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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

What Are All Those Noises?

Jerald Volpe (KG6TT) on January 12, 2005
View comments about this article!

What are the ever-increasing sources of noise, which begin in earnest each night just before dusk and pound us so mercilessly all through the night... particularly on 80 and 40 meters? (No BPL in our area as yet)

In addition to the mystery spark-like static that begins around 7.080, peaking around 7.086 and extending to 7.093 or so (and has harmonic relatives on 80 and 20 meters too) there is an absolute blanked of noises, which when added to the international broadcasters, make for sad night time reception possibilities. I've eliminated electrical noise sources from my home and worked through some bad interference issues caused by local power poles, etc., but these seem to have sources much further away. Indeed, I have talked to friends many miles away who seem to be hearing the exact same noises.

As we are heading deeper and deeper into the approaching Sun Spot minimum we have a greater reliance on our lower HF bands. It would be more than useful if we had a better 'tool kit' for searching these phantoms out.

For starters, I think it might be helpful in isolating these disturbances if we somehow shared our knowledge and experiences on this subject. Perhaps a good starting place would be to assemble together a database of audio clips on different known noise sources... not only the ones we have resolved but also the ones that still puzzle us. So many of us have Soundcard interfaces already that it seems possible.

Thoughts on this?

Jerald, KG6TT
Albany, CA

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What Are All Those Noises?  
by K0BG on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Welcome to the pits of the solar cycle!

And don't be too surprised if you discover the noise you hear is BPL. We don't have it in our area either, but nonetheless at night you can hear it coming from some long-distance away. After all, it is radio and it does propagate.

Alan, KBG
www.k0bg.com
 
What Are All Those Noises?  
by KC9AGG on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
i'm hearing terrible noise on 40 meters, too...and , yes , i do hear it on 20 meters...it , for me, though shifts around from 7.100 to 7.290--it's typically 10-15 khz wide--and it's s9 or better....don't know what this is...if anyone has ideas on this, by all means post them.
 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by AE1X on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Could this be some form of Digital International Broadcasting other than DRM?

Ken
 
What Are All Those Noises?  
by KE3HO on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Take a look at the following link. VE3HLS is building a sound clip database of rfi sources. He has several clips already. Some have been id'ed and some have not. It is a terrific resource.

http://www.ve3hls.com/noise/rfihome.html

73 - Jim
 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by W0FM on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I agree that it could be a valuable resource. Looks like VE3HLS has a good start on his site. I will be submitting some "suspects" as well.

73,

Terry, WFM
 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by W8MW on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
KE3HO, thanks for the link. I made a contribution to his site some time ago. He is providing a valuable service.

73 Mike
 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by K3UD on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
"m hearing terrible noise on 40 meters, too...and , yes , i do hear it on 20 meters...it , for me, though shifts around from 7.100 to 7.290--it's typically 10-15 khz wide--and it's s9 or better....don't know what this is...if anyone has ideas on this, by all means post them."

I have also heard this for several years. They have been called Sliders, Creepy Crawlers and Rockets. Often, if you are in a round table, almost everyone on frequency will here them. They were at the worst this past summer when we were having the geomagnetic events seemingly every week. At first I thought it was generated locally but we had a widespread power outage and I had a chance to run the rig off the standby battery source, but they were still there.

At this point, there are some nights I do not hear them at all.

73
George
K3UD

 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by K8LEA on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Interesting....

Locally, I find that my SWL efforts are thwarted by a bunch of X-10 controlled lamps in the house.

I expect that these things radiate quite a ways.

Just FWIW.

Regards,

Stu K8LEA
 
What Are All Those Noises?  
by N1TKS on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Sounds (no punn intended), like a good idea.
I have been plagued by a similar noise especially on
75 meters. The disturbance moves between 3.835 and 3.845 Mhz. At times it is not there. I have driven around the area with my mobile HF rig and have even turned the power off to the house and operated on battery and the noise is still there. The nearest BPL test site in my area that I know of is in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.
 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by W0FM on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Stu, K8LEA..

