long?  
by N3OX on August 31, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Edwards said he was told that Xcel has contracted with Mike Martin, K3RFI, to come out to Lubbock in October to work on the line noise"

That should more or less take care of it.

I live in K3RFI's home territory and contacted him about some noise I was having... he came out the next day in a Pepco truck decked out with all sorts of antennas and in a few minutes he had pinpointed the arcing insulators with his ultrasound gear.

It was pretty awesome to witness. Mike is really good at it, and once he finds them, the power company really does have to fix it...

Dan
 
RE: How long is too long?  
by W1RFI on September 1, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Anything measured in decades is clearly too long!

More seriously, under the best of circumstances, resolving power-line noise problems will take a few weeks. Under most cicumstances, a month or two is not really all that unexpected, just because of the number of cumbersome steps involved.

The process starts with the customer-service agents that take the calls. They may or may not be trained in what to do with interference complaints. In the industry, the problem is generally known as radio/television interference. If the CSAs are trained, they will pass along the call to the service department. That's a best case; in some cases, CSAs have told hams that the utility isn't responsible for radio interference. Those are among the ones that get a fast-tracked autograph from Riley.

The service folks, of course, handle far more than just interference; in fact, in some smaller utilities, they may not know what it is, or have any clue how to fix it. Some service departments do have an individual or three that are responsible for interference, but they usually have a real job and interference is a low priority.

If things go well, the service folks will turn the case over to an interference speicalist. Many do not have one, or if they do, he or she is poorly trained. ARRL has cases where utility staff came out with a VHF/UHF Yagi and a tunable receiver, and set the receiver to 3.5 MHz and started pointing the Yagi around and concluded that there was no noise. That utility ended up with an autograph from Riley, too.

Most service departments deal with problems that do not require that they contact the complainant, so it is not common for even the specialist to check out interference at the ham station.

It is not uncommon for utilities to locate the wrong noise. There are signature techniques and available equipment that can be used to determine if a source found along lines is the one a ham is hearing, but many utility companies find a nearby noise, assume it is the one, fix it, and assume that the problem is fixed. Of course, in many cases, that was not the correct noise, or there were multiple noise sources, and the problem perstists. It is not usual repair practice to have to contact the complainant afterwards, so in many cases, the utility assumes that the case is closed. Also, with multiple noise sources, after they fix 10 "wrong" noises, without stopping the complaints, they start assuming that the noise is unfixable, and start discussing how much money they have spent to try to fix the problem.

Even if they find the right noise, the troubleshooter has to turn this over to the people who can actually climb the poles and fix things. I call this the BUL syndrome, where the Big Ugly Lineman climbs the pole and notes that he has seen insulators cracked like that last for years, and marks the job as done and moves on.

And, in all this, if there is a power outage, it is likely that any scheduled work will be postponed.

There are a lot of things that can go wrong. ARRL was recently contacted by a power company writing an internal document on how to resolve interference. They wanted to use our web-page material from http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/rfi-elec.html. Naturally, permission was granted. For now, they want to keep this internal, but I do hope we can convince them to get it out in the open.

At this point, my work in the BPL arena has put me in touch with a lot of power companies, who now have a vested interest in the subject of power-line noise. I am also now much better connected to the IEEE EMC Society and Power Engineering Society. I think it is very feasbible to propose an IEEE Recomended Practice that can outline the broad issues and advise utilities on how to best address EMC.

Ed Hare, W1RFI
ARRL Lab
 
RE: How long is too long?  
by W1RFI on September 1, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
A local news story on Lubbock:

http://www.kcbd.com/Global/story.asp?S=6990655&nav=menu69_3_10

The video provides a lot more information than the text.

These news coverage stories tend to be on the site for only a few days, so grab it while you can.

Ed, W1RFI
 
RE: How long is too long?  
by N7UQA on September 1, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I guess I should be luck that I don't live in Texas. Power line interference issues should be measured in increments no longer than 90 days, NOT 10+ years. Out here where I live, we are serviced by Puget Sound Energy; they have a pretty good track record in with dealing with power line interference issues. When I moved into a small community about two years ago, I happened to move into what I coined as 'power line interference alley'. With the help of the people PSE contracts to locate PLI problems, we found a total of 12 noise sources, all within mile of my residence. All the sources were a hodge podge of loose hardware, cracked insulators and defective street lights. Most of this hardware had been in use for decades and were clearly past their intended service life. When it was all said and done it took about a year to get everything fixed.

As of today I am mostly PLI free, there is however one or two intermittent sources that haven't annoyed me enough to find them. When a power utility claims that PLI problems cannot be fixed, or complain about the 'cost' to fix said problem the people in charge need to be terminated for extreme incompetence. As far as I'm concerned, the FCC needs to act a lot more swiftly in these cases; and the fines for non-compliance need to be orders of magnitude higher to fix these problems in a timely manner. I don't call 10+ years timely, within 60 days is what I call timely.

The power utilities need to understand that PLI does not always appear to stay local. There have been instances where I could swear I have heard PLI propagating on 80 and 160 meters. Such a thing happened last week on 160 meters, I heard the familiar buzzing sound with selective fading in the signal. My advice to other HAMS is to be polite but firm, always use 'I'll be forced to file a complaint with the FCC if we cannot resolve the power line interference (radio / television interference) in a timely manner'. And, ask to speak to the person in charge who deals with PLI issues (assuming they have one).

I hope with the issuance of fines to this Texas utility they will start to take PLI issues seriously. I certainly feel for these HAMS that have had to put up with this interference for so long.



Craig - N7UQA
 
FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power Lin  
by KI5BC on September 1, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Sad times. I had some RFI on a unicom radio at the Lubbock airport in about 2003. I couldn't find the offending pole due to the wet weather. After it dried up, I whacked a couple poles out near I27, and found the one that was caused the interference. The interference modulated as the pole shook.

The RFI guy for LP&L was very knowledgeable, and helpful, and it was fixed in less than a week. He identified 3 or 4 more sites within a mile of our radio site, and fixed those as well.

Strange that a ham couldn't get help in over ten years, but a simple call from a business was rectified (pun!) quickly.

