[RFI] Another success story (Perhaps TOO successful)

Ed - K0iL k0il@arrl.net" <k0il@arrl.net
Sat, 27 Apr 2002 09:56:05 -0500

Here's a story for ya!

As some of you guys know, I work for the local power company here in 
eastern Nebraska as a telecomm. engr.   Yesterday my boss asked for a copy 
of the FCC rules that requires our company to find and fix PL noise.  When 
I asked why I discovered that a neighbor of one of our regular ham 
customers has filed a complaint that we are spending too much time & money 
fixing the power-line noise in his neighborhood.  I guess we're doing too 
good of a job!  He says as a public power company we shouldn't be spending 
so much time and money on only one customer so he can talk to New Zealand 
or whatever.  Of course I'll remind my boss that the noise the ham is 
picking up IS affecting everyone in the area with a AM radio or TV on an 
antenna as well.

Actually what has the neighbor upset is the number of outages (and perhaps 
he's getting RFI from the ham as well?).  There have been eleven visits in 
the past two years.  Not sure of the number of outages.  The ham is an a  
ctive DXer.  He lives in an older part of town (like most hams who want to 
put up a tower!) and there's the crux of the problem for our company: The 
BULs (Big Ugly Linemen per W1RFI) are required in older parts of town to 
climb the poles to make repairs due to the lack of access by trucks.  To do 
this safely, an outage is required to do the work.

Here's some observations to bear in mind:  The number of RI complaints from 
PL noise has dropped dramatically for power companies.  Why?  Here's why: 
(1) fewer people listen to AM today than did in the 60's or even 70's when 
FM started, (2) fewer people now watch TV off-the-airwaves due to cable TV 
systems being widespread (and affordable--even poor people have cable TV 
today!), and (3) there are slightly fewer hams active on HF today (at least 
in our power district).  Numbers 1 & 2 have had DRAMATIC decreases in 
complaints while #3 has been only a slight decrease.  Today most complaints 
usually come from a single ham as compared to the old days when we'd get 
dozens of TVI/AM radio calls from an area affect by noise.

So you may begin to see why power companies are not as responsive today as 
they once were 20-30 years ago.  With that in mind, my hat's off to Pete 
for getting a resolution to his liking at this point.  Congratulations! 
  But be ready for the next PL noise monster to rear it's ugly head and the 
whole thing starts over again!  Murphy never rests too long.

de ed -K0iL
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           Ed Edwards    --    K0iL
 PO Box 375                        k0il@arrl.net
 Elkhorn, NE 68022-0375       k0il@qsl.net
 496-3415 home   552-5425 work   552-5505 fax
 Visit my web site:  http://www.qsl.net/k0il
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On Saturday, 27 April, 2002 7:20 AM, Pete Smith [SMTP:n4zr@contesting.com] 
> I thought people might want to read a positive power line RFI story for a 
> change.  as long-time readers know, I have been rassling with the power
> company for 4 years now.  2 months ago a new engineer was assigned to 
> on my case and those of others with RFI in the area.  He doesn't
> particularly like the work, but is one of those people who take pride in
> doing their jobs well.