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Author Topic: Question for Elmer - Audio blip when turning off any power source in my house  (Read 4585 times)
KD2CJJ
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Posts: 369




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« on: April 21, 2013, 12:32:21 PM »

Elmers,

I have had this very annoying thing now since buying my first radio.  When I turn off or on a light source, etc. in my house I get a blip on my radio (I see the S meter go to like 10+) the agc kicks in then it quiets down then comes back up.... Its the same exact symptom if there is lighting in the area.  What really annoys me is when I start to rotate my antenna left or right I get the exact same symptom pressing then releasing the buttons.  I have two different antenna's same issue, 3 different radios, same issue.  Its almost like there is a micro surge, EMP or some noise in the electrical wiring when turing on or off anything in my house.

I have all my equipment plugged into a monster power strip with noise filters, I have even tried putting it into my TripLite UPS which has noise filters and Auto Voltage Circuit - that didn't help (unless of course I unplug it from the wall).

So, I suspect its more of a EMP in my house traveling over my electrical wiring?? 

Elmers... I am stumped!

Thanks
Mike
KD2CJJ
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73

Mike
KD2CJJ
AC5UP
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Posts: 3825




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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2013, 01:46:15 PM »

Unplug the antenna from the radio. Do you still hear blips when something is turned on or off?

If you do the power supply may have poor filtering or a touch of overshoot when the AC voltage changes, but I'm going to guess the blips go away. That's because something common to all three antennas is near enough to house wiring, street wiring, or a drop transformer that it can read the mail on your AC power service Q-5. Also possible your feedline has some shielding issues. Ladder line or coax?

A little tweak & listen could be the fix, starting with whatever might be common to everything. (?)
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KD2CJJ
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Posts: 369




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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2013, 03:00:43 PM »


OK.. I did the test... and yes after unplugging the antennas (putting the switch to center) the issue went away!

So what your telling me is there is some small EMP coming off my electrical into the antenna?  Do you have any recommendation to stop this?

Unplug the antenna from the radio. Do you still hear blips when something is turned on or off?

If you do the power supply may have poor filtering or a touch of overshoot when the AC voltage changes, but I'm going to guess the blips go away. That's because something common to all three antennas is near enough to house wiring, street wiring, or a drop transformer that it can read the mail on your AC power service Q-5. Also possible your feedline has some shielding issues. Ladder line or coax?

A little tweak & listen could be the fix, starting with whatever might be common to everything. (?)
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73

Mike
KD2CJJ
K0IZ
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Posts: 737




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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2013, 03:21:25 PM »

What does "putting the switch to center" mean?
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KD2CJJ
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Posts: 369




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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2013, 03:28:10 PM »

Setting the position of my antenna switch to ground..
What does "putting the switch to center" mean?
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73

Mike
KD2CJJ
VA7CPC
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Posts: 2360




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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2013, 05:33:04 PM »

If you don't have a balun at the feedpoint of your antenna, try adding one. 

If you don't have a blun at the rig-to-coax connection, try adding one.  Or put a few ferrite chokes around the coax, where. it plugs into the rig

If the _whole coax_ is acting as an antenna,  that might fix the problem.  Your rig _should_ be insensitive to common-mode noise, but that doesn't mean it _is_ insensitive.

.            Charles
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W6EM
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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2013, 05:44:39 PM »

Mike:

From what you describe, it isn't a radio problem.  Or, an antenna problem.  Your radios are, via your antennas, likely picking up broadband noise from an electrical arc of some sort.  It may be a bit of a challenge, but, I think I can help you.

You will need to do a few tests for me.....with antennas connected.

You said that whenever you turn anything on, a spike occurs.  Are the things you are talking about primarily lights, small appliances, etc?  All of them being 120V, as I suspect, involve increases in current through one or possibly two hot legs and your neutral conductor.

The first test you will need to do is have someone turn only 240 volt appliances on and off to see if the zap still occurs.  An electric clothes dryer or an electric range oven, or your air conditioning condenser unit.  Do this while you are listening.  Does the zap still happen?

If it does, one of the two hot leg incoming service wires is probably damaged, or one of the main lugs on your panel is likely loose.

 If it does not occur when you switch only 240 volt appliances on and off, it is likely a loose main neutral lug in your main panel or a broken or damaged neutral on the utility service drop to your home.  You may also want to use a good RMS voltmeter and see if both 120V hot legs are balanced.  Another symptom of a damaged or open neutral is unbalanced low or high voltage from hot leg to neutral.

« Last Edit: April 21, 2013, 05:51:41 PM by W6EM » Logged
W0BTU
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« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2013, 06:22:42 PM »

What kind of antennas do you have, and how close are they to your house?

And what band(s) does this happen on?
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K8AXW
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Posts: 3692




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« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2013, 06:35:15 PM »

Whenever any electrical circuit in the house is opened, like turning off a light, the switch contacts creates an arc.  This arc is the same as the old time "spark" transmitters.  It's basically a radio wave.