73...de....KI5BC
 
FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power Lin  
by KB9YGD on September 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
This is Norman/Kb9ygd of lake station indiana and i had 2 problems somewhat like this except not as long.I am not the average amateur operator and do a lot of contesting work a lot of dx,etc and its imperative i have no noise level and this was between 20 and 50 db over an S9 constantly.Well our power co is northern indiana public service co and it took 3 months for them to locate a pole about 3 streets over from me and fix it and this was after i repeatedly called them,faxed them and left tx messages and even paged them, so finaly i sent 2 letters one to corp hqs and one to their emi/rfi dept and in about a week things got better and they then fixed it although the 1st fix didnt work.To the average ham who makes only an occational qso this may seem like overkill on my part but when i cant operate for only 1 day its a real big deal and im not happy.Its ashamed that the TX power co`s did what they did and i for one would like to see them fined so as to send a powerfull message from the amateur radio community that this is a big concern and not to be taken lightly and/or ignored.Thank You,Norman/Kb9ygd.
 
RE: FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power  
by W1RFI on September 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Mike Gruber would have preferred a fine, but in the case of a Citation, if they don't comply, a fine is pretty much automatic, according to Riley.

From my perspective, the languate of the Citation is just as effective, if not more so. Now that the FCC had to go to the system, they pretty much concluded that the lines are noisy system-wide. That list of 44 noise sources is something that no utility should want to get. A friend of mine who is a consultant for the utility industry simply shook his head and asked why the utilities ever let it come to this. What could have been a relatively easy fix has turned into a nightmare for both utilities. When I was a kid, we played in our basement on rainy days. When I heard the words from my mother, "Don't make me come down there," even as a kid I knew that it was in my best interest not to make me come down there. It's amazing that the executives that made the decision to turn this problem over to their lawyers instead of their technicians don't remember that lesson.

In most cases, it IS easy to locate power-line noise. ARRL purchased the Radar Engineers equipment used to find power line noise using the signature method and an ultrasonic parabolic dish. The main reason to buy the equipment was so that ARRL staff could be familiar with its use so it could properly advise power company staff about it, but we did send Mike out on a few local cases to gain some experience. In one case that had dragged on for a few years, with the FCC field office unable to locate the noise, Mike found it in a few minutes -- on a pole right across the street from the ham.

The real work, I think, is going to be to get the utilities more motivated to find and fix power-line noise. The tools and resources exist; when ARRL contacts utilities, we include an executive summary of information about finding and fixing power-line noise, about 30 pages of written material and a complete CD of a power-line interference publication. Still, for most utilities, fixing RTVI problems is a low priority.

Hopefully, this recent FCC help will change that. In the future, I expect to see 32 pages instead of 32, and a cover letter that suggests that the utility read the Citations as it makes it descisions about fixing the interference.

See http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/rfi-elec.html for ARRL information on power-line noise.

Ed Hare, W1RFI
ARRL Lab
 
RE: FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power  
by WA4MJF on September 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
If'n I'm not mistaken, the FCC can make them
shut the system down if they don't clean it
up. More effective than a fine, I should think.

73 de Ronnie
 
RE: FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power  
by W1RFI on September 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Under normal circumstances, I would think it highly unlikely that the FCC would order a power company to shut down, even part of the system.

However, with two utilities in most part of town, it is, perhaps, more likely. Still, shutting off power is not something the FCC would ever do lightly. They haven't been inclined to shut down BPL operators, or even hams who have violated the rules.

Still, the FCC DOES undertake a number of enforcement actions. Here is a partial recent list from

http://www.fcc.gov/eb/FieldNotices/:

08-21-2007 NOV Pinnacle Towers LLC, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
08-21-2007 CITATION City of Petaluma, Petaluma, CA
08-19-2007 NOUO Suzanne Timothee, Lauderhill, FL
08-16-2007 NOUO Seldon Turner, Batavia, Ohio
08-16-2007 NAL Christian Family Network, Inc., Battle Creek, Michigan
08-15-2007 NOUO Johny Brutus, Oakland Park, FL
08-15-2007 NAL Ronald Mondgock, Honeybrook, Pennsylvania
08-14-2007 NOV James J. Harzheim III, Covina, California
08-14-2007 NOUO Luis Rodriguez, Allentown, Pennsylvania
08-14-2007 NOUO Devon B. Gooden, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
08-14-2007 NOUO Clinton A. Lindsay, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
08-14-2007 NAL Action Radio, LLC, Burns, Oregon
08-10-2007 NOUO Kevin Chin, Mt. Vernon, NY
08-10-2007 NOUO Emiliano Lascarez, Spring Valley, NY
08-10-2007 NOUO Bernadette C. Booker, Brooklyn, NY
08-08-2007 NOV Township of Montclair, Montclair, New Jersey
08-08-2007 NOUO Orlando Miguel Flete, Allentown, Pennsylvania
08-08-2007 NOUO Dorothy Borgelin, Geanne Francoise, Lauderdale Lakes, FL
08-07-2007 NOUO Tyler Creviston, Olympia, WA
08-07-2007 NAL Sprint Telephony PCS, L.P., Banning, California
08-07-2007 CITATION High Point Electronics, Hudson, Florida
08-06-2007 NOV Maplemoor, Inc., Shavertown, Pennsylvania
08-06-2007 NOV Conway, Robert J; Conway, Thomas J, Carbondale, Pennsylvania
08-06-2007 CITATION Racoon's CB Repair, Inc.
08-06-2007 CITATION Mesa CB, Inc., Wildwood, Florida
08-02-2007 NOUO Jose A. Monteiro, Newark, NJ

Ed, W1RFI
 
RE: FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power  
by W6EM on September 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Ed: And you accuse me of comparing apples to acorns?

Clearly, the FCC expediently pursues "open and shut" cases against maveric CBers, CB shops, and the like, as your list exemplifies.

However, when it comes to the "tough ones", Riley and Company are hibernating. Case in point: K1MAN. How long has Glenn Baxter's license renewal application been officially "pending?" Answer: For more than 2YEARS!!! Where's the hearing before an Administrative Law Judge? (They don't need to wait for the DOJ to collect the $21,000, Forfeiture Order either). Its easy to convene an ALJ for an old, sick ham who's unable to travel and can't afford an attorney. Or, to use one to deny a convicted sex offender who's done his time a license. Perhaps that one didn't have the means to object or know how to either. What's next? Deny those who have served their time the right to own a cell phone (because they could call a kid)?

