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Link Posted: 3/4/2016 8:13:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By David0858:


This started last Wednesday morning, 02/03. It was there when I turned the radio on. I've had one morning (Saturday) when it wasn't there for an a hour or two on 17m (still on 20m some), then it came back and a couple hours one night when it wasn't as bad (Sat too, I think). You can hear a few strong signals over the QRM, but even on them it gives them a real raspy sound. It's been in 20m for a few weeks now, but not as bad and now it's across the whole radio.



I brought in a battery and disconnected my electricity after the meter base. No change, so it's not something I'm running here that's causing it.



Here's a video I recorded of it. It's actually louder than it sounds as the phone mic is facing away from the radio and my voice facing toward it. My wife is sleeping so I can't turn it up more.



QRM



I pulled out a scanner, put it on a CB Freq, held it up to a window and it's coming in on  it too.



Any ideas where I go from here????
View Quote
Fox hunt the interference and report it to the FCC.



 
Link Posted: 3/5/2016 1:41:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/5/2016 1:45:49 AM EDT by David0858]
The power company guy with the detection equipment came back this morning, searched for a little while longer and gave up. He can't find it. He can hear it on his equipment, his equipment picks it up strong hooked to my antenna, it messes up the AM radio in his truck and it's strong enough to wipe everything out up to at least 45 Mhz but he can't find where it's coming from.

I did find out his problem, though. He has no real training in this. He said he was supposed to go to a training class last year but the company didn't budget the money for it but thinks they will send him this year. He has a new van, a lot of expensive equipment but no training. The company paid for all that but hasn't paid for any real training for him to use it.

He said there's someone he's used before on cases he couldn't find and he's going to try to get them out next week. So far he's never blown me off or fed me a line of crap to put me off so once again we'll see.

After all this and a month later I still don't have a usable radio.


Link Posted: 3/5/2016 4:22:14 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/5/2016 4:45:42 AM EDT by Gamma762]
I almost posted yesterday, that he can have all the equipment in the world but without the knowledge to use it correctly it's going to be useless.

If you could put together a setup like I mentioned you could find the problems pretty quickly. Even if you have to buy an HT to do it, it might be worth it to you. We might have to do a little investigating to find one that has that mode+band.

You could do it on VHF but the antenna would be much larger and the precision would be much less.

A quick google search found some articles that indicate that the Yaesu VX-5R,  FT50 and FT60 models will do AM on 440. That plus a homebrew "cheap yagi", coax and connector and you should be set.
Link Posted: 3/5/2016 4:44:10 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Gamma762:
I almost posted yesterday, that he can have all the equipment in the world but without the knowledge to use it correctly it's going to be useless.

If you could put together a setup like I mentioned you could find the problems pretty quickly. Even if you have to buy an HT to do it, it might be worth it to you. We might have to do a little investigating to find one that has that mode+band.

You could do it on VHF but the antenna would be much larger and the precision would be much less.
View Quote


There's no money for ANY extra equipment in my budget in the near future, but I think if I could have used his for 30 minutes I could have found the problem(s).  I'm hope the guy he's supposed to bring out next week that knows what he's doing can find the problem. If not, I don't know what plan B is.

I found two problem poles to start with, then after he left today I went back out with the car AM radio and the two poles I originally found are still the ones putting out the noise. For some reason they are convinced these aren't the bad poles, though. These are the two I have been trying to get them to look at since this began but they won't. The two poles they reworked were making no noise on my AM radio.

I could cobble up an antenna but I don't have a portable radio to hook it to and even if I did I don't think they would take my word for it.
Link Posted: 3/5/2016 4:52:48 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/5/2016 4:54:28 AM EDT by Gamma762]
If you had the setup I mentioned it would be blatantly obvious when you locate noise sources. Like, you point the beam at them and you get a tremendous nasty noise. In some cases you can actually identify the exact pieces of hardware that the the noise sources, it can be that precise.



If you were in a rural area, at night you can often visually see the arcing that causes the noise.
Link Posted: 3/5/2016 8:17:36 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Gamma762:
If you had the setup I mentioned it would be blatantly obvious when you locate noise sources. Like, you point the beam at them and you get a tremendous nasty noise. In some cases you can actually identify the exact pieces of hardware that the the noise sources, it can be that precise.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EaJDw2ibDY

If you were in a rural area, at night you can often visually see the arcing that causes the noise.
View Quote


You would think so.
Link Posted: 3/5/2016 9:41:59 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By shropshireslasher:


Please DO NOT EVER HIT UTILITY POLES FOR ANY REASON!

