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Author Topic: driving my neighbor nuts...  (Read 6977 times)
KG2V
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Posts: 29




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« on: December 18, 2005, 12:59:21 PM »

It seems I'm causing my neighbor some fairly severe RFI - mostly on 40m.  Now, there is only one item in my house that gets effected (cheap computer speakers), and in fact, some of my neighbors stuff gets effected when I'm NOT on the air - it seems stuff in his house gets effected by the slightest RFI (like the truckers with their overpowered CBs on the highway a block or 2 away)

Thing is, while trying to wok KP5 on Friday evening, I get a call - not only was I coming in on his TV, his sound system, but I managed to reboot the computer in his STOVE - all while nothing was happening in my house
Any ideas where I should start?  He's a good neighbor who doesn't complain much,. and will call if I'm causing problems.  I'd love to solve this, so I can work 40m on weekends
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N6CHV
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« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2005, 10:34:30 PM »

I suspect that his house wiring is not properly grounded.
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KG2V
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Posts: 29




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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2005, 07:07:48 AM »

That was my first guess - now the question - how do I check this - I'd really love to be able operate 40m
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AA4PB
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Posts: 15042




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« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2005, 12:00:46 PM »

Where is your antenna in relation to his house and to any overhead drop from the power pole to his house? How much power are you running?

I seriously doubt that grounding of his electrical system has anything to do with it. Even a perfectly functioning electrical ground is not an RF ground.
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Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
KG2V
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Posts: 29




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« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2005, 12:22:36 PM »

The antenna is right over my roof - I's say about 20 feet from the near side of his house (lots are 40x100)

Power drops are underground - I believe his drop is on the other side of the house, however, I amd NOT 100% certain

Power levels of < 100 watts will cause problems - 100 on most of the devices, and if I turn on the 300 watt amp....
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 21836




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« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2005, 01:38:04 PM »

>driving my neighbor nuts...  Reply  
by KG2V on December 18, 2005  Mail this to a friend!  
I managed to reboot the computer in his STOVE<

::Apply for the new WAS (Worked All Stoves), you could be #1.  Seriously, I'd have to ask:

1.  How do you know for sure this happened?
2.  How do you know it was your transmission that caused it to happen?
3.  Have you tried running a "test loop" on your transmitter and then going next door to see what's going on?  (This is strongly recommended by anyone who knows anything about RFI troubleshooting.  You can't debug anything without actually seeing it occur.)

WB2WIK/6
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KG2V
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Posts: 29




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« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2005, 04:19:55 PM »

The main reasons I know it happened (well NOT the stove, but the other problems are

1)The neighbor has actually put the phone next to some of the units so I can HEAR myself
2)Reason I know it's me - see #1 - there are times when it is NOT me, and the neighbor agrees
3)and probably one of the big reasons I know what is going on - I TRUST my neighbor - we have talked back and forth while I ran tests

Believe it or not - I actually am blessed with good neighbors on BOTH sides - one set of which does, and one set does NOT have RFI problems.  The reason I worry about this is that I LIKE my neighbors, and they like me, and I want to KEEP it this way - heck, he's even climbed my roof to help me hang antennas
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VE3IOS
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Posts: 79




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« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2005, 08:12:55 AM »

How is your station grounded? Such as length of ground leads, type and depth of ground rods etc.
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 18456




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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2005, 01:15:02 PM »

For the stereo speakers, first make sure than any patch
cables between units are shielded.  If they have a system
of separates, put on a transmitter loop and help your
neighbor unplug them one at a time to try to track down
where the RF is getting into the system.  The likely
spots are a patch cable or pickup on the speaker wires.
In the latter case, ferrite cores on the wires where they
attach to the amplifier may help, or even RF chokes in
series with each wire.

If the TV interference happens regardless of the channel
to which it is tuned, it also is likely due to fundamental
overload, and any wires coming into it should be filtered.

If you suspect RF coming in via the power lines, one thing
that I have found handy is an extension cord wrapped
around a ferrite rod (or on a toroid core.)  This can
be plugged in between the outlet and the power cord to
a specific device - if it makes a difference, then there
likely is RF coming in that way.

But, the stove???  If you can really prove that it was
reset by RF, then I'd call the manufacturer and complain.  

In general, any long wire attached to electronic equipment
(speaker wires, cable connection, power cords) can act
as an antenna, and should be filtered.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2005, 09:09:03 AM »

All of Dale's advice is very good, but I'd still run the "test tape" to figure out what's going to work and what's just wasting time.