So, I'm not at all surprised to see these two power company examples sit for what, 9 years, since writing a citation to two business entities that can fight back will take some effort on the FCC's part.

I'll write a brief note on power company priorities and post it here following this, but, rest assured, they do have more important fish to fry. Its called maintaining and operationg their electric systems to keep supplying reliable energy.

Perhaps our wheels in Washington ought to instead ask these two utilities how they keep the lights on, since the Billions squandered thus far in Halliburtonland (Iraq) still can't keep the lights for more than an hour or two each day.

73,

Lee
W6EM



 
RE: FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power  
by W6EM on September 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
WA4MJF, Ronnie writes:"If'n I'm not mistaken, the FCC can make them shut the system down if they don't clean it up. More effective than a fine, I should think."

No, Ronnie, they can't. State commissions control public (investor owned) utility operations. City systems, are only regulated by states as far as safe work practices are concerned. Or, by the Department of Labor (OSHA) if states don't have high voltage safety work practice standards.

All the FCC can do is send them a Notice of Apparent Liability, following the Citations, if they don't respond. Then, if no objection, a Forfeiture Order. Oh, yes, I do believe that a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge can be requested, but, of course, its before an FCC-paid official. Beyond that, it goes to Federal Court. (As far as the NAL/FO are concerned).

Oh, they might complain to FERC, but, unless its a transmission line used for buy/sell exchanges, FERC's out of the picture.

Utilities have a responsibility to provide power to their customers. Obviously, included as a premise is to duty to protect the public health and safety. How would the FCC look to demand a shut down of a distribution line where a complainant resided, yet that same line supplied the community hospital and fire department? Pretty stupid. All because some ham likes to work weak signal DX. And, we think we have bad publicity over an occasional tri-band Yagi at 65 feet?

Are all RTVI complaints the fault of the utility? Short answer: No, many aren't. My experience from working for a major western utility (mostly second hand from our techs) is that a good deal of them are caused by other customer appliances such as fish tank heaters, switching power supplies, battery chargers, electric fence transformers, welders and the like. Sometimes they're on the same distribution transformer and sometimes they weren't.

As Ed said earlier (putting down well-trained linemen in the process) they typically are loose hardware, severed bonding and grounding conductors, and dirty or damaged insulators at the distribution voltage level (up to 46kV). On transmission lines you can add to that corona sources from sharp dicontinuities in things like conductor grips and clamps that should have had shielding rings to eliminate corona inception.
Or, from broken, frayed conductor strands caused by some idiot using the suspended conductor for target practice.

Now, admittedly, RTVI complaints cost the utilities money. And, take time away from doing other line maintenance and operation work. Most larger utilities have some type of specialist group with fairly sophisticated test gear, but, to ask a small city system like Lubbock to do that would be too cost prohibitive. Using service techs and portable radios and small Yagi antennas is usually a first step to try to find the source. That rarely works since the noise harmonics tend to travel significant distances and are often difficult to precisely spot with that kind of gear. And, they don't do that enough to get the needed experience if its just more gear in the back of the truck that they use twice a year.

If a person is persistent and courteous, one would think that eventually the General Manager of a city system or CEO of an investor-owned utility could be convinced to expend a reasonable effort to resolve a valid noise complaint. But, if the problem is intermittent, seasonal, goes away with the first rain storm in 6 months, it just might be difficult to convince them to pursue it. My company had an area near Monterey that was heavily fog-laden and a nightmare for noise, flashovers, etc. So much so that a rather unique and expensive solution was tried (it worked). Replacement of all overhead pin insulators with ones that had a special porcelain glazing material that was conductive. The approach was to heat the insulators to prevent the accumulation of moisture. Yes, it worked. No, it wasn't efficient from an energy perspective, but from a maintenance and operations cost reduction one, yes, it was.

I sincerely hope that the 9 year running examples that provoked these citations have a long and documented example of proper behavior on the part of the complainant(s). If not, I doubt that the local Federal Court will give the FCC's NOAL/FO the time of day. Especially since the city of Lubbock responded to and resolved the example of aircraft band interference noted above.

73,

Lee
W6EM

 
RE: FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power  
by WA4MJF on September 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Well, maybe not, I seemed to have remembered in some
of RH's letters to power companies in the past alluding
to the FCC's authority to order them to shut down
if they did not mitigate the noise. Of course, it
could have been a bluff, he might be a good poker player.

I'm at the point that I say that I've forgotten more than I knew.

Our hospitals and fire stations have gensets
that take over almost imediatley in case of
a loss of commercial power. I'm surprised yours don't!


73 de Ronnie
 
RE: FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power  
by WA4MJF on September 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Got me to looking and I found a copy of
a Warning Letter to Cumberland EMC in TN.
It was not RH, but rather a Fred L Broce,
formerly known as EIC, but now called
the District Director of the Atlanta Office.

It quoted 47CFR - 15.5 (c) stating that
the FCC has the authoirty to require them
to CEASE operating the device upon notification
by a Commission Representative that the device
(in this case power lines) is causing harmful
interference. Also, 15.5 (b) that says they
can operate an intentional, unintentional or
incidental radiator providing they cause no
harmful intgerference. In this case they
found that the EMC was causing harmful
interference between 47.4 and 50.175 Mhz in at
least two places
in their system.

73 de Ronnie
 
RE: FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power  
by W1RFI on September 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
> Ed: And you accuse me of comparing apples to acorns?

Yes, I did, Lee, in another thread, of course. :-) I wasn't trying to compare anything, but felt that hams may appreciate knowing that the FCC does actually do enforcement.

> However, when it comes to the "tough ones", Riley
> and Company are hibernating.

Now we can start comparing, and I think that apples and apples applies here. Power-line cases are among the tough ones, as are some of the examples you cite. It has taken a lot of work on the part of ARRL staff, the complainant and the locals who have helped to get things this far.

> I'll write a brief note on power company priorities
> and post it here following this, but, rest assured,
> they do have more important fish to fry. Its called
> maintaining and operationg their electric systems to
> keep supplying reliable energy.

I agree, Lee, which is why we don't see many cases fixed within a few days of calling. However, maintaining the lines for RTVI is also a maintenance issue, and I think that physical accidents not included, almost every line that has dropped on the ground manifest as a strong noise source before it did. Finding the worst of the power-line noise is a maintenance issue first and foremost, IMHO.

