How to deal with neighbors (was RE: [RFI] DVD/TVI interference)

Hare,Ed, W1RFI
Mon, 2 Dec 2002 20:16:54 -0500

There are two tools that may help with a neighbor. The first is the pamphlet ARRL jointly publishes with the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association. See:

The second is the older, now sadly out of print, FCC RFI information. It is reprinted in the ARRL RFI Book ( or is available at: 

This explains in very clear terms that interference to non-radio equipment is not caused by a rules violation at your station, but by that equipment improperly functioning as a radio receiver. 

When your neighbor first comes a knocking, hand him or her a copy of both sets of material and suggest he read it through. Then he can come to you with any questions. It may be a good idea to stay off the air for a while, but if you do, set a time limit, as in "I will stay off the air tonight, to give you time to read the material."  Without a time limit, your neighbor's problem is solved -- you are off the air, which is the first solution that ocmes to his or her mind.

When you do start talking with the neighbor, start by talking about what the FCC requires of you. "The FCC requires that I operate my station legally. If my station transmit signals that are not on my assigned frequencies, the rules are very clear -- I must put a filter on my transmitter to eliminate those signals." At this point, your neighbor is listening, because you are talking about your responsibilities. You can then show him your station (clean up the rats nest) and point to that low-pass or bandpass filter with pride.  

It is always a good idea to clean up all RFI at your own home. You can then show him or her the filters you have put on your own equipment.  This shows that the filters work and that they cause no harm. Besides, it is a really good "diplomacy" tool to be able to say, "I'm sorry you can't watch TV at your house while I am on the air, but you can come to my house and watch TV while I am on the air." They usually get the idea then that the problem might be on their end.

You can then explain to your neighbor that you would take care of any problems at your station, but will also help find a solution to the problem, even if it not caused by any rules violations at your station. Most reasonable neighbors may not agree that it isn't your fault, but if you are willing to help solve it, that is good enough for them. 

As I say in my RFI club talks, what happens when that first knock occurs sets the tone for all that follows.  The interpersonal aspects of RFI are most important, because knowing all of the technical solutions won't do any good if your neighbor won't let you into the house to try them.

See for all of ARRL's RFI material.

Ed Hare, W1RFI
225 Main St
Newington, CT 06111
Tel: 860-594-0318

ARRL is the National Association for Amateur Radio.  It is supported by membership dues, individual contributions and the sale of  publications and advertising. For more information about ARRL, go to For more information about membership, go to  Your contribution can also help support ARRL's ongoing efforts to protect Amateur spectrum. Go to to learn more about the ways you can support the ARRL programs and activities of most importance to you. You can help ARRL protect Amateur Radio for you and future generations to enjoy.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Sean Fleming []
> Sent: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 8:42 PM
> To:
> Subject: [RFI] DVD/TVI interference
> Hi there I am Sean Fleming. I have one or more neighbors that 
> have some type of interference. I have been looking into the 
> situation reading posts after posts and I have encountered 
> the following. Also I have found out that what I am going to 
> write is true in all cases. 
> No matter how much I help my neighbor wether I go over to 
> help them fix the interfernece, or do I go and tell them 
> about it. The simple facts asre as such;
> 1. They will always tell youit is your problem not thiers and 
> that you are the source no matter how much info you show or tell them.
> 2. They just want it fixed and will do anything less of 
> shooting you to get rid of your transmission in thier 
> equipment.  Meaning that they don't care about you.
> 3. Your the culprit always. No matter if you fix it today  if 
> they get something else and have a new problem your the trouble.
> 4. Finally, you should just stop transmitting.
> After rethingking all of the things I could do for my 
> neighbor I have found out that I go no further than to look 
> the other way and fix my own troubles. This is do to the fact 
> is that most people  dont care about what you do to fix it 
> they just want your interfence gone. They are not interested 
> in the technology that they are using nor how it has to plays 
> into the big picture of nature. Most people also would rather 
> you not transmit than fix it your a nuicense to thier way of 
> life nad would sue you if possible.
> After knowing all of this I say to myself this; Why do I 
> think of helping them? Also  I woulnd never pass anyinfo on 
> my ARES station for them nor make a phone patch for them. I 
> would not even tell them about Ham Radio. Also They are 
> basically interferring with my daily activities as a harrassment. 
> So, in final words. Fix your own stuff, stop worring about 
> your neighbor and just ignore the ignorant, people who spend 
> hour after hours talking on the phones but lack to read that 
> labe on it about FCC part 15. Wonder why we are killing our 
> selves smoking our lives away. We never heed the warnings.
> Sean - K8KHZ   
>  Visit my Web Home @ 
> Send me an Instant message
>  get Yahoo Messenger at
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