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[TowerTalk] Static Interference

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Static Interference
From: (Roger L. Elowitz)
Date: Fri, 21 Mar 1997 01:03:48 -0500
Attn. Gene Smith et al.

Just a thought here re. your static problem.  I used to have a humongous
static problem here in the suburbs of New Jersey that varied in intensity
from day to night and under different weather conditions.  I think it was
worse in wet or humid weather.  

To find the source of the noise I took a portable shortwave radio tuned to
just above the AM broadcast band and started walking around my neighborhood.
Basically, I followed the power lines.  Near some power poles the noise got
worse.  It would rise and fall at regular interval distances from the poles.
Finally, I got to one pole and I could hear the transformer arcing even
without the radio. At night the arcing was awesome.

I also found that I could tune my car's AM radio to the top end of the band
(in between stations) and track the noise that way.  It was a lot faster
than on foot.  As I got to each noisy pole, I wrote the number of the pole
down that identified the pole to the power company. I could also hit the
pole with a baseball bat and hear the pitch of the noise change in the radio.

I then reported the problem to one of the power company's corporate officers
and then got action fast.  Always seems to work best "top > down".

Needless to say, the transformers, insulators (dirty), hardware (rusted),
wood cross braces (old and dried out) supporting the wires.... were all
replaced for blocks all around my home.  That stuff had been up there thirty
years and was badly in need of upgrade. What a difference it made.  My
radios are dead quiet now except when neighbors use brush motor type of
appliances- hair driers, vacuum cleaners etc..

I also think that the power company was grateful for my reports since all
that arcing was wasting power and the maintenance was long over due. I just
provided the impetus to get things done.

Also, about 35 years ago I sold ham equipment for Harrison Radio in NYC. We
tried to demo used equipment on the Saturdays but the noise level was simply
impossible.  Then too, I walked around the neighborhood with a portable
radio and found that the neon sign (sic. high voltage) in the Bar next door
was arcing like mad internally. Showing the bartender how the problem noise
went away when I turned off the sign... convinced him to keep it off.

Good luck with your noise hunting.

Roger, K2JAS

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