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Author Topic: Power line noise- an update...  (Read 7735 times)
WB0CJB
Member

Posts: 38




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« on: March 15, 2014, 09:16:19 AM »

I had been plagued by a very persistent noise issue in the neighborhood I live in for the past 2 years. The noise level was as high as S9+15 dB (on 40 meters) with the noise blanker off on my TS-520S. I couldn't use my Drake TR-4C as it hasn't got a noise blanker. There were times the noise would cut out and the noise dropped to an S7 level. Even with the noise blanker on the noise was still an S7. I had been doing some searching and thought I had it located to a certain area. But after the local power company checked the sources and found nothing wrong I decided to keep a low profile and "tough it out", still determined to find the source beyond a shadow of a doubt.

I did remember that the noise issue began was when a new street nearby was being occupied with a couple of new residences around 2012. There were times the weather would be fairly warm (70 degrees) and the noise would go away (always sunny days) but the no matter how much rain we got the noise remained. At times the noise quit and I was able to use my Drake rig and it was great to enjoy a much quieter band. But there was never a set pattern of when it would show up or quit. Sometimes it would quit in the middle of the night and sometimes it would be continuous. It wasn't any of the street lights and I would always watch and report any lights that repeatedly shut off and turn on, even checking the faulty ones for noise when I was on the air. I did have one turn off and on about 4 houses away on an adjacent street. The noise would start up and build until the light shut off and then the cycle repeated itself (it was most prevalent on 80). I had the radio up loud and I could watch the light and listen to the noise as it did its cycling. Someone else called it in and in 2 days it was fixed.

About 2 weeks ago a couple of new homes were set in place on the street that was originated in 2012. It was about the same time my wife noticed a couple of local power company trucks leaving the area after hooking the power to them. I also noted the noise was now down to an S3 with my noise blanker off. I checked it again the next weekend at diffent times and the noise was virtually the same much to my happiness. I have even been able to use my Drake transceiver at will.

To make a long story short I asked a local club member who works for the power company about if he had worked on the new residential service crews (he didn't). He told me he had mentioned my noise issue to them. The power company found that there were 13 houses connected to one power transformer. Evidently after that was resolved my noise problem went away. I am somewhat curious about the location of the misconnection and what 13 houses were connected. It irritates me though that crap like that is done far more times than not and how much of this is done all over the US.

So if you notice a new house or new addition has been built and now you have noise when you didn't before the new addition showed up give the local power or cable company a call. Obviously something isn't right and we need to stay vocal in the war against RFI.

Paul WB0CJB

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W7HBP
Member

Posts: 166




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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2014, 04:13:25 PM »

Dont overlook the dope growers. Apparently there is a slug of grow lights that is way over allowable RF, here is the info right from the ARRL.

http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-to-fcc-grow-light-ballast-causes-hf-interference-violates-rules
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ARRL Life Member|QRZ Life Member
HFCRUSR
Member

Posts: 139




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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2014, 04:27:24 PM »

Dont overlook the dope growers. Apparently there is a slug of grow lights that is way over allowable RF, here is the info right from the ARRL.

http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-to-fcc-grow-light-ballast-causes-hf-interference-violates-rules
This was my problem a couple years back with a neighbor. As soon as I told him the problem, and that I had the RFI pinpointed as his house's garage area, I stopped hearing that RFI and haven't heard it since. This is a clip of what it sounded like and how it affected the bands.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqZO9HoJgTg
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K7KB
Member

Posts: 618




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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2014, 09:19:30 AM »

I'm really glad the ARRL is taking a more forceful stance against the rule violations caused by these grow lamp balasts produced and distributed by various companies. As someone who has had to suffer S9 interference across the HF band from a neighbors personal crop operation, I hope this fight continues to make them accountable for their interference. Now that Washington and Colorado is ramping up for licensed marijuana production, it's even more important to make the regulatory bodies in those states aware of the problems caused by these lamps and ballasts.

John K7KB
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W3HKK
Member

Posts: 621




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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2014, 05:36:37 PM »

Congrats on  being able to ham again!

I had  20 over PL noise for a year.  After driving the car with my am radio tuned to 1650 kHz,  a friend and I located two  power line poles that seemed to be the source.  The local utility was cooperative and they  stopped by so I could show them the problem.  The pole with the loudest noise was inspected, and all hardware tightened down.  No change.  Still 20 over noise.

So I had them check the next pole over.  As soon as the utility truck shut off its engine, parked directly under pole #2, the lineman said, Its the lighning arrestor arcing to ground. I can hear it from the truck.  Sure enough, apparently it took one hit too many and was broken, but the gap wasn't big enough to prevent a constant arc.  They got a replacement arrestor and a few hours later I was  relatively noise-free.

I now get  intermittent S7 noise from a different direction, but its  only 10% of the time and much less of a problem.  finding intermittents is  a challenge.

