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[RFI] A New One

Subject: [RFI] A New One
From: "Roger (K8RI)" <k8ri@rogerhalstead.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2010 02:46:49 -0400
List-post: <rfi@contesting.com">mailto:rfi@contesting.com>
This is more of a FYI rather than looking for help...although I could 
use the money.

Last night I was listening to 40 meters, which seems to be an almost 
bottomless pit of DX lately, opening into Europe by 3:00 PM or so. By 
some where between midnight and 3:00 AM local I'm usually hearing ZL's 
and VK's which is backwards to what it was a year or two back. IOW it's 
much like 20 during a sonspot high.

Last night The Serbian and Italian stations were way past 20 over 9, and 
the band noise, even with the unusually warm temps (30 -35F above 
average and 20 above for weeks) was pretty low. This is Michigan where 
50 and 60 degree temps are setting records day after day. Our highs are 
normally just above freezing and lows are well below it this time of 
year.  Our lows are now higher than our average highs and even some 
record highs. All of a sudden I heard a loud static crash, and though I 
saw a flash. I started to look around when I heard another crash and saw 
a slight flash...from the overhead lights in the shop.

My shop is heated, air conditioned, and well lit. (28' X 40') It has 11, 
8', two tube fixtures for a total of 22 8', 75 watt flourescents or 1650 
watts of lights that are normally quiet. BUT unlike incandescents, the 
life time of fluorescents is very predictable.  If I have one go, I know 
with certainty I'll be replacing all 22 with in a month.  Hence I 
purchase two cases of the things at a time and save close to 50%. OTOH 
this is a 14 month ritual so it's not cheap, but the lamps are cheaper 
than the electricity I use. Switching to 60 watt units  saves about 3960 
watts a day or about 40 cents a day or $12 a month and a $144 per year. 
That;s well over three sets of lights saved per year.

But getting back on track, I'd never noticed noise from those big lights 
before, but this was a 20 over 9 plus crash and it happened every time 
the light flashed and that is just from one tube.  All of the wiring is 
in EMT and well shielded.  The building interior is bonded barn metal 
finished in a baked on glossy white so lighting out there is very 
efficient as is the shielding. I have to stand in front of a window just 
to get my cell phone to work and the tower is less than 2 miles away.
With the shielding and conduit I'm not sure where it's getting into 40. 
I've not noticed the other bands as I've not been operating on any other 
recently except 144 and 440.  I'm thinking of adding about 8, 3 or 4 
tube suspended fixtures over my work area and ham station.  They'd pay 
for themselves in a year.  That and conductive glass covers on the 

So, I guess tomorrow is going to be organizing shop day in addition to 
getting the tram up on the mast and hopefully at least getting the 
tribander down.  I'd like to get the 7L 6-meter yagi down to repair the 
boom truss as well.  The 144 and 440 arrays may have to wait. Then it's 
going to be changing lights.  Hmmmm...I'm owed a lot of favors. Maybe 
time to call in a few.


Roger (K8RI)
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