Ed Hare, W1RFI
 
RE: FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power  
by W1RFI on September 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
> Are all RTVI complaints the fault of the utility?
> Short answer: No, many aren't. My experience from
> working for a major western utility (mostly second
> hand from our techs) is that a good deal of them are
> caused by other customer appliances such as fish
> tank heaters, switching power supplies, battery
> chargers, electric fence transformers, welders and
> the like. Sometimes they're on the same distribution
> transformer and sometimes they weren't.

The figure I get from utilities, also second hand, is that about 70% of the RTVI cases involve non-utility equipment. Now, in some of the cases ARRL has been involved in, we know for certain that the noise is coming from power-company equipment, but the "official" company finding was that it was not their equipment. We also have a few questionable cases where we suspect power-line equipment, but the utility says otherwise.

Hams are MUCH better than 70%, though, and the process ARRL uses to work with hams generally weeds out the other problems. As a final step, before Riley will consider sending a case to the FCC field, we have to arrange for a technical volunteer to go to the ham's station, to determine that it appears to be power-line noise and that the severity of the noise is as described. Things like switch-mode supplies and motors are easy to weed out, and we also look at important factors such as the severity of the noise varying with weather, etc. The track record is pretty good for cases that have been pressed to FCC action.

> As Ed said earlier (putting down well-trained
> linemen in the process) . . .

That was a real case, Lee; it is an example that does happen. If he was "well-trained," he deserved the put-down anyway.

> Or, from broken, frayed conductor strands caused by
> some idiot using the suspended conductor for target
> practice.

A good example of how RTVI problems are directly related to maintainance.

> Most larger utilities have some type of specialist
> group with fairly sophisticated test gear, but, to
> ask a small city system like Lubbock to do that
> would be too cost prohibitive.

Lubbock has a population of 258,000 people, and if we presume that the City has about half of the customers, they should have enough ratepayer base to afford to send one of their technicians to the RFI Services training seminar. Smaller utilities have done so. They could also hire RFI Services, who would have probably put this to be fairly easily.

ARRL staff were there in Lubbock and Mike identified a number of sources near the complainant and indicated which ones matched the signature and which ones didn't. The city didn't even fix those.

> Using service techs and portable radios and small
> Yagi antennas is usually a first step to try to find
> the source. That rarely works since the noise
> harmonics tend to travel significant distances and
> are often difficult to precisely spot with that kind > of gear.

Actually, I've used an 80-meter receiver and a step attenuator and located the exact pole causing power-line noise. By the time you get to 300 MHz, an AM receiver and Yagi can be very effective at identifying a pole, if one uses the techniques taught in Mike Martin's course. These techniques are also described in the article about power-line interference that appeared in T&D magazine, also linked from ARRL's power-line page. (Mike Gruber was actually a major author of that article, but T&D said they could list only 3 authors, so everyone agreed that Riley, Mike Martin and Jody Boucher, an EMC engineer for NU, would have the most meaning to the audience.

> And, they don't do that enough to get the needed
> experience if its just more gear in the back of the
> truck that they use twice a year.

This is, of course, the crux of the issue -- even with the right equipment, the lack of RF savvy of many of the utility folks is a detriment. I've heard of folks using a 300-MHz Yagi on 3.5 MHz, looking for noise and saying that they can't find it.

> If a person is persistent and courteous, one would
> think that eventually the General Manager of a city
> system or CEO of an investor-owned utility could be
> convinced to expend a reasonable effort to resolve a
> valid noise complaint.

As evidenced by some of the testimonial here, that has actually happened in many cases. We only get the tough ones. And, sadly, some of the complainants are far from courteous. One literally called the repair chief's personal phone every day and left long recordings of the power-line noise that filled his voice mail. Every day! Others fly off at the least thing going wrong. Fortunately, most of the cases have people that at least remain rational and reasonable most of the time.

> I sincerely hope that the 9 year running examples
> that provoked these citations have a long and
> documented example of proper behavior on the part of
> the complainant(s).

One of the reasons ARRL put a lot into this case is that we saw the precedent value. One of the major reasons we felt we could bring this one through an FCC that was not enthused about taking a forceful position with a utility that is also a city government was that the complainant was a model of the correct balance between firm persistence and collegiate conduct. This is a condition of ARRL providing personal, one-on-one help for people with power-line noise.

Ed Hare, W1RFI
 
RE: FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power  
by W6EM on September 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Ed: I'm a bit surprised regarding the dropped line example. Most splice and/or grip failures wouldn't exhibit an arcing scenario, but one of high resistance/heating under substantial load prior to failure. Arcing won't usually occur until the moment before failure/separation since the lines are in considerable tension. Most responsible utilities use infra-red imaging cameras to find such hot splices on their lines well in advance of tensile strength failure. A very inexpensive and good approach to use to scan for potential problems.

Also, improperly installed splices are more often than not the cause of line failures. Automatic, spring-loaded jaw splices are a problem. Macho linemen don't take the time to measure the conductor ends prior to insertion and over insert on one end, causing the other end to under insert and lose its grip at some future point. I've seen many of those. Cooked or otherwise.

Misaligned, gang-operated switch contacts are another problem, occasionally. And, can be a source of arcing on sufficient line loading. Infrared imaging can find those rather easily. Substations are prone to have these as line currents of course are at maximum there.

I don't know the Lubbock vicinity very well, but, off hand, my guess is that both utilities share a common problem: widespread insulation contamination of some type and a reluctance to address it. Lubbock doesn't get a lot of rain, as I've been through there a few times while my son attended TCU. Lots of cotton fields and a few oil wells. My guess would be dust and dirt building up on their insulators. And, possibly aggravated by chemical dust.

If the utilities washed their insulators routinely, say once or twice during the dry season, I would bet the problem would go away or be greatly reduced. Insulator tracking from dust and dirt accumulation, and a bit of humidity from dew in the early morning is a recipe for a noise machine.

The territory that I was responsible for was "Wash Heaven" for Pacific Gas and Electric. My region covered areas from the Pacific coastline in about 20 miles and from San Jose to near Santa Barbara. About 300 miles. Lots of airborne dirt, cement and chemical plant dust, and salt from onshore winds. Some areas had to wash during the summer every three to four weeks. The really bad locations were wiped every three years with silicone grease to stop the tracking. Other successful fixes included spray-on silicone rubber for porcelain insulators or outright replacement with silicone rubber suspension insulators.