Closing a switch can do the same but is not as prevalent.  The only time this doesn't happen is when the AC cycle is crossing the "zero" point.  I mention this because you can open and close a switch several times and it won't create a spark every time.

Since this is happening with two antennas and three radios the only common thing is your house wiring.  I'm wondering if your house has been wired with aluminum wire?  Is the entrance panel adequately grounded with outside ground rods?  

Does this happen with any switch or load in the house?  If it's confined to say, one or two switches that get operated quite a bit, it's possible that these switches need to be replaced.  A switch that has contacts that are dragging because of surface erosion, corroded pivot points, etc. will cause a longer make/break time which promotes spark formation.

It would be interesting to monitor your AC with an O'scope while switches are opened and closed throughout the house.  



Al - K8AXW
« Last Edit: April 21, 2013, 06:38:24 PM by K8AXW » Logged
W6EM
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Posts: 739




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« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2013, 06:50:37 PM »


OK.. I did the test... and yes after unplugging the antennas (putting the switch to center) the issue went away!

So what your telling me is there is some small EMP coming off my electrical into the antenna?  Do you have any recommendation to stop this?

The receiver did not respond to the arc with antennas disconnected according to what Mike said.  His antennas are picking up the arcing.

He said that if anything electrical (presumably 120v) is operated in his home, including his rotor, it produces the arc/zap.

It isn't an antenna problem, and most likely not a single switch due to the involvement of many 120volt loads and several diverse sections of his AC branch circuit wiring.
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KD2CJJ
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Posts: 369




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« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2013, 08:55:09 PM »


Yes I originally i thought it was coming via the electrical socket but in fact it is coming via the antenna since if I disconnect the antenna the issue doesn't surface.

My house is fully wired with copper latest standards..

I talked to my dad today who is also a ham and he also experiences this but generally only if he turns on his fluorescent  lights.

Now hear this..I can turn on devices like my pc on the same circuit and I don't have the issue...it truly is related to the micro arc giving off a radio signal...

Any other opinions on how I can combat this?


OK.. I did the test... and yes after unplugging the antennas (putting the switch to center) the issue went away!

So what your telling me is there is some small EMP coming off my electrical into the antenna?  Do you have any recommendation to stop this?

The receiver did not respond to the arc with antennas disconnected according to what Mike said.  His antennas are picking up the arcing.

He said that if anything electrical (presumably 120v) is operated in his home, including his rotor, it produces the arc/zap.

It isn't an antenna problem, and most likely not a single switch due to the involvement of many 120volt loads and several diverse sections of his AC branch circuit wiring.

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73

Mike
KD2CJJ
ZS5WC
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Posts: 410


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« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2013, 11:35:25 PM »

 Smiley Switch on the rig noise blanker (NB) , make sure the levels are set correctly.
The NB is designed to remove inpulse noise exactly as you are describing.
The pickup of local noise is entirely normal, but the NB should remove it.

73
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K1CJS
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Posts: 5889




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« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2013, 04:16:43 AM »

Check your grounding system and its connections including the shack grounds and the interconnection to the electrical ground.  Even with a dipole, the ground is still a part of the antenna, and yours may be troublesome.
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W6EM
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Posts: 739




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« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2013, 06:03:18 AM »


Yes I originally i thought it was coming via the electrical socket but in fact it is coming via the antenna since if I disconnect the antenna the issue doesn't surface.

My house is fully wired with copper latest standards..

I talked to my dad today who is also a ham and he also experiences this but generally only if he turns on his fluorescent  lights.

Now hear this..I can turn on devices like my pc on the same circuit and I don't have the issue...it truly is related to the micro arc giving off a radio signal...

Any other opinions on how I can combat this?


OK.. I did the test... and yes after unplugging the antennas (putting the switch to center) the issue went away!

So what your telling me is there is some small EMP coming off my electrical into the antenna?  Do you have any recommendation to stop this?

The receiver did not respond to the arc with antennas disconnected according to what Mike said.  His antennas are picking up the arcing.

He said that if anything electrical (presumably 120v) is operated in his home, including his rotor, it produces the arc/zap.

It isn't an antenna problem, and most likely not a single switch due to the involvement of many 120volt loads and several diverse sections of his AC branch circuit wiring.

Now saying that your PC does not produce the "pop" in your receiver is not quite what you first implied: that everything was producing the arcing when switched on.  So, if only some appliances or switches do, it sounds even more like a neutral problem.  Try the 240 volt appliances and see if they produce the noise.  Open or damaged neutral connections are safety hazards and can have disastrous consequences.   Best to find the problem now before something really serious occurs.
73,
Lee
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KE3WD
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Posts: 5694




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« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2013, 06:07:03 AM »

**Is the Antenna System grounded to a separate Ground Rod that is perhaps not bonded to the main electrical panel Ground?**


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