That's interesting. I have 28 X-10 devices operating in my home, including signal repeaters and crossover adapters. I had thought that they would play havoc with my reception but I've never heard a peep from them. I've even gone around the house and "sniffed" each one with a portable receiver and found nothing.
I don't believe that they should radiate when they are not sending a command which is usually a short burst. The modules, for the most part, only receive the signals. The controller does most of the transmitting and mine is very quiet. The X-10 (telephone support) tech guys at SmartHome.com have always been very helpful with me. You might try giving them a call.

Good luck,

Terry, WFM
 
What Are All Those Noises?  
by WA1RNE on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

Maybe the interference on 7.080, etc. is emanating from Fixed/Broadcast Stations in the 2-3 Mhz spectrum??

Some may not be engineered very well, emitting considerable odd harmonic interference.

Maybe some are being used for scientific purposes and are designed to emit odd harmonics??
 
What Are All Those Noises?  
by AE6RV on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I've found the following emitters at my QTH:

Magnavox TV
Light dimmer switch
Cable modem
Ethernet router
Microwave
 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by AE6RV on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Oops, forgot the worst ones. These change depending on what is on the screen, and have harmonics every 56khz, which is the horizontal scan frequency I use.

Viewsonic 19" monitor
NEC 17" monitor
 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by N6ETE on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
VE3HLS' website is really a great resource. Being a relatively new ham it would also be great to know of a site that lists the sounds of various transmission methods like RTTY, PSK31, etc.
 
What Are All Those Noises?  
by N3AIU on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

A few weeks ago, I walked around my house with a portable AM radio to see what appliances emit RFI. I've also been receiving lots of noise on the low bands.

Apart from the gas stove, everything is an RFI emitter.

73, Nick N3AIU
 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by W0FM on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
And there are days when the worst static emanates from the XYL!

WFM
 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by W6TH on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!


The one that I am most interested in is the one with the buckshot. I go to 14.002 and when i key and let go it comes right on top of me. I then qsy to 14.025, key it and off and there it is again. I qsy to 14.040, key and let go and there it is again.

Where-ever I key and shut off, there it is, a buckshot like Brrrrttt. It follows me like a tracking device that locks onto to my signal. Does not do it on 40, but sometimes I do hear it in the lower 25 Khz.

.:
 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by KC4VFP on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Computer switching power supplies can put your 2 meter HT out of business. Even my Acom 2000A emits RF on 2 meters!
 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by KC4VFP on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I forgot to add:

Look up H.A.A.R.P. on the internet.
 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by GHOSTRIDERHF on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The airport kills me -- radar everywhere
 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by VE3IOS on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I found my biggest RFI generator on 75m was my computer power supply. If you unplug the power cord from the back of your computer when it is off, you will lose a lot of noise.
 
What Are All Those Noises?  
by K0RFD on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
That somebody wants a web site with sound samples of various HF noises is a great idea.

The fact that somebody has already started putting it together is an even better idea.

Kudos to both of you. I'm looking forward to hearing lots of different noises identified.
 
What Are All Those Noises?  
by W1GWA on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

Hello All;

Speaking of RFI:

About three or so weeks ago, I began to have a spike type emission on all my receivers which was across a very wide spectrum (13 to 40Mhz.) The spike had a double notch and went from an S 3 (about noise level) to a annoying S 8 to 9 on peaks. The spike occurred at one second intervals. This spurious emission was annoying to say the least. I noticed that the spiking would null out when I turned my yagi away from the utility pole. After running checks in my shack and home, I began to check outside. A friend, Paul W1MWT, came over with a mobile rig and hand-held scanner and we finally isolated the source coming from a home across the street from my QTH. The people living there were new to the neighborhood and I hadnt met them yet and felt awkward introducing myself by saying something in their home was interfering with my hobby. I then called ARRL, which is what I should done in the first place and was, after explaining my problem to the receptionist, connected to Mr. Mike Gruber, W1MG. Mike listened to my story and asked if he could listen to the sound on my receiver through the land line receiver. After listening for about 5 seconds, he informed me of his ideas of what the problem may be. He said it was either a pulsing from an animal control fence i.e. cow or horse fence, which seemed reasonable but no fences in the area. And then his next explanation really knocked me and my friend Paul for a loop. Mike stated that more than likely the spike was being produced by a Perfect Fit electric blanket! What!? Are you serious? Mike then explained that this particular brand of electric blanket had a transformer which stepped down the line voltage and had a problem and that the spurious emission would occur even if the blanket was only plugged in and not activated. In fact, there was a recall on this blanket because of a possible fire hazard! With this information in hand, I called my new neighbor, introduced myself and my wife(also a ham, WA1ZOX) and explained the situation. She was very surprised when I asked her if she owned a Perfect Fit electric blanket. She said she did and began to use it about three weeks prior to my phone call. She was very cooperative and after removing the plugs from the AC, the spike disappeared. She called the company and they advised her to either return the blanket or dispose of it and that the company would be sending out a new blanket. My neighbor said I would be contacted immediately before she plugged it in. She also indicated how happy she and her husband were that this problem was brought to her attention because of the activity of Amateur Radio.

In summary, my big thanks to the ARRL and in particular Mr. Mike Gruber, for helping me correct the problem and giving Ham radio a big boost with a member of the public.

P.S. New blanket arrived 5 days later, was put to the test and no interference!!


 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by KC8VWM on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
lol Terry... My wife exceeds FCC Part 95 for acceptable emission standards causing interference with a Part 97 husband.

73
Charles - KC8VWM
 
What Are All Those Noises?  
by WB9YCJ on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Good idea to start a RFI data base for reference purposes. Lets not forget to list the popular Ionic Breeze air filters. By the way, if you ever became curious of other strange modulation - carriers, signals on shortwave heres a neat data base of audio clips. Enjoy: http://www.wunclub.com/sounds/index.html

....73, Ken
 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by AA5CH on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I have found "wal wart" power supplies to be particularly troublesome, with HP printer power supplies being the worst offenders. They produce a rather strange noise that sweeps a very broad frequency range.

73,

Brad
 
What Are All Those Noises?  
by AL2I on January 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Buying into the commercial hype, my mother-in-law bought one of the Sharper Image Ionic Breeze Quadra devices for my wife and I. The device does less to clean the air than an old computer monitor, but is advertised with massive hype and big budgets.

I am disgusted by this shameless fleecing of consumers, and I am enraged by the RF pollution the fake device emits. I actually gave up on HF for a while because I couldn't identify where this noise was coming from, and it was just too difficult to try to work around it. You can hear the sound that it emits here at ve3hls' site:

http://ve3hls.tripod.com/noise/noise-files/n4ekv-ionic-breeze.mp3

73,
Dave/al2i
 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by K8MHZ on January 13, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I have found that traffic signals disrupt the 2m band, with 146.52 being hit the worst. The signals have what appears to be UHF yagis at their corners. I can hear a signal being given on '52 just before the lights change. I will attempt to get a recording and upload it to the database sites. Also, some days it's terrible, and other days it's almost gone.

K8MHZ
 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by WB3JOK on January 13, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Interesting to see how many people also are complaining of broadband RFI. I thought it was just me!

I'm in northern Maine and there is a rough "buzz" (sounds like 120Hz "hash") extending over most of 40m phone. The odd part is that the "start" frequency varies from 7.220 to 7.240 but it always has a sharp cutoff right at 7.300. It went away for a month or so before Christmas, but when I came back from vacation the buzz was back too.

I'm sure it's not coming from inside my house. There are identifiable internal sources (like the RCA TV downstairs that buzzes every 15.75 KHz up through at least 20m, and my oil burner which after adding a Corcom line filter is much less noticeable).

