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[RFI] Video, etc

To: <rfi@contesting.com>
Subject: [RFI] Video, etc
From: wa2bpe at infoblvd.net (WA2BPE)
Date: Sun Aug 10 12:32:05 2003
Hi Ed,

I have quite a few (classic) hardware problems in this area of upstate NY that 
continue to frustrate me.  I go out, (usually) find them ? one pole and then 
directly contact the NYSEG troubleshooter with whom I have successfully worked 
(he believes me).  He has good equipment and is well intentioned, but surely 
could use one of the EMI courses from Mike but the company refuses pay for any 
knowledge based investment.  He expects to retire in a couple of years and once 
I will have to "retrain" yet another person (and re-establish my credibility)  
- if they decide to even replace him.  Despite cooperation, it still usually 
takes quite a while to get things fixed.  The problem: one troubleshooter with 
multiple (and recently expanded) duties for (at least) two counties and EMI is 
not high on the priority list at the management level -  unless a wire is down 
or a pole is on fire!  Curiously, I have heard from some guys where they get 
within 24 hours - count your blessings; had that once here - the troubleshooter 
was - a HAM.

REA is another issue - it is hard to even talk to someone having *any* 
technical understanding and their resources are typically minimal or else they 
contract to independents.  On these, lots of luck - took me 6 months to get a 
loose guy wire (had been hit by a tractor) fixed.  This one caused huge noise 
problems (S9+20-30 dB on 50 MHz @ 2 miles)  as REA grounds these wires rather 
than isolating them and the microarcing was fierce.  Showing what was wrong was 
And maintenance - I have seen some poles that look like they were installed 
soon after the creation of REA - complete with rusting and loose hardware.  I 
have no idea why/how they are still standing!

I, personally, would like to have access to articles on EMI that are published 
in the trade journals both for my own edification and to pass on to my contacts 
as I am not sure these journals ever work their way down to the level of those 
doing the actual work.  In the case (mentioned above), NYSEG has a file (on me) 
containing reports, resolutions, and tech info I have passed on that the local 
office had no idea existed.  Knowing the language of the power people and being 
resource to them is invaluable rather than just complaining.  I am sure that 
ARRL has access to these journals, but they are seldom seen by most.  Perhaps 
industry journal EMI related articles could be made available on the ARRL 
Members Only page; it usually isn't difficult to make agreements of that nature 
with publishers/authors.

BPL appears to be one of the most insidious issues we now face and, to me, it 
is hypocritical that the power people are making all these glorious claims for 
something that is virtually guaranteed to cause immeasurable collateral damage. 
 These are the very same people that argued against a 100 Hz slice at 137 KHz 
because of perceived/expected QRM to PLC links.  Add this to already existing 
power line crud and the din will be unbearable.  I wonder if any of the BPL 
has been done in areas with line noise problems, etc., or was the 
infrastructure "sanitized" first?

I know that emphasis has been placed on HF interference, but since the proposed 
span is ~2 to 80 MHz, I see it also destroying weak signal 50 MHz work - I 
often hear noise sources in the 6-8 mile range - and have located them too!  
Also, there are still a large  number of emergency services in the 40 MHz range 
whose communications will be degraded even with FM as the noise floor rises.  
Low-band TV broadcasting is at risk too and despite the statistics that show 
that >85%
of the population have cable, these statistics lie as they are heavily skewed 
by the metro/city/suburban concentrations.  There are *many* places where it is 
not likely to ever exist.  I cannot believe that the TV industry, the mobile 
radio industry, the military, various law enforcement agencies plus the Dept. 
of Homeland Security are willing to accept the compromising of their systems.

The real answer to broadband is fiber to the curb (eventually to the home) and 
can be done now.  It was discussed some years ago when I was still in the 
Photonics labs at Corning but requires the up-front investment - yes, big bux, 
but big, big returns too.  Curiously, one fiber line runs up the county road 
here (fiber by Corning; cabling by Pirelli) that handles a lot of telephone 
communications - it was installed as the two wire lines were reaching their 
limit.  But there
is a problem.  On this fiber line, the dialup data rate is only ~28 KB - 
problem is the interface hardware; we got "leftovers/pulls" from a system that 
was upgraded elsewhere - the fiber is *not* the bandwith limit!  The *only* 
reason for considering BPL is that an infrastructure for distribution exists.  
What I have not seen is the expense of all the added hardware to make it work 
on the existing networks.  Then there is the interfacing between various 
companies, etc.
Even if it is implemented, I would expect it to take many years to reach 
everyone in the "booties".  By that time, huge $$ will have been spent, the 
damage will have been done, and a better technology will already be available 
to replace it.  What ever happened to: "Do it right the first time!"?

Keep up the good work.

73,  Tom - WA2BPE
"45 years on six m. 8/03 and proud of it!"

"Hare,Ed, W1RFI" wrote:

> So far, from our best info, about 60% of the cases are resolved.  A few are 
> poised to go to more rigorous enforcement steps, but that needs to be done 
> absolutely flawlessly, at least for the first few cases.   Those will set a 
> precendent within the FCC.
> Naturally, the BPL issue has clouded this somewhat.  Anything related to 
> power lines is a real hot potato right now and if the Commissioners were to 
> send the word down to back off on power-line interference enforcement, I 
> don't think we would like the results. Also, any attempts to ratchet up the 
> enforcement right now would create an appearance that ARRL was doing so only 
> to gain advantage in the BPL proceeding. And that would not be fair to those 
> involved in the cases.
> In reality, the biggest problem is one of  ignorance. Power companies don't 
> know how to find the correct noise source, and they end up spending a lot of 
> time spinning their wheels and fixing noises that the ham can't even hear, 
> but not finding the correct one.
> Mike Gruber, ARRL's RFI guru, is working on an article that we will try to 
> publish in one of the power-industry trade journals.  RFI Services also 
> offers an excellent 2-day course that we are promoting like crazy, just to 
> get these companies up to speed.
> 73, Ed Hare, W1RFI

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