Indeed, a great story! Although it started in what must have seemed
near hopelessness, it now looks like you'll have an answer soon. Super.
If the ham can find the pole for the utility (assuming it is not on private
he has done two-thirds of the work. THAT task is largely incomprehensible
to most utility folks -- but IF you can find the pole, they truly are
on the stuff on the pole, and more often than not, they'll be able to find
and fix the problem on the pole.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Dennis OConnor" <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2007 7:33 AM
Subject: [TowerTalk] Line Noise
> 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
> 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
> 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 bracket...
> 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
> 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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