Mike Martin (K3RFI) of RFI Services did a fantastic day-long seminar on (surprise!) RFI at the ARRL Centennial a couple of years ago.  One of the stories he mentioned was him hitting poles with a hammer and having a piece of the pole's electrical hardware fall into AND THROUGH his hard hat that nearly killed him, much to the horror of the long term care facility residents across the street.  Between that and showing that there is sometimes over 100V on the "ground" conductor of a utility pole, it is best to steer well clear of physical contact with all utility equipment.  In fact, Mike says that more RFI problems are caused by people hitting the poles than are solved even if you don't get hit by a falling object or bring the whole pole down as one idiot Mike described in a story had done after hitting the pole for years.

The best thing to do is to locate the source of the noise using the techniques in the ARRL's RFI Handbook or other similar literature and submit that information to the utility in question.  If you don't get a good response, start looking up people in management on LinkedIn or Google and keep asking the question until someone does something about it.  They eventually will if for no other reason that the regulatory authorities may eventually get involved.  Mike Gruber at the ARRL is another RFI guy you may be able to e-mail for some advice (if he has the time!), or you can hire Mike Martin or one of the other guys around that do this kind of thing.
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Originally Posted By shropshireslasher:
Originally Posted By Yorknoken:
Sounds like arcing in a power line insulator to me, AM radio and sledgehammer the local poles til you find one that makes a change in the noise, then call the power company.


Please DO NOT EVER HIT UTILITY POLES FOR ANY REASON!

Mike Martin (K3RFI) of RFI Services did a fantastic day-long seminar on (surprise!) RFI at the ARRL Centennial a couple of years ago.  One of the stories he mentioned was him hitting poles with a hammer and having a piece of the pole's electrical hardware fall into AND THROUGH his hard hat that nearly killed him, much to the horror of the long term care facility residents across the street.  Between that and showing that there is sometimes over 100V on the "ground" conductor of a utility pole, it is best to steer well clear of physical contact with all utility equipment.  In fact, Mike says that more RFI problems are caused by people hitting the poles than are solved even if you don't get hit by a falling object or bring the whole pole down as one idiot Mike described in a story had done after hitting the pole for years.

The best thing to do is to locate the source of the noise using the techniques in the ARRL's RFI Handbook or other similar literature and submit that information to the utility in question.  If you don't get a good response, start looking up people in management on LinkedIn or Google and keep asking the question until someone does something about it.  They eventually will if for no other reason that the regulatory authorities may eventually get involved.  Mike Gruber at the ARRL is another RFI guy you may be able to e-mail for some advice (if he has the time!), or you can hire Mike Martin or one of the other guys around that do this kind of thing.


Thanks for this, I was just parroting what my elmer had told me and I didn't even consider the safety implications. I will change my practices and advice to mirror this.
Link Posted: 3/5/2016 11:28:58 AM EDT
Any time I've dealt with the util folks looking for noise they have been gracious enough to allow me the chance to tinker with it.. Both of the units pictured earlier are very similar to the ones I have seen & played with..
The one with the yage is just RF and the dish is just audio..
The RF unit had an attenuator to lower the noise to zero while pointing at the ground..
Then and only then do you start looking for a source and as it gets stronger attenuate it a bit more.
Checking a half dozen poles shouldn't take but 10-15 minutes..
When you locate a noisy pole switch to the audio device and you will hear the fizzling clear as day..
Ask the fellow if you might try it.. He might just say OK.. It's worth a shot..
Perhaps where he's not been trained on the unit he doesn't understand the concept of the attenuator..
Good Luck..
Link Posted: 3/5/2016 12:54:03 PM EDT
What part of TX?
I am no of Dallas.

I have some good RDF equipment.



Link Posted: 3/5/2016 3:45:34 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By barleythere:
What part of TX?I am no of Dallas.
I have some good RDF equipment.


View Quote


I'm outside College St.
Link Posted: 3/5/2016 3:48:13 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By FN64GR:
Any time I've dealt with the util folks looking for noise they have been gracious enough to allow me the chance to tinker with it.. Both of the units pictured earlier are very similar to the ones I have seen & played with..
The one with the yage is just RF and the dish is just audio..
The RF unit had an attenuator to lower the noise to zero while pointing at the ground..
Then and only then do you start looking for a source and as it gets stronger attenuate it a bit more.
Checking a half dozen poles shouldn't take but 10-15 minutes..
When you locate a noisy pole switch to the audio device and you will hear the fizzling clear as day..
Ask the fellow if you might try it.. He might just say OK.. It's worth a shot..
Perhaps where he's not been trained on the unit he doesn't understand the concept of the attenuator..
Good Luck..
View Quote


That's what I think. He told me he hasn't been trained.
Link Posted: 3/5/2016 11:48:31 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By David0858:

