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Re: [RFI] Power Line RFI in Corn Country

To: <svetanoff@earthlink.net>, "'RFI List'" <rfi@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [RFI] Power Line RFI in Corn Country
From: "Wes Attaway \(N5WA\)" <wesattaway@bellsouth.net>
Date: Sat, 16 Jan 2010 10:05:22 -0600
List-post: <rfi@contesting.com">mailto:rfi@contesting.com>
You could do some further searching (if you want the practice) by checking
the noise at higher frequencies.  Generally, the closer you get to the
source the higher you can go in frequency and still hear the noise.  The
power company will probably do this, but you might have fun trying it

------------------ Wes Attaway (N5WA) ------------------
1138 Waters Edge Circle - Shreveport, LA 71106
    318-797-4972 (office) - 318-393-3289 (cell)
        Computer Consulting and Forensics
-------------- EnCase Certified Examiner ---------------

-----Original Message-----
From: rfi-bounces@contesting.com [mailto:rfi-bounces@contesting.com] On
Behalf Of Dale Svetanoff
Sent: Friday, January 15, 2010 10:47 PM
To: RFI List
Cc: Dick W Jones; Larry Wacha; Ron B. NN0L
Subject: [RFI] Power Line RFI in Corn Country


New Years wishes to everyone.  I decided to get my new year off on a good
start - or, so I hope!   Today, 15 January, I contacted Alliant Energy, my
electric power provider, about severe RFI that has existed at or near my
location for most of 2009.  (Yes, I should have done something about it
months ago, but that elusive round-to-it could not be found.)  The bands
most affected are 160, 75, and 40 meters.  I have determined that the
primary source of the wide bandwidth buzz saw is about 1 mile from my shack,
in an ESE direction.  A few rides in my truck with the AM radio tuned to the
local station, 600 kHz WMT, found the hottest point.  WMT, with 5 kW about
15 miles away, is totally inaudible under the racket when driving by one
particular cluster of power poles.

I made my call at about 2 PM local time.  At about 3:30 PM, local time, I
had a call from a line engineer who said he had been to my house and was now
parked under the power lines I had described to the very pleasant lady who
took my call.  He confirmed that WMT was wiped out on the BC radio in his
truck, as well.  Further, he mentioned that they have had a few complaints
from farmers in that area that they can not hear the farm reports on WMT due
to the noise.

When I moved out here 9 years ago, residual noise on 75 and 40 was about S0
to S3, max.  The noise level would go up to about S6 or S7 in the fall when
the grain dryers are running (probably from their ignition systems).  There
are dozens of grain dryers within a mile or so of my place.  In early 2009,
the buzz saw started, intermittent at first, then got worse as the year went
on.  The noise level on 160m is now S9+10, on 75m it is S7 to S9, and on
40m, about S3 to S7.  I can hear harmonics of this stuff up as high as 6m.
Today was a first step.  The engineer told me that he will call in for their
special RFI tracking unit to see what can be found.  One problem: the area
in which the noise is located has power lines from two separate utilities:
Alliant has the 12.5 kV lines for local distribution, and another company
has the 34 kV lines for inter-area distribution.  If the noise is on the 34
kV lines, Alliant said that they will inform the other company and keep the
ball r
 olling.  Hopefully, I will not have to chase down the other guys.

I am thrilled and amazed that Alliant had a crew on the problem barely more
than an hour after I called.  The crew confirmed my suspicions and they
understand that I am a licensed Amateur Radio op with a station (the
engineer saw the tower farm at my house).  I have read about many fiascoes
with power companies on the reflector, so I thought I'd post my experiences
to see if my luck is any better or different.  I know that many, if not
most, power companies do cooperate in RFI issues.  I won't bore you with a
blog, but I'll update the list (or even ask questions) as the process
evolves.  Hopefully, someone else can benefit from the info.

Note:  The lady who took my info said that I provided much more and better
details than they usually get.  For the record, I gave her my specific
location, the road intersection where I found max noise, the call letters
and frequency of the local AM station, and a description on the sound and
what has been happening (including the fact that the whole mess may clear up
for several minutes to an hour at a time).  I also gave her the specific
frequency bands that have been most affected.  

73, Dale
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