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Author Topic: Seasonal AC Line Noise  (Read 1488 times)

Posts: 15

« on: May 23, 2002, 05:16:24 PM »

Here in our local area serviced by PG&E they used to wash off the poles that had transformers on them to reduce arcing which obviously reduced their efficiency of power transmission thusly creating losses and losing money by virtue of that fact, but alas they do it NO MORE!!! Also what is a fact is that when it rains the inherent AC line noise level drops off to practically NIL which for we who use HF is great!!! I've been contemplating using a garden hose and a metal spray nozzle with a narrow stream to shoot up a stream of water to wash the xfmr and insulators on a particular pole to help keep down the noise, but what I'd like to know is that if I tried something like that would I be in danger of a arc occurring which would flow down the solid stream of water to me while I was holding it??? The stream of water would probably be about 25ft to the xfmr and insulators??? I'd rather ask now than be dead later!!!


Posts: 21764

« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2002, 05:21:19 PM »


Not recommended.

Although if you'll name me as your beneficiary on a really good life insurance policy first, I might come up and help you with this one...from a few feet back.

I have also been seriously tempted to put my local transformers and insulators through the wash & rinse cycle, but then figured the risk was a bit high, and I couldn't make my garden hose reach every transformer in the neighborhood, of which there are several, and probably all guilty of generating some noise.

I imagine how risky this is depends on the mineral content in your water supply, but I wouldn't risk it with 7200V at the other end of my stream.


Posts: 60

« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2002, 05:43:12 PM »

Jim - I live close to 200KV PGE lines and got the same response from the PG&E service guys.  Pragmatically, the PG&E service guys are bound by too much work / not enough staff to make this a priority so I can understand where they are coming from.  But, never the less, it was frustrating to be told no.  So, after about a month of dealing with their service supervisor and getting nowhere, I wrote a letter to the president (CEO) of PG&E outlining my complaint, the FCC requirement for emitted noise, who I talked to / their response - all without too much condemnation.  About two weeks later, I received a call from another service manger asking to come to my house to discuss how to mitigate the noise.  They eventaully obtained use of a truck with a turret mounted infrared camera to pinpoint which insulators were susceptable to arching over time (due to dirt/salt buildup).  They got to the root cause quickly and now the noise level is very low.

So I would recommend that you do your homework and then write a constructive note to the president.

Good luck.


Posts: 2080

« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2002, 06:29:18 PM »

Sorry to hear about your poor results with your interference.  I too, would pass on the garden hose approach.

I have some very old and noisy power lines in my neighborhood.  With the use of my AM car radio, I narrowed my power line noise problems down to several power poles within a few block radius of my home.  The noise was always worse when the weather was very dry and got better or went away all together when it rained.  This is a well-documented symptom of noise-generated by bad or dirty insulators.

I called the local power company and asked for their interference department.  I spoke with a knowledgeable engineer and explained that I was a ham operator and that they had "apparent" insulator noise that was impairing my ability to enjoy my hobby.  I provided him with the pole number of several "suspect" poles and the frequencies effected by the RFI.  I made it a point to be direct, accurate and very non-confrontational. He appeared interested and was most accomodating.

A couple of days later, I received a phone call from one of their "Ghost Busters" who confirmed the info and came out to my house to witness the noise on my rig.  He told me that it might take him a few days due to the changes in the weather, but that he was confident he would find the problem.  I saw him in the neighborhood on several occasions using the yagi on his van to sniff the poles.

About a week later, he called me at the office to tell me that he thought he had found the culprit poles and that a crew would be scheduled for repairs.

Two weeks later, the crews were visibly at work on several poles in the neighborhood and the next day, my noise issues were gone.  Three days after that, the engineer called me to see if I was satisfied with the results of their work.

I have repeated this process several times in the last few years, to the extent that the engineer and RFI chaser and I are now on a first name basis.

From the stories that I've read, I consider myself lucky.  In my case, everyone was very helpful.  Someone at my power company must know the FCC rules extremely well and respect them.
73 de Terry, WØFM

Posts: 15

« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2002, 07:35:44 PM »

I really appreciate all of your inputs Guys to my question!!!  Actually PG&E has been fairly well responsive in my noise complaints to them, but unfortunately the same darn problem keeps cropping up each and every dry spell, especially between Late April and Early September without fail with the noise levels between S-7 and S-9+++!!!


Posts: 628

« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2002, 11:17:35 PM »

I have the same issue. The noise begins to build in the afternoon and is quite high by 5 or 6 in the afternoon.  After the sun goes down, it begins to level off and later drops 3 or 4 s units.  It is power line noise I'm hearing, isn't it?
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