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Author Topic: Solar panels causing RFI from afar?  (Read 3797 times)
N7EKU
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Posts: 723




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« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2017, 05:35:36 PM »

Hi,

You don't need anything special to go RFI-hunting.  The most common RFI comes from digital switching in power systems.  These systems often operate in the 50-100kHz range and so generate harmonics from there on up.  So one of the best RFI tools becomes a simple AM radio with a ferrite rod (loop-stick) antenna.  These antennas have a strong null off either end in the direction of the antenna rod.  So if you point it at a noise source, the noise should almost disappear.  You can try this at home to get a feel for it.  Then when checking the neighborhood, when the noise disappears as you rotate the set, the antenna will be pointing directly at the source (or 180 degress from it).  Travelling around, you can triangulate the source.  Don't tune the set to a station, but just to band noise.

Switching noise can come from many many other things than solar arrays.  In fact, I would think that most arrays would be fairly quiet because the installers will be responsible for any noise problems and also would want to pick quality parts if they are going to guarantee their systems.

More noise comes from cheapo switching power supplies, grow light ballasts, etc. that come directly from China with no certification from the FCC, UL or anybody else.  Unfortunately, the government can't afford to check all these things anymore, and anyway when people buy direct from China what can they do?  This is also what brings us laptop batteries and hover boards that catch fire, phone charging cables the electrocute people etc.

The only "approved" RFI-maker that I know of is plasma television sets.  I don't know how those ever got past the FCC.  Luckily no one makes them anymore, and hopefully all the old ones are dying out.

73,


Mark.

I guess it could be that all the RFI I have been hearing/seeing is local after all. Today it is overcast, and the signals are weaker. I wish I could have an FT817, but the lowest price I can find is for a used one on Ebay for $480 - and that's only the current bid.
Perhaps I could rig up my SDRPlay to my Android phone. I read somewhere about a way to do it. There is apparently an app, and then I would just need the proper cable. I would need an external battery source, but that wouldn't be a problem. I have a backpack that could carry all of that.

Might be worth looking into, although I doubt there is anything I could so about the RFI once i found its source.

What happened to part 15? I thought that any device that has the potential to radiate energy needed to be tested and accepted so as not to cause interference to other devices or radio services.
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Mark -- N7EKU/VE3
AE5GT
Member

Posts: 75




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« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2017, 07:29:36 AM »

And you have shut everything down and pulled the main breaker ? with rhe radio on a battery and its still there ?
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K0UA
Member

Posts: 1466




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« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2017, 07:45:22 AM »

And you have shut everything down and pulled the main breaker ? with rhe radio on a battery and its still there ?

If that was asked of me, then yes.  More than once. 
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AE5GT
Member

Posts: 75




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« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2017, 03:31:28 PM »

You might try checking 2 meters , I have used myFT60 and a quick drive around the block to track down noise .If its on the power lines you will know it when you drive under one. 
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W6QW
Member

Posts: 53




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« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2017, 10:32:15 AM »

You may want to also consider the possibility the the RFI is emanating from grow-light ballast(s).  40KHz spaced RFI spikes is a common indicator that cheap import grow-light ballasts being used. Those ballasts radiate well with the associated wiring and can be located quite a distance away.
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K0UA
Member

Posts: 1466




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« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2017, 11:40:19 AM »

You may want to also consider the possibility the the RFI is emanating from grow-light ballast(s).  40KHz spaced RFI spikes is a common indicator that cheap import grow-light ballasts being used. Those ballasts radiate well with the associated wiring and can be located quite a distance away.

That is a distinct possibility. A couple of the more secretive neighbors have raised some suspicions of one of my neighbors who is a highway patrolman.
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N7EKU
Member

Posts: 723




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« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2017, 08:22:38 AM »

You may want to also consider the possibility the the RFI is emanating from grow-light ballast(s).  40KHz spaced RFI spikes is a common indicator that cheap import grow-light ballasts being used. Those ballasts radiate well with the associated wiring and can be located quite a distance away.

That is a distinct possibility. A couple of the more secretive neighbors have raised some suspicions of one of my neighbors who is a highway patrolman.

That's what my noise source was when I had a big RFI problem a few years ago,

It completely wiped the lower HF bands.  It was easy to tell it was from these guys because it was on a timer and started/ended the exact same time everyday.  I talked to them because the police refused to do anything.  I offered to help them with a filter on their lights, but they just shut them off and never turned them on again (or maybe moved them to a different location).

73,


Mark.
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Mark -- N7EKU/VE3
ZENKI
Member

Posts: 1439




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« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2017, 08:07:58 PM »

The typical birdie pattern that spreads across the ham bands is typically Inverter noise not noise from the  Solar panels MPPT controllers. The cheap chinese inverters are the worst offenders. Many of the European Inverters like SMA-Sunnyboy and many of the well designed Italian Inverters are noise free. Every time I have come across a birdie generator its been a cheap far east inverter. The worst are the grid feed inverters which go into idle at night however still generator a constant amplitude of birdies across the bands.

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