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Re: [RFI] Resolving RFI to a DSL Modem

To: rfi@contesting.com
Subject: Re: [RFI] Resolving RFI to a DSL Modem
From: Jim Brown <jim@audiosystemsgroup.com>
Reply-to: jim@audiosystemsgroup.com
Date: Sat, 21 Mar 2015 14:52:16 -0700
List-post: <rfi@contesting.com">mailto:rfi@contesting.com>
On Sat,3/21/2015 8:32 AM, Kim Elmore wrote:
I have an ADSL modem in my garage and when I operate with anything more than 1300-1400 W on 40 m only, it loses the ADSL connection. I';; be getting an IPDSL modem on Monday, though not Uverse (because... Well, it's the phone company). I'm assuming I'll have a similar problem with it, if not worse.

Rule #1 -- avoid making someone else's problem your problem. Those modems SHOULD reject RF. If they don't, they are either badly designed, badly installed, or defective. Bad installation includes things like choice of interconnecting cables. Call the vendor and tell them to fix it. if they don't, cancel your contract, return the product, etc.

If you're past the time frame where you can do that, there are several things to do.

I've ordered five of the ~1.5" ID type 31 ferrite cores, enough for one per wire that enters or exits the device. How many turns should I pack on: as many as I can in a single layer? ANy guess if I can get away with enough turns when I run two wires per core?

This is one of those things. What you're looking for is a common mode choke, so you want to wind enough turns of each CABLE to put the resonant choking impedance peak in the frequency range where you're having problems. Since DSL is in the low MHz region, I would expect 160M and 80/75M to cause the greatest problems. I'd start with 10-15 turns for those bands.

Equally important, make certain that all cables carrying the DSL signal are a high quality twisted pair. Twisting is FAR more important than shielding. Telcos have been getting cheapo about that for the last several decades, and that's responsible for a lot of RFI to telco systems and equipment. This reduces the DIFFERENTIAL coupling to the modem.

If you've done as much as you can with that, find and install a good low pass filter on the DSL line.

For your station, follow good engineering practice to keep RF off of feedlines by using common mode chokes at the feedpoint of every antenna. This limits the coupling mechanism to that between the modem and your antenna, not the feedline.

There's a twisted pair that enters the modem, a power line, and four CAT-5 cables. DO I need to observe any special precautions?

See above. Common mode choke on every cable, low pass filter on the telco line only.

Before you start all this, do this simple experiment to assess how bad your problem is. On each band that you operate, use the antenna that causes the most severe interference, start with a lower power that doesn't break the modem, then gradually increase power until it does. Note these levels for each band, convert to dB re: 1500W, using the equation dB = 10 log (P1/P2). If things are good at 400W but break at 500W, you have a 4.7 dB problem.

It's also possible that there's so much RF that the front end is going into saturation (often called desense, desensitization) or something similar.

There are a few background paragraphs with more suggestions in k9yc.com/RFI-Ham.pdf around pages 19 and 20.

73, Jim K9YC

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