Tue, 12 Mar 2002 17:36:47 -0500
The basic procedures that I recommend hams follow with power line stuff is:
1. Stay calm and courteous at all times. This is the HARDEST part!
2. Download, print and read all of the ARRL information on electrical
interference. This will make you smarter, and some of it may be of use to
your power company people.
3. First, try to resolve this directly with the power company. The
printouts may be helpful, if you can get them into the right hands. If you
can, try to talk to the service manager or RTVI troubleshooter directly.
4. Unfortunately, be patient. In the best of circumstances, these things can
take weeks to resolve, often weeks dragging into months. I won't write the
list of the back and forth steps that are often necessary, but think of it
this way -- there are things in a chain that can fail, from untrained
customer-contact people to the lack of RFI troubleshooters (or almost as
bad, one who is not well versed in troubleshooting.) Even if the
troubleshooting is done correctly, the BUL may mess it up. (That is Big Ugly
Lineman.) He may climb the pole and say "What are they talking about; I
have seen cracked insulators last for years."
5. Print and give them anything you think might be helpful, from the ARRL
material and "FCC letter" to the entire electrical chapter of the RFI Book.
See http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/rfi-elect.html and
http://www.arrl.org/catalog/6834. The newest link is to RFI Services
top-notch training program. Make sure you print
http://www.qsl.net/k3rfi/workshop.htm and get it into the right hands.
6. If you are not getting anywhere after a reasonable amount of time,
document the reasonable steps you have taken, and do a bit of research to
get the name of the utility Prez or Chief Operating Officer, or at least a
Senior Vice President in charge of customer service or distribution, and the
company mailing address. Get the summary to John Phillips, who will write
the CEO a letter, under the wing of ARRL's agreements with the FCC. That has
been about 60% effective in getting things moving ahead.
7. Again, unfortunately, things take time, and as long as the utility is
making some reasonable effort, the FCC has consistently made the decision to
let things run their course. ARRL can help the utility staff understand
what to do and how to find the problems, though not nearly as well as RFI
Services course. If the utility decides that they "are not spending any more
money on this," or just seem to have such a low priority that it will be
fixed next Nevuary, the League then sends the case to Riley, with a summary
of how every reasonable effort has been made to secure voluntary
cooperation. So far, Riley has agreed with all of our decisions that an
actual FCC letter is needed. We then send a draft of the letter, with all of
the company contact info and mailing address to Riley, as a Word documented,
formatted for his printer. :-) The FCC letter then goes out. ARRL
continues to work with the utility after that, to the extent that we can.
8. ARRL has a few cases that are about to go back to the Commission, for
further action to be determined.
Many of these steps are based on how the FCC wants to see these cases
handled. When I consider that 5 years ago, there was almost no chance that
the FCC would write a letter to a utility, I can live with the results.
Both the FCC and ARRL have finite staff resources, so we cannot function as
the first point of contact. In many cases, the ham makes the phone call,
they fix the problem and no one needs to be involved. But when that doesn't
work, the League takes a crack at it, then the FCC, leaving the FCC free to
work on those pesty carriers on 14.313 MHz.
Unfortunately, John may be out of the office for a day or two, though he may
be working at home tomorrow, so email firstname.lastname@example.org to start the process
rolling. Right now, John is working about a hundred cases, involving about
25 utilities, so bear with him. We are stretching the membership dollars
about as thin as they can be stretched in this case!
Ed Hare, W1RFI
225 Main St
Newington, CT 06111
ARRL is the National Association for Amateur Radio. It is supported by
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https://www.arrl.org/forms/fdefense/fdefense.html if you can help ARRL
protect Amateur Radio for you and future generations to enjoy.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tom Horton [mailto:email@example.com]
> Sent: Saturday, March 09, 2002 11:19 AM
> To: Pete Smith; firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: Re: [