That's what I think. He told me he hasn't been trained.
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Originally Posted By David0858:
Originally Posted By FN64GR:
Any time I've dealt with the util folks looking for noise they have been gracious enough to allow me the chance to tinker with it.. Both of the units pictured earlier are very similar to the ones I have seen & played with..
The one with the yage is just RF and the dish is just audio..
The RF unit had an attenuator to lower the noise to zero while pointing at the ground..
Then and only then do you start looking for a source and as it gets stronger attenuate it a bit more.
Checking a half dozen poles shouldn't take but 10-15 minutes..
When you locate a noisy pole switch to the audio device and you will hear the fizzling clear as day..
Ask the fellow if you might try it.. He might just say OK.. It's worth a shot..
Perhaps where he's not been trained on the unit he doesn't understand the concept of the attenuator..
Good Luck..

That's what I think. He told me he hasn't been trained.

I haven't been "trained" either to DF power line noise. I learned. It's not rocket science.
Link Posted: 3/6/2016 12:09:13 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/6/2016 12:09:59 AM EDT by KwaiChangCaine]
When I first called the power company I got an engineer that wasn't RF savvy too.  In my case, and it sounds like yours too, if there is no longer a dedicated RFI guy and just any available engineer gets assigned to it.  These guys are usually designing and troubleshooting power distribution systems and not familiar with RFI.

The first engineer showed up and found some noise sources, and dispatched crews to repair it, just like yours.  They did this several times and repaired a lot of stuff, and it took a while to actually get to the things that were RFI to me.

Then they took a class on RFI, got new equipment, and really started getting rid of my noise.  About that time the first engineer got reassigned and I got a new engineer that had taken the class.  He was great to work with.  I had his cell number and if I heard a constant noise he would swing by to check it out that day or the next.

Now I'm on my third engineer.  Almost as helpful as the previous ones, I've been lucky.  They connect to my antennas now and go for the kill instead of randomly fixing noises like they did at first.

The second engineer showed me a few tricks too.  Just stand with your back to a suspected pole and give it a mule kick with one foot.  You don't need to move the pole a lot with a sledge hammer, just the slightest shock to the pole will cause the noise to change and you've found your pole.  It really does work, I've seen it and done it, and I was trained by my power company.    That said, the safety warnings mentioned in this thread are a valid concern, don't mess with that stuff.
Link Posted: 3/6/2016 12:22:16 AM EDT
I'll reiterate, that the power company doesn't have to do that out of goodwill, the arcing that generates the noise is their power going off into the ground. It's in their financial interest to find and repair those leaks.
Link Posted: 3/6/2016 1:01:03 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Gamma762:
If you had the setup I mentioned it would be blatantly obvious when you locate noise sources. Like, you point the beam at them and you get a tremendous nasty noise. In some cases you can actually identify the exact pieces of hardware that the the noise sources, it can be that precise.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EaJDw2ibDY

If you were in a rural area, at night you can often visually see the arcing that causes the noise.
View Quote

When I lived on the west coast (literally on the coast, my house was 1 house away from the ocean) every pole, transformer, and line was completely covered in salt. Every evening when the fog came in you could see and hear arcing at virtually every connection. AM was completely useless. FM wasn't a whole lot better.



David, do you want to borrow an Arrow handheld yagi and a cheap HT to help track down the noise?
Link Posted: 3/6/2016 11:46:01 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By phurba:

When I lived on the west coast (literally on the coast, my house was 1 house away from the ocean) every pole, transformer, and line was completely covered in salt. Every evening when the fog came in you could see and hear arcing at virtually every connection. AM was completely useless. FM wasn't a whole lot better.



David, do you want to borrow an Arrow handheld yagi and a cheap HT to help track down the noise?
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By phurba:
Originally Posted By Gamma762:
If you had the setup I mentioned it would be blatantly obvious when you locate noise sources. Like, you point the beam at them and you get a tremendous nasty noise. In some cases you can actually identify the exact pieces of hardware that the the noise sources, it can be that precise.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EaJDw2ibDY

If you were in a rural area, at night you can often visually see the arcing that causes the noise.

When I lived on the west coast (literally on the coast, my house was 1 house away from the ocean) every pole, transformer, and line was completely covered in salt. Every evening when the fog came in you could see and hear arcing at virtually every connection. AM was completely useless. FM wasn't a whole lot better.



David, do you want to borrow an Arrow handheld yagi and a cheap HT to help track down the noise?




This brings up another good point.  Take a walk after it has rained and listen for popping/clicking/buzzing from the tops of the utility poles.

Link Posted: 4/19/2016 3:04:21 PM EDT
Update in OP.
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 5:54:46 PM EDT
Congrats on getting your noise issue solved!
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