Anyone else in New England hearing this one?
-Charles
 
What Are All Those Noises?  
by WA4UF on January 13, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
My noise nemesis occured on 6 meters, cropping up in about 10kc wide swatches every 25KHz or so; 50.100,.125,.150 and .175 were all but obliterated by this "zzzzKERCHUNKzzz" noise that cycled every oh, second or so. I tried tracking it to something in the house, clear up to battery-powering the 6m rigs and killing the main breaker - nothing in-house. Moving the quad around isolated it to someplace north or northeast of the house. When I went out and tried some crude DFing mobile, I could never hear it. Then, around Christmastime, it went away and I've not heard it since. Now all I have are what sounds like a couple of AM carriers at about 50.120, which I can work around.
 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by K6BZ on January 13, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
>The odd part is that the "start" frequency varies from 7.220 to 7.240 but it always has a sharp cutoff right at 7.300.

I had the same thing here on the west coast. I too found it curious the sharp cutoff but didn't note the frequency at the time. You could see it plain as day on the scope. Now that I mentioned it, it'll probably return to annoy me.
 
What Are All Those Noises?  
by VE1CZ on January 13, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
As to these noises, try 160 meters, i used to like dxing on 160 until a few years ago a noise that seems to be modulated in some way appeared.The signal levels are often as high as 20 db over 9!!!!!!!!!. Seems to be spaced every 10 kcs or so and it changes frequency.It also is starting to affect 80 meters and to a certain degree 40 meters as well.I guess its time to look for another hobby.By the way this noise is not just in my area as my father who loves about 2 miles from me gets this crap also.Good luck with finding this
Bob VE1CZ
 
What Are All Those Noises?  
by NC9K on January 13, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I've been noticing a wideband digital transmission from about 3872 through 3888 kc. This signal is present only when Radio Germany running 3990 through 4000 kc is receivable here in northern WI. I pick the signal up on both loop antennas and receivers.
 
What Are All Those Noises?  
by W3DCG on January 13, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Last night 80 was in the dumpster to my ears, QRN much worse than what I've been normally hearing.

Re QRM devices I had an intermittent 15 over nine problem, broadspectrum accross all the bands.
Finally traced it to a crazy post-lamp that came with our house, which would turn on around dusk. After that it would randomly turn on and off, and the interference was terrible while the bulb was warming, changing colors until it finally stablized in the bright ON single color phase. I disonnected the evil thing.

I've often wondered about the effect HAARP has on propagation in Alaska and neighboring regions, as well as for paths that pass through HAARP activity, however.
 
What Are All Those Noises?  
by WA3LGG on January 13, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
i get interference on all amateur radio bands, the am broadcast band, fm broadcast band, vhf/uhf tv bands, short wave broadcast bands, cell phone bands,cb radio band, sat tv bands and all bands in between....it's all from the BROADcasts of the transmitter of W-I-F-E, on the air 24/7.....
 
What Are All Those Noises?  
by W6NNABE on January 13, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
If you want to hear some interesting RFI fire up a camera flash (easiest to use for this purpose is a disposable -- those are easiest to control) next to an AM reciever. I don't know what it sounds like when the flash actually goes off, but the sound of the flash charging is a very distinctive slowing sine-curve -- kind of scifi actually. I've never tested it on the shortwave bands, but it works very well in the broadcast band.
 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by KC8VWM on January 13, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I have a camera strobe that generates that special sci fi effect from too.

I think some older sci fi movies actually used things like that in combination with radio equipment to generate those special "UFO" effects... lol

I remember one movie I saw that I was almost sure sounded like they were using a VFO on SSB to tune into an AM signal for a special effect.

I found fish aquarium heaters to be very noisy as sometimes they flicker on and off wreaking havoc with my radio equipment. Similarly, some home thermostats can also have this effect.

I think that the actual electrical mains coming into the house is bringing in a certain level of noise with it.

I wonder if supressing the noise using a clamp on core would work at the electrical box itself?

73

Charles - KC8VWM
 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by WB3JOK on January 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
>>The odd part is that the "start" frequency varies from 7.220 to 7.240 but it always has a sharp cutoff right at 7.300.

>I had the same thing here on the west coast. I too found it curious the sharp cutoff but didn't note the frequency at the time. You could see it plain as day on the scope. Now that I mentioned it, it'll probably return to annoy me.