As to what we washed with, well, it was water. Essentially de-ionized water. As you know, but many don't, de-i water has quite a high resistivity. So, using high pressure pumps and sprayers, we literally blew the contaminarion off the insulators and didn't cause line faults in the process or put the lineman holding the wash nozzle at risk. We did this both via ground rigs and helicopter-mounted equipment for transmission lines. It sounds like that's what Lubbock and the other utility should be doing, if the problem is so widespread as the article claims it to be.

But, just a guess on my part.....

Also, once the tracking has been substantial across an insulator, the porcelain glaze is burnt/tracked and it wicks water and contaminants don't wash clean as does unetched porcelain glaze, exacerbating the problem. In this case, you either replace the insulator or can spray coat it with silicone rubber to reestablish a hydrophobic surface.

My most expensive piece of maintenance equipment was a three axle, all-wheel-drive Oskosh wash tanker/boom rig that could carry 5000 gallons of water virtually anywhere. We even used it to help the CA Division of Forestry put out fires once our lines were "de-smoked." Of course, $300K worth (1988 dollars) of truck isn't something Lubbock can afford. We couldn't justify buying a helicopter, so several contractors bid our work and we installed the insulator wash tanks, pumps and aerial booms. Our macho linemen were the ones willing to sit on the platforms on the side of the helicopters and aim the wash boom down on the insulators, while hovering just above the towers.



 
RE: FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power  
by W6EM on September 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
WA4MJF, Ronnie said: "Got me to looking and I found a copy of a Warning Letter .....
It quoted 47CFR - 15.5 (c) stating that
the FCC has the authoirty to require them
to CEASE operating the device upon notification
by a Commission Representative that the device
(in this case power lines) is causing harmful
interference. Also, 15.5 (b) that says they
can operate an intentional, unintentional or
incidental radiator providing they cause no
harmful intgerference. In this case they
found that the EMC was causing harmful
interference between 47.4 and 50.175 Mhz in at
least two places
in their system."

And, what if they don't? What's the penalty, Ronnie?
The process, citation, NOAL, and FO, is subject to appeal to the United States District Court. Most violations of FCC regulations, including the section you quote, are misdemeanors with $500 fines, if found culpable.

As to your earlier comment about the fire station and the hospital, think about what you said with respect to emergency generators, Ronnie. Their fuel supplies are normally designed to last from one to three days, not weeks or months. Let alone their engines running continuously for long periods without shut downs.
Also, willingly throwing a switch to shut off power may bear a great deal of adverse consequence. Both civil and criminal.

For example, do you know that malicious mischief with any power system is a federal felony; whereas anything except intentional interference to a federal telecomm system is merely a misdemeanor? Do you understand the sense of Congress with respect to the importance of utility power system operation?

 
RE: FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power  
by W6EM on September 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
W1RFI, Ed said:"Lubbock has a population of 258,000 people, and if we presume that the City has about half of the customers, they should have enough ratepayer base to afford to send one of their technicians to the RFI Services training seminar. Smaller utilities have done so. They could also hire RFI Services, who would have probably put this to be fairly easily.

ARRL staff were there in Lubbock and Mike identified a number of sources near the complainant and indicated which ones matched the signature and which ones didn't. The city didn't even fix those."

I would agree, Lubbock could afford the training. What I find really puzzling is, as an earlier post indicated, Lubbock was very responsive to an aircraft band noise complaint, yet silent on the amateur's complaints. Perhaps, since that was 4 years ago, there's now a new manager who has a different approach (ignore them, they'll go away). But, no, it seems this series was/is nine years in the making, so that doesn't make much sense.

Even more so, that, when given exact locations via your consultant's efforts, they still refuse to address the problems, well, that has me really baffled.

I'm glad, on one hand, that the FCC is pursuing the problem, but no one should have to wait nine years for a resolution. As earlier posters noted, if it takes nine years for this (to be resolved) God help us with the BPL bad actors.....

You're doing the right things with this, and hopefully this will serve as a well-publicized lesson for any utilities that are reducing or eliminating necessary expenses to generate bonuses for managers. I've seen inept managers stop doing some important maintenance only to have the resulting failures and other penalties cost them much more than the bogus rewards.






 
RE: FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power  
by WA4MJF on September 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Well, I guess you know every thing and the
Atlanta FCC Director was just lying through his
teeth and the FCC can't do a damn thing,
so they just write these letters to kill
trees. 15.5 (c) exisats on intheir minds.

You order fuel before it runs out, DUH.

I would think even a left coastie could figure
that out.

73 de Ronnie

 
RE: FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power  
by W6EM on September 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
WA4MJF said:"Well, I guess you know every thing and the Atlanta FCC Director was just lying through his
teeth and the FCC can't do a damn thing,
so they just write these letters to kill
trees. 15.5 (c) exisats on intheir minds.

You order fuel before it runs out, DUH.

I would think even a left coastie could figure
that out."

Ha. Well, there's some point to what you wrote (about the trees). That's government SOP.

Part of winning a legal argument is by making threats, whether practical to carry out or not. Good lawyers do that all the time.

Besides, if the choice was a $500 fine versus millions in state and/or civil claims, you know which choice a business entity would make: Keep the lights on.



 
RE: arrl's sophomoric conduct is to blame  
by W9WHE-II on September 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
W1RFI writes:

"Anything measured in decades is clearly too long".

I agree. It seems that ham radio has slipped in priority for FCC. Could it be an unintended side effect of arrl's sophomoric press release that personally insulted the FCC commissioners by calling them "incompetent"? I think it just might be a factor. Do not be surprised if FCC's enforcement in our favor lacks a bit of "zest" on account of arrl's sophomoric handling of the BPL issue.

W9WHE
 
RE: W9WHE's redundant conduct is to blame  
by W6EM on September 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Ya' know, Jonathan, we've heard that same old same-o probably a hundred times from you. Frankly, we don't give a s***. And, the FCC staff apparently doesn't either.

Especially Mr. Hollingsworth at the Enforcement Bureau. He just keeps on writing those letters and tickets despite cat calls from impatient guys like me.

