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Re: [RFI] LED traffic signals

To: "Donald Chester" <k4kyv@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: [RFI] LED traffic signals
From: "Kelly Johnson" <n6kj.kelly@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2007 12:57:06 -0800
List-post: <mailto:rfi@contesting.com>
There is definitely something he can do about it.  He can file a
complaint with whatever government entity manages those lights.  He
should then hound them periodically to make sure they come out and do
something about it.  Finally, if time passes and they do nothing then
he should contact ARRL.  The ARRL has an agreement with the FCC to
help resolve these types of issues.  I've been waiting over 7 months
for my local utility to fix a powerline noise problem at my house.
About 1 month ago I contacted ARRL and within days the utility called
me up and came out to identify the problem and schedule a day to do
the repairs.  They came out today to try to fix it, but the problem
was more severe than expected so they couldn't fix it today but they
promised to be back out "soon".  We'll see if my definition of "soon"
and theirs is the same, but I'm hopeful.  In fact, they said that the
secondary crossarm on the bad pole is so bad that it could just fall
of the pole at any time so they WANT to fix it ASAP.

BTW - The RFI expert at the utility told me to tell all my ham friends
to call the utility and report noisy poles because the utility no
longer does periodic inspections of their poles.  They depend on
complaints (usually from hams) to find the poles that need repairs.
He told me that the pole I reported was DANGEROUS and could cause an
outage any day.  The supervisor wouldn't let his guys climb the pole
because he was afraid that the crossarm would fall off while they were
climbing.  It was that bad.  I know this isn't the same as the LED
traffic lights, but the point is that this stuff can be fixed.  You
just have to convince someone that it is important that it be fixed.
If they refuse to do anything even after the ARRL does its thing then
the FCC CAN fine them.  It wouldn't be the first time either :-)

On 12/14/07, Donald Chester <k4kyv@hotmail.com> wrote:
> I  live in the country with no traffic lights nearby, so this isn't a problem 
> with me, but I keep hearing about RFI generated by the new l.e.d. traffic 
> signals.  Apparently, the noise is due to a switching power supply used to 
> feed the lights, and the power line leading to the unit acting as an antenna.
> Someone I know has one of those LED stoplights about 100 yards from his 
> house.  It wipes out the AM BC Band when you are in the car sitting at the 
> light, and he says he can hear it up and down the band and  weaker signals on 
> 75 and 160 at night are GONE.  He figures there isn't anything he can do 
> about it at all, except move.
> I wonder if anyone has checked to see if those led traffic lights have been 
> certified to meet Part 15 standards.  Since they are becoming ubiquitous in 
> almost every city and town and there are traffic lights literally everywhere, 
> this could grow into a major rfi problem that rivals or surpasses BPL.
> Perhaps the AM broadcast industry would get involved, since this stands to 
> hurt them severely.  Over 90% of the prime time radio audience during morning 
> and evening hours is made up of commuters, and most listeners will simply 
> switch over to FM if they start getting interference at every traffic light.  
> This could become the death knell for AM broadcast radio, with its odds for 
> survival already marginal at best. Those switching power supplies could 
> easily be fixed with a little filtering.  I'm not even sure that shielding 
> would be required.
> This is a problem that needs to be addressed NOW before the overwhelming 
> majority of traffic signals nationwide are replaced with noisy l.e.d. ones 
> and the problem becomes impossible to remedy.
> Don k4kyv
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