I tuned my HW-101 outside the phone band for the first time in quite a while :) and also found two other 70 KHz wide bands of the buzz, from about 6995 to 7065 and from 7470 up (the Heath won't tune higher than 7500).

It's there after 11 PM, and again at 7:15 this morning, louder since it started raining yesterday. Don't think it's a television or electric blanket or the streetlamp. Steady, 24 hrs a day as far as I can tell. I'm really puzzled - even if it were a power line/insulator noise radiating from a resonant length of wire, the cutoff on each end of the 60 KHz bands would not be so sharp. It has VERY steep skirts. WTF??
 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by K5FZ on January 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
W6TH

I found that touch lamps produced an interference that seemed to track my transmit freqencies. Might be your problem if there are any in your house or even your neighborhood.

73
 
What Are All Those Noises?  
by AL2I on January 16, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
There are many recent consumer electronic devices that appear to be turned off, but which are actually still on. Most computer motherboards are now in this category because they still have 5v from the supply even when turned off, so that they can monitor for power on LAN. Anything that turns on with a remote control is probably still at least partly on (in some subset of the circuitry) while it waits for the on signal.

If it doesn't have a solid rocker or pushbutton switch that interrupts the power feed, then it probably has at least 5 Volts running from the supply to the system.

QRN has become much worse in the 30+ years since I was a Novice, and it only promises to get worse as a plethora of consumer electronics and assinine cr*p like BPL is more widely implemented in the USA.

73,
Dave/al2i
 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by WB3JOK on January 17, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Late Fri. night for the first time the buzz became amplitude modulated... sounded like a diarrheic cow. (A "squirting" sound, fast rise in amplitude, slowly diminishing to baseline, repeating every four seconds). I have noticed that my laptop switching supply sometimes makes similar slow "squirts", although all across the band, when charging the battery. Maybe it's a neighbor with a computer... I guess I'll have to start walking around the neighborhood with a hand-held Yagi ;)

 
What Are All Those Noises?  
by K7AAB on January 18, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Not sure if anyone else is receiving it , but for the first time I am receiving an s9 to 10+ level of a continuous "sweeping" static that peaks at 1.5 second intervals. Is this some kind of radar?

Collin Dvorak

K7AAB
 
Noise is big  
by INPROGRESS on January 19, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
From the level of interest I am reading in this posting, I think we need a eHam Forum dedicated just to discussing Noise. Having a forum on a well known ham resource like eHam.net could be a significant help to a lot of hams. Noise samples could be posted elsewhere.
 
RE: Noise is big  
by K5FZ on January 21, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Has anyone else heard that strange noise at the top of the 80 meter band? It starts at 3990 and extends beyond 4000. It runs S9 or better across the entire 13 or 14 kc band width. I can usually hear it after 10:00 PM central time. Does anyone know it's source?

73,
Rich
 
RE: What Are All Those Noises?  
by IV3SBE on January 23, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Well finally i discovered why i could not do Radio in the evening, my wife's computer was a constant source of 9+20 noise from 0 to 30 Mhz.
After swearing all calendar days, i just remembered to had replace the Power supply of the PC with a more powerfull one, retaining the old one. Well after switching the old back there comes the life of HF band.

Poor chinese power supply for PC should be never sold!

Another source of garbage noise was from the power supply of an AGFA Flatbed Scanner.

So to end, most of the noise we experience in our shack can be easily traced with a little effort. Just imagine what will happen with BPL, or with the new Italian power company that is replacing all meters with a remote controlled ones for remote reading, kind of BPL transmission.

Have a battery powered day , won't you??

Ciao

http://www.iv3sbe.webfundis.net KNW mods, multiband no trap antennas and much more.
 
What Are All Those Noises?  
by TJH32566 on January 26, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
http://www.brojon.org/frontpage/bj1203.html check this link and you can hear HAARP sounds and compare to what you are hearing!!
 
RE: Noise is big  
by DD3EO on February 7, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
@K5FZ: It is most likely Deutsche Welle transmitting their program using DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale).
More information can be found here: www.drm.org

Expect more of that in the coming years, as Europe is rapidly moving towards digital radio.

 
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