Especially since you like your neighbors and they like you, this should be an easy one.  If your rig has a memory keyer, use CW and record a message like, "TEST TEST TEST DE KG2V TEST TEST TEST DE KG2V" or something similar.  If the band has propagation, pick a really odd frequency that nobody's likely to use.  If the band has no propagation (like 10m at night, or 160m during the day), you can probably use just about any frequency.

If you have no memory keyer, you can make an audio test tape and do the same thing, but in the "phone" band.

Once you're playing the loop, go to the neighbor's house and experiment with solutions as Dale suggests.  Ferrites, shielding, grounding variations -- all sorts of things can work, but it is by far easier to experiment with them as the interference is actually occurring, so you instantly know if you're doing any good.

This kind of de-bugging RFI can go very quickly if you do it right, and take hours, days or weeks if you're just stabbing in the dark without a signal to verify the solution.

WB2WIK/6
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KC2MMI
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Posts: 831




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« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2005, 05:55:14 PM »

There IS a thread about stoves and RFI and fix kits, I think on this forum from 6-9 months ago. Apparently there are retrofits that the stove manufacturers ARE aware of, and the new computerized stoves may require them if there's a ham nearby. Look for the thread, contact the stove maker, and regardless of the other issues--have them send the kit. Apparently this is just manufacturing economics, i.e. they know the stoves are vulnerable, they know the components should be installed on each one (so a stove can't turn itself on some night and start a fire) but the kits cost too much compared to the infrequent need for them.

I'd start with testing the utility power and the grounding on the breaker/entry panels to look for a gross fault. Since electricians cost money, it might pay to contact the local power company, explain that you have a problem and suspect a bad ground, and see if they'll send someone out to check the supply side at no charge. Many will. And of course, a little 3-LED outlet tester can give you a quick indication of premises wiring problems. Any chance his house is one of the ones with aluminum wire that sometimes weren't retrofitted, and sometimes were just retrofitted badly?

Shortcuts and loose wires in house wiring...sometimes I just wonder why homes don't go up in flames more often. Too many folks say "Well, your light bulbs work so the power MUST be good enough!".
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WY7I
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« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2006, 09:52:58 AM »

Don't put a ferrite choke on high-end speaker wires from the guy's stereo. If you do, you run the risk of blowing out the tweeters. I did this several times until I realize the ferrite choke was causing it.

Paul
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N5LRZ
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« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2006, 08:45:45 PM »

First let us get the legal stuff out of the way...

IF your radio meets the specs as stated in the rules and regs.

IF you do not run power in excess of the power authrized in the rules and regs.

IF your station in general can pass an FCC station inspection in that your equipment does not violate FCC rules and regs.

Remember that as long as you are a legal/license operator and your equipment meets the specs of the rules and regs the problem is HIS and not yours.

Then you have nothing to fear.  All the devices you mentioned per FCC regs are NOT licensed by the FCC and therefore must take whatever is thrown at them.  If you have a problem with your TV, etc then you fix it.  If he has a problem with his TV, etc then HE must fix it.  Give him the FCC and the ARRL web pages and have him request the TVI Problem Solving booklet that I think is still available today.

However, going hmmm, I have to agree with the fellow who said that it sounds like a grounding problem of the electrical system of his entire house.

R Arceneaux
N5LRZ
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2006, 05:28:24 AM »

Under no circumstances should you modify or change, in any way, any devices on your neighbors property.  If you do, and ANYTHING goes wrong later, you could be held liable for any and ALL damages.  I would find a third party, perhaps the interference committee of a local club, to come in and suggest things that the neighbor can do himself OR can have a professional do to correct the problems.

Dennis KG4RUL
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N0AH
Member

Posts: 13




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« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2006, 04:46:30 PM »

Cure 98% of their problems, and the remaining 2% becomes 100% again.

Don't touch anything in their house.  Trust me, what can go wrong, will-

Give a copy of your FCC license and an RFI book.  

A good list of RFI proof phone makers is a good idea too. Or, send him to HRO for phone filters.

You have to understand, and make him understand, it is his problem plauged equiment and appliances that are the problem.  You have full federal authority to operate.

If you keep giving up ground, your whipped.

I've been through this. Tried to be the all in all great ham fix it all.  Got my neighbor to finally move.  He was an audiofile (phile?) who knew nothing about his rat shack connectors or his big screen's lack of filtering.  It was all my fault until one day, after curing 98% of his problems, he became irate of the 2% I could cure.

Seriously, he moved over it- I never was rude.  

Your FCC license carries weight and no local, regional, state etc.....government can mess with you-

Only suggestion I have to try different antennas. A top loaded vertical made by Cushcraft, MA8040V might be a solution-

GL, been there-

Paul  N0AH
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