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[RFI] Power Line RFI in Corn Country - UPDATE

To: "Wes Attaway \(N5WA\)" <wesattaway@bellsouth.net>, "RFI List" <rfi@contesting.com>
Subject: [RFI] Power Line RFI in Corn Country - UPDATE
From: "Dale Svetanoff" <svetanoff@earthlink.net>
Reply-to: svetanoff@earthlink.net
Date: Sun, 24 Jan 2010 19:27:45 -0600
List-post: <rfi@contesting.com">mailto:rfi@contesting.com>
Wes, Jim, Dick, Mike, Ash, and Everyone Who Responded:

Alliant Energy may have set a speed record in addressing my RFI complaint
(original message left attached below for reference).  The last time I had
contact directly with Alliant was that call from Line Engineer Mike on
Friday afternoon, January 15th.  I did some HF operating the following
weekend (Jan. 16 & 17) and did notice greatly reduced buzz saw noise.  On
Wednesday, Jan. 20th, my phone again rang, but this time the caller was an
engineer with ITC Midwest, and his name was Bill Braden.  Mr. Braden was
calling to see if the noise problem had indeed abated.  Luckily, I had
operated the prior evening and found essentially no noise present on either
160m or 75m.  

Mr. Braden was pleased to hear of my quiet status.  He did explain that
what had been found was a broken wire to a lightning arrestor at the top of
a pole. The wire broke due to mechanical action of temperature changes,
vibration, and wind.  Since ITC operates the 34.5 kV lines trhat are on the
upper portion of the subject poles, they had to be involved.  Obviously,
Alliant had contacted ITC on my behalf (as promised) and the fix was made. 
I made a point to express my appreciation to Mr. Braden for ITC's help in
the matter.  He said he would make special note of my remarks, since he
often got something less encouraging.

I certainly enjoyed my operation on 75m Thursday night.  Wow - S-0 noise,
except for lightning crashes in 4-land.  Then along came our wonderful Iowa
weather mix of rain, fog, sleet, and freezing drizzle, all of which hit
Friday, going into Saturday.  Well, another "buzz saw" is screaming away! 
The good news is that it is not as strong as the one that was just fixed,
and it is in a different direction.  It is also intermittant.  Thus, I've
used Wes' comments as the baseline for my reply, since it is now likely
that I'll have to employ other tricks (as discussed in various postings on
this reflector) to try to define the new source's location.  

The old source's sole advantage was that it was so bad that my simple
technique of using the AM broadcast radio in my vehicle was sufficient to
locate it quite accurately.  Given my time limitations, I may be living
with the new buzz saw for awhile.  I have no intention of asking Alliant to
go off on another search without being able to provide some definite
direction and location information.  In any event, I can say for a fact
that this new noise source is not in the same direction or area as the
first one.

Again, thanks to all for your comments and interest.  I'll post an update
on this RFI hunt when progress is made.  I must commend both Alliant Energy
and ITC Midwest for their very prompt attention to my request and can only
hope that anyone else having a similar problem gets similar treatment.     

73, Dale


> [Original Message]
> From: Wes Attaway \(N5WA\) <wesattaway@bellsouth.net>
> To: <svetanoff@earthlink.net>; RFI List <rfi@contesting.com>
> Cc: Dick W Jones <jonesrwj38@hotmail.com>; Larry Wacha
<larry.wacha@yahoo.com>; Ron B. NN0L <nn0l@q.com>
> Date: 1/16/2010 10:13:13
> Subject: RE: [RFI] Power Line RFI in Corn Country
> 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
> yourself.
> ------------------ 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
> All,
> 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
> in an ESE direction.  A few rides in my truck with the AM radio tuned to
> 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
> 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
> to the noise.
> When I moved out here 9 years ago, residual noise on 75 and 40 was about
> to S3, max.  The noise level would go up to about S6 or S7 in the fall
> the grain dryers are running (probably from their ignition systems). 
> are dozens of grain dryers within a mile or so of my place.  In early
> the buzz saw started, intermittent at first, then got worse as the year
> 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
> 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
> kV lines, Alliant said that they will inform the other company and keep
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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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