As you eliminate the big noise producers, you can then hear the weaker ones, further away! Smiley
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KI6LZ
Member

Posts: 602




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« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2014, 05:42:22 PM »

Yep, same here, lightning arrestor. Now other noise problems. Just like peeling an onion.
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NK7Z
Member

Posts: 880


WWW

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« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2014, 06:36:37 PM »

I have created a petition which will if it gets 100,000 signatures, the
administration will review it.  It might actually make a difference! 

It is a request to have the FCC change the way they perform enforcement
for RFI problems.  Currently YOU, or your assignee, have to locate the
RFI source in order for a letter to go out from the FCC. 

This petition requests that that be changed in a way that forces the FCC
to locate the source, and once located ban it from coming back, or being
imported again into the US.  If you wish to sign this petition go to:
http://wh.gov/lpz5Y

Once it gets 150 signatures, it gets placed in the open on the White
House site, in a much more prominent position.  This should then drive
more signatures simply because more people will see it and sign. 

Please consider signing this petition.  If you agree, tell your friends,
post a link to it in a mail list...  So what you can to get signatures
on it please...
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Thanks,
Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
WX7G
Member

Posts: 6329




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« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2014, 07:39:45 AM »

Electronic devices can fully comply with FCC conducted and radiated emissions requirements yet radiate enough RF to interfere with amateur radio communications. The FCC has this covered and it is mentioned in OET62. As it is written the petition will not solve the problem. It needs to be rewritten so that it forces the FCC to strongly enforce already existing rules and regulation in a timely manner. I recommend that an attorney write the final draft.  

http://transition.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Engineering_Technology/Documents/bulletins/oet62/oet62rev.pdf

The FCC already has this covered in OET62 and section 15.5 is quoted below:

What happens if a digital device causes interference?

"Digital devices that comply with the FCC technical standards and have been certified
and marketed in accordance with the FCC rules may not cause interference and must
accept any interference that they receive. This means that the user of a personal
computer may be required to shut the computer off if it is found to be causing
interference to any authorized radio communications, such as police, fire, TV or radio,
even if the computer has been certified and has an FCC ID tag on it to prove it. In the
event that this happens, the user will be allowed to resume use of the computer only
after the cause of the interference problem has been eliminated."

« Last Edit: March 27, 2014, 07:46:21 AM by WX7G » Logged
NK7Z
Member

Posts: 880


WWW

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« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2014, 07:58:17 AM »

Electronic devices can fully comply with FCC conducted and radiated emissions requirements yet radiate enough RF to interfere with amateur radio communications. The FCC has this covered and it is mentioned in OET62. As it is written the petition will not solve the problem. It needs to be rewritten so that it forces the FCC to strongly enforce already existing rules and regulation in a timely manner. I recommend that an attorney write the final draft.  
I actually doubt that it will hit 100,000 sigs, I wish it would, if so, it won't be me that deals with making it real...  It will be a lawyer as you suggest, in fact if it were to turn out that it would be taken seriously I would pass it to the ARRL to finish.  This is to get the attention of the administration.  I will be surprised if it gets the 150 sigs needed to be placed on the open Whitehouse.gove site at all, which is a statement as to how much Hams really want RFI gone...  What I am seeing are very disappointing results in the signature numbers given the amount of people griping about RFI, it would seem that getting 150 sigs would be easy...  Guess not...
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Thanks,
Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
K1AVE
Member

Posts: 16




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« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2014, 03:17:29 PM »

I've found two more sources of broadband RFI in the house. The first is really ugly and was producing 30 - 40 over 9 signals from BC to 24 meters. It turned out to be the lamp controller in the new kitchen hutch. It's one of those "touch the hinge to turn on the lamps" features. This one is a three stage one. Three touches: the first low, second medium and the third high, next off..... The noise is present even when the lamps are off. Guess you know it's unplugged now!
The second is the switching PS for an IGLOO solid state cooler. Really broadband too.

Another possible source is the garage door opener - a bit of sniffing with the FT-817 seems to point to that as a minor problem. Going to install ferrites on the power cord, safety switch and manual switch inputs and see what happens there.

Suggestion:
Get a copy of the Spectran audio analyzer program and look at the noise with the Rx set to AM. Peaks at 120 Hz and it's harmonics may indicate HV insulator or lightning arrestor breakdown. The power company would probably help locate that problem, being in it's best interest to do so.
Onward -
Gene - K1AVE
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WX7G
Member

Posts: 6329




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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2014, 03:36:56 PM »

Or unplug the garage door opener. If the noise changes, it's the culprit. There's really no need to walk around one's home with a receiver sniffing out noise sources. Simply shut off AC power to each room to find which room the noise source is in. Then unplug devices in that room to find the noise maker.
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