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[TowerTalk] Line Noise

Subject: [TowerTalk] Line Noise
From: Dennis OConnor <>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 05:33:39 -0800 (PST)
List-post: <>
As I have commented on several of these forums, I have developed a severe line 
noise problem that especially plagues my 160 operations.. During the ARRL 160 
it wiped us out on the NE Beverage being 30 over almost continuously...  I had 
a call in to the power company now for some weeks... Monday I got a call from 
their noise complaint guy and we made an appointment for 1PM Wednesday...
  Tuesday nite I got home and checked the noise during a wet snow fall... It 
was dead silent - just like it is after a good rain...  
  I thought that was just my luck with Consumers coming out the next day...
  But Wednesday AM at a crisp 25 degrees the 'insulator' had dried and was back 
to it's usual roaring-snapping self...   
  Anyway, during the phone call with their trouble shooter I was disheartened 
as the guy asked which radio station was getting the interference... So I 
gently explained about ham radio.. 
  He then asked if that was channel 19 <my heart plummeted into my shoes>... 
  Finally he asked what frequency... I said 1.8 megacycles was the worst...  
  A long silence and he asks, politely, what is a megacycle...  ahhh jeeez....
  Anyway, he gets there promptly (actually 15 minutes early) on Wednesday... We 
talk it over and he listens as I switch the Beverages to show the noise 
direction is Northeast..  I ask (with anticipation) what kind of noise finding 
equipment the power company has... He looks at me, shuffles his feet, and says, 
"I use the AM radio in my truck as I'm driving around."
  Now it's my turn to shuffle my feet... I tell him I can get him within a 1000 
feet of the noise source on the road, but that the high tension lines are way 
back off the road on private property(s) and he can't get his truck in there...
  I bring out the MFJ noise receiver (highly recommended by me) and show him 
how to use it and off we go...  He likes the MFJ... Finally parked at the point 
of maximum noise on the road a half mile from my place we get out...  There are 
no trepassing signs visible... I mention to him that as the power company, 
doesn't he have the legal authority to inspect his power lines... His instant 
answer is, "Absolutely.", and off he goes... He is a real go getter... If I 
were hiring I would recruit him...
  He hikes through the snow, crawls over a fence and goes back in the woods...  
I see him sniffing around the pole holding up the 4800 volt line   A few 
minutes later he is trotting back towards the road underneath a drop coming out 
and crossing the road to my side and going towards a neighbors spread...  He 
says the signal strength drops as he gets closer to the HV pole but seems to 
rise as he comes back towards the road... We go down the road and back up into 
the neighbors drive...  He gets out and starts walking through the woods...
  "Here it is.", he calls..  I decide they can only shoot me, and I go through 
the woods to meet him...  Right there, he says pointing... I look up the pole 
at the transformer and the fuse, etc. and see nothing amiss...
  He says, look at the stand off bracket for the fuse, there is a crack in the 
fuse holder and the wood on the pole is starting to char...  Notice how dark 
the wood is right at the base of the  bracket...  I peer at the pole... I don't 
see the crack, but I do see the ring of darker wood around the base of the 
  He says the fuse holder is shorted to the metal bracket and there is high 
voltage on the metal bracket and the current is charring the wood...  He also 
points out that the back guy for the pole is touching the neutral line running 
to the buildings.. I notice that he does not touch the back guy, but simply 
leans close and listens to it (it has a fiberglass cover)..
  He says he will enter a work order to have them replace all the hardware on 
the pole except for the transformer...  I ask him about the back guy touching 
the neutral... He comments they will have the township pull the electrical 
inspection and see who signed it off...
  So that is it this morning... I still have noise, but hopefully not for 

denny / k8do
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