73,

W6EM-XIV



 
RE: arrl's sophomoric conduct is to blame  
by W9WHE-II on September 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Lee, as YOU YOURSELF admitted just yesterday in a different thread on this very site:


"OK. I guess my speculation has been shown to be either [i]ll considered or, embarassingly, off the mark considerably".

Lee, for once, we all agree with you.

W9WHE
 
RE: arrl's sophomoric conduct is to blame  
by W1RFI on September 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
> I agree. It seems that ham radio has slipped in
> priority for FCC.


So does that explain why the Commission acted and under took this precendent case? Or the fact that the inaction on the power-line case preceeded ARRL's BPL work?

Or the other cases that are handled by the FCC after ARRL tries to resolve things directly with the involved utility?

From http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/plc/FCC_enforcement/FCC_Enforcement_Letters.html

Allegheny Power, Greensburg, PA
Alliant Energy, Madison, WI
Alliant Energy, Madison, WI #2
American Electric Power, Columbus, OH
American Electric Power, Columbus, OH #2
American Electric Power, Columbus, OH #3
American Electric Power, Columbus, OH #4
American Electric Power, Columbus, OH #5
American Electric Power Company, Columbus, OH #6
American Electric Power, Columbus, OH #7
AmerenUE, St. Louis, MO
Aquila Inc., Kansas City, MO
Chatanooga Electric Power, Chatanooga, TN
Cinergy Corporation, Cincinnati, OH
City of Anderson, IN
City of Bolivar, TN
City Utilities, Springfield, MO
CMS Energy, Dearborn, MI
CMS Energy, Dearborn, MI #2
CMS Energy Corporation, Dearborn, MI #3
Commonwealth Edison, Chicago, IL
Cumberland Electric, Cumberland, MD
Cumberland Electric Membership Cooperative, Clarksville, TN
Cumberland Electric Membership Cooperative, Clarksville, TN (Warning)
Dominion Virginia Power, Richmond, VA
Duquesne Light Company, Pittsburgh, PA
Duquesne Light Company, Pittsburgh, PA #2
Duquesne Light Company, Pittsburgh, PA #3
Entergy Corporation New Orleans, LA
Entergy Services, Inc., Brookhaven, MS
Exelon Corporation, Chicago, IL
Exelon Corporation, Chicago, IL #2
Exelon Corporation, Chicago, IL #3
Fannin County Electric Cooperative, Inc., Bonham, TX
Fannin County Electric Cooperative, Inc., Bonham, TX #2
FirstEnergy Corporation, Akron, OH
FirstEnergy Corporation, Akron, OH #2
FirstEnergy Corporation, Reading, PA
Florida Power and Light, Miami, FL (Citation)
Georgia Power, Atlanta, GA
Gouverneur Village Power, Gouverneur, NY
Gouverneur Village Power, Gouverneur, NY #2
Gouverneur Village Power, Gouverneur, NY #3
GPU, Morristown, NJ
Grays Harbor PUD, Aberdeen, WA
Grayson-Collin Electric Coop, Van Alstyne, TX
Grayson-Collin Electric Coop, Van Alstyne, TX #2
Grayson-Collin Electric Coop, Van Alstyne, TX #3
Illinois Power Company Decatur, Illinois
Jackson EMC, Jefferson, GA
Lakeland Electric, Lakeland, FL#1
Lakeland Electric, Lakeland, FL#2
Lakeland Electric, Lakeland, FL#3
Lakeland Electric, Lakeland, FL#4 (Citation)
Lubbock Light & Power, Lubbock, TX
Lubbock Light & Power, Lubbock, TX #2
Lubbock Light & Power, Lubbock, TX #3
Lubbock Light & Power, Lubbock, TX #4 (Citation)
Mayor of Orangeburg, Orangeburg, SC
Memphis Light Gas & Water, Memphis, TN
Nashville Electric Service, Nashville, TN
National Grid Westborough, MA
Northeast Utilities, Berlin, CT
NorthWestern Energy, Helena, MT
Northfork Electric Cooperative, Inc. Sayre, OK
Oklahoma Gas & Electric, Oklahoma City, OK
Oklahoma Gas & Electric, Oklahoma City, OK #2
Otero County Electric Cooperative, La Luz, NM
Pacific Gas and Electric
PECO Energy Company, Philadelphia, PA
Public Service of New Hampshire, Manchester, NH
Reliant Energy, Houston, TX#1
Reliant Energy, Houston, TX#2
Rockwood Electric Utility, Rockwood, TN
Socorro Electric, Socorro, NM
Socorro Electric Cooperative Socorro, NM #2
Socorro Electric Cooperative Socorro, NM Final
Southern California Edison, Rosemead, CA
Springfield Electric Department, Springfield, TN (Warning)
TECO Energy, Tampa, FL
Tennessee Valley Authority, Chattanooga, TN
Texas New Mexico Power, Ft Worth, TX
Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Azle, TX
TXU Corporation, Dallas, TX
Village of Ladd, IL
Walton EMC, Monroe, GA
Xcel Energy, Minneapolis, MN
Xcel Energy, Minneapolis, MN#2
Xcel Energy, Minneapolis, MN #3
Xcel Energy, Minneapolis, MN #4 (Citation)

All of the above was handled by the FCC during the time that ARRL has been addressing the BPL issues.

I would think that you would be equally mad at an FCC that wrote rules that permit noise that continuously fills tens of MHz of spectrum, for 24 hours a day, in a geographical area as large as an entire utility service area. Or do you only get mad at what ARRL does, not what is done by others to Amateur Radio?

Ed, W1RFI

 
RE: W9WHE's redundant conduct is to blame  
by W6EM on September 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Jonathan, at least if I'm wrong, I admit it. I didn't know how many garage openers were close to Beale AFB.
10 microWAtts is a pretty small source. But, Part 15 allows sources up to about 100 milliWatts, if memory serves correctly. Of course, on a "non-interference" basis. Just how would the AF go about trying to find Part 15 devices that don't ID? Oh, perhaps steer the radar carefully in their direction......

Of course, there are other Part 15 applications using the 420-450MHz spectrum. RFID, keyless door entry systems, etc. I guess if any airmen on base happen to pop their door locks, the kitty will screech. But, as I admitted, I don't know everything there is to know about the PAVE PAWS problem.

I do, however, know enough NOT to say such things as
"It does not affect the everyday, casual user of 70 cm" without a definition of what a "casual user" is. That is/was a very reckless statement. Perhaps made to placate some worried sellers of 70cM FM gear.

After all, income from paid advertisers in QST is significant.

And, this thread isn't about PAVE PAWS or alleged verbal insults of FCC commissioners, but powerline noise.



 
RE: arrl's sophomoric conduct is to blame  
by W6EM on September 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"All of the above was handled by the FCC during the time that ARRL has been addressing the BPL issues."

And, to be a bit less polite than Ed, during and after ARRL and some others in the amateur community used some fairly strong words to describe what appeared to be improper, openly-biased behavior of the former FCC chairman.

Inept, perhaps. Incompetent, perhaps. Accurate and appropriate adjectives to describe several attorneys who, besides being 'wet behind the ears,' really don't have a technical CLUE as to what they're responsible for and routinely promulgating.

Personally, I'm proud that ARRL leaders had the guts to stand up and say what they did and what they're doing with respect to challenging the FCC on its flawed BPL Order and enforcement policies.

Frankly, the behavior exemplified by ARRL with respect to the PAVE PAWS interference claims is an exemplary model of how BPL operators should respond to complaints from the amateur community. Although few, if any have, from what I've read.

 
RE: FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power  
by W5HLH on September 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Well, I guess you know every thing and the
Atlanta FCC Director was just lying through his
teeth and the FCC can't do a damn thing,
so they just write these letters to kill
trees. 15.5 (c) exisats on intheir minds.

You order fuel before it runs out, DUH."

Ronnie, do you seriously think----even for a second---that the FCC would dare shut down a power utility because of RFI complaints??

Think about it. . . . . . thousands and thousands of people in the dark, emergency services stretched to the limit, housebound invalids facing medical emergencies, no traffic or street lights, no hot water, no refigeration, businesses and schools shut down. . . . . all because some ham complained about power line noise.

And here would be the result: the state's senators and the district's congressional representative would make sure the FCC employees involved were swiftly shown the door. And the resultant publicity----"Ham radio operators shut down city's power system!"----would make our current problems with zoning and antenna restrictions seem like the "good old days."

Come to think of it, if any complaining ham has my electricity shut off because of a RFI complaint, I'll hunt down the dumb SOB myself and beat some sense into him with a baseball bat.
 
RE: FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power  
by WA4MJF on September 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Well, in the case that I was citing, the letter
mentions no hams and the 47.4-50.0 MHz range
is used by Special Emergency FCC licensees,
FCC Transportation licensees
and US Guvment Stations. Very little of
the interference was in the 6 Meter ham
band. The CW portion actually and a very small
sliver of the voice range

I don't know. I guess maybe he was
just trying to scare them. It was
FCC personnel that found the problem
according to the letter, not hams.

Now whether Mr Broce would have had them
shut down the area around those poles, I don't
know. It was an Electric Membership
Cooperative and so that means rural.
As you may or may not know, sections of
a power system can be shut off without
turning off the whole system.

Maybe some lawyer will read 47CFR-15.5 (c)
and tell us whether it really means the
FCC can do it or it is just a bluff.

73 de Ronnie
 
RE: FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power  
by W6EM on September 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"It was an Electric Membership
Cooperative and so that means rural."

Yes, Ronnie, an old REA. Funded and steered by an arm of the USDA now called NRECA. Imagine that. The FCC slamming the USDA's design, maintenance and operation criteria. (NRECA, as its now called, writes and distributes criteria for all of its cooperatives)

Don't you just love it when one arm of the federal government fights another?

I can just imagine the expression on the judge's face.

If brought to fruition, the FCC would really have some USDA-inspected egg on its face......



 
RE: W9WHE's redundant conduct is to blame  
by W1RFI on September 5, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
> 10 microWAtts is a pretty small source. But, Part 15 allows sources up to about 100 milliWatts, if memory
> serves correctly.

Once upon a time, 100-miliwatt AM-BC band transmitters were permitted, but the Part 15 limits were never anywhere near that. That is an urban myth that somehow keeps being repeated until people think that "memory serves."

The highest-permitted unlicensed signals on 70 cm are the periodic emitters on frequencies above 70 MHz. Many operate on 433.92 MHz. For other operation on that part of the band, the legal limit is 200 uV/m at 3 meters. This would be achieved on 433 MHz with an EIRP of 12 nanowatts, or -49.2 dBm. Your estimate of 100 milliwatts is wrong by 69.2 dB, or a power factor of 8,317,637.1.

> Just how would the AF go about trying to find Part 15 devices that don't ID? Oh, perhaps steer the radar
> carefully in their direction......

I think it highly unlikely that they would find a need to locate 10 microwatt devices, Lee, much less 12 nanowatt devices.

> Of course, there are other Part 15 applications using the 420-450MHz spectrum. RFID, keyless door
> entry systems, etc. I guess if any airmen on base happen to pop their door locks, the kitty will
> screech.

For two seconds, on one of the several channels, and probably be locked out and not cause signficant interference. And, to answer a question you raised in the PAVE-PAWS thread, the ability to lock out a channel in the presence of interference does prevent the interference, but presumably at some small impact on the performance. What can be tolerated on a single channel for 2 seconds once in a while may be different than multiple repeaters firing up simultaneously on muliple channels.

> But, as I admitted, I don't know everything there is to know about the PAVE PAWS problem.

Nor do I, Lee, which is why I accept at face value the measurements the Air Force has done and the mitigigation they say they need on from each repeater. There are some identified misidentifications and a handful of measurements I have sufficient cause to question, but for the most part, those of us who don't know are better off not reaching for answers that are likely to be wrong.

> I do, however, know enough NOT to say such things as
"It does not affect the everyday, casual user of 70
> cm" without a definition of what a "casual user" is. That is/was a very reckless statement. Perhaps made to
> placate some worried sellers of 70cM FM gear.

I know what Dan was communicating, and although he may have been able to be more precise, I think it a far stretch to call his well-intended remark to be "reckless," Lee. It is far less reckless than some of the wild information you have tried to get people to believe here, and done for far better reason.

To wit:

> Perhaps made to placate some worried sellers of 70cM FM gear. After all, income from paid advertisers in
> QST is significant.

Let's do the math, Lee. First of all, it is a pretty insulting position to take that Dan is saying what he said for the reasons you are implying. You don't know him, or anything about him, but you are willing to say that in a public forum anyway? That DOES cross my threshold for reckless behavior, Lee.

Even if you presume that the reason that HQ staff work here at somewhat less than the prevailing wage in the area it so they can say things they don't belive to be true just to enrich the ARRL, let's do the math. The revenues from memberships far outweigh the revenues from the sale of ads related to 70 cm equipment, so if you truly have to imagine that Dan cares only about getting money for ARRL, the members contribute more than the advertisers, so you should conclude that he said it to "placate" the members.

I do know quite a bit about Dan, and based on my personal knowledge of what makes him tick, I think that he said it to communicate some of what he knows to members in the space the news editor gave him in the story.

Of course, that doesn't sound nearly so interesting as your conspiracy story, Lee, but I belive it be a lot closer to the truth.

Ed, W1RFI
 
RE: W9WHE's redundant conduct is to blame  
by W6EM on September 6, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
The root of the problem, Ed, is not whether my memory is correct or not; apparently it isn't with respect to Part 15. You are obviously well schooled on its content and should be.

Its communication by ARRL. Can't you see that? Its either lacking important detail or its mis-information. On purpose. You don't solicit input from membership. Or, if you do, you don't report it accurately and properly. The PAVE PAWS issue is just a continuum of a problem that's existed for far too long. Why is necessary for old men like me to "speculate?" Its because ARRL doesn't do but a half-assed job of communicating to the ham community.

There may have been hundreds of hours of work you and others have done on the issue, but, its reported in "stove-pipe" fashion. "ARRL's In Charge," not to worry. And, don't bother asking. Calm down. Casual use OK.... And, keep buying that 70cM FM/digital gear.

ARRL needs to change or the 20% membership fraction will slip to a point where ad revenue will surpass dues revenue. Something picking apart what I write and trying to discredit me won't address.

Wake up the dead wood. I thought the overwhelming negative response from hams regarding the Regulation by Bandwidth Petition would. Apparently, it hasn't.

The longer that Kramer and Sumner continue the "gloss-over" misinform/uninform policy, the lower your membership score will go....

73.
 
RE: W9WHE's redundant conduct is to blame  
by W6EM on September 6, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Let's do the math, Lee. First of all, it is a pretty insulting position to take that Dan is saying what he said for the reasons you are implying. You don't know him, or anything about him, but you are willing to say that in a public forum anyway? That DOES cross my threshold for reckless behavior, Lee."

Only a fool would think that someone who writes something for a publication is not edited or changed or influenced by his/her superiors.

I don't know Dan Henderson. My comments reflect ARRL's posture. He's an employee, like you are. Its not about him at all, but what is published.

The inappropriateness is ARRL's responsibility and that's how I view it. It was not meant to be and is not a personal attack on Mr. Henderson. ARRL's motives, whatever they might be, are in control.

Let me use a short paragraph in your ARRL Letter addressing something I wrote in commentary to the FCC regarding Hurrican Katrina as another example. Besides not bothering to ask me about it, you pasted my name in the Letter without so much a mention that I was a ham, let alone my callsign. Is that proper/adequate journalism? No. Not in my book and I'm not alone in my belief either.

73.


 
RE: Check Ed's Incorrect Use of Technical Terms  
by W6EM on September 6, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Your estimate of 100 milliwatts is wrong by 69.2 dB, or a power factor of 8,317,637.1."

Let me guess, Ed. Did you mean by a ratio of 8,317,637:1?

Power factor is the cosine of the phase angle between real power and total power. Unforgiveable.

Also, do try to remember that Watt is/was a man's surname.
 
RE: Check Ed's Incorrect Use of Technical Terms  
by W1RFI on September 7, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
> Power factor is the cosine of the phase angle between real power and total power. Unforgiveable.

You are, of course, correct. I didn't even think of the scientific definition of the term when I used it in a generic sense.

As to "unforgivable," I guess we have different standards. I am sure a few here will forgive my transgression if I readily admit to my faux pas.

Do you also believe that your posting a claim that was wrong by a ratio of over 8 million should not be forgiven, too?

If we keep going, sooner or later, every one of us who discuss here will say something incorrect. What will we do then? Perhaps we could have a group amnesty and start afresh?

As to "watts" I have always been amazed at the IEEE style, but power would be expressed as 100 W if the abbreviation is used, but 100 watts if not. Also, to express power in dB, one would use dBW. Not consistent, but recognized style. I am not sure why.

It's like the Bel, Lee. Why does technology always use deci in front of it? I suppose it makes some sense, as 6 dB is a bit easier to read that 0.6 B but in cases greater that 10, decibels and bels are equally readable. The only rationale I can think of is that if we are going to use dB below 10 dB, it is a bit less confusing not to mix decibels and bels.

Ed, W1RFI
 
RE: Check Ed's Incorrect Use of Technical Terms  
by W6EM on September 7, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"If memory serves correctly." It didn't. That meant I was guessing. Unforgiveable was meant as a joke.

W is always capitalized, from again, my experience.
Why? A man's name. Completely. Same with Ampere. Same with Ohm. (Although, I've never felt the need to capitalize mho. Or, should it be mhO?)

In the case of decibel, its not wholly inclusive, as in volt, not totally containing Volta. But, the abbreviations I've seen have always been dB, so maybe Bel is more appropriate.

Perhaps at one time, bel (Bel) was used when strickly audible sound power was all that was measured. In any case, its not consistent, since kV or mV are used in spite of volt not usually being capitalized.

I like to respect the convention of capitalization of a term if it is only part of someone's name used in their honor, although admittedly, not upside down.
 
RE: Check Ed's Incorrect Use of Technical Terms  
by W1RFI on September 7, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Then I will gladly take it as a joke. I've found the hard way that it is almost always best to put the smiley on a joke when posting, as it is the only way to make sure that someone doesn't know you are serious.

And it was pretty careless of me to use a technical term in a non technical way in a forum where the literal technical definition could have some meaning, so I do deserve the joke.

As to capitalization, fortunately, here we don't have to care all that much. Like minor spelling, grammatical or typographical errors, we can focus more on the meaning behind the expression. Perhaps the convention came about because it looks awkward to say, "The power here is 10 Watts." Oh, wait, I'd better say 5 watts, as I am a QRPer. :-)

Ed,
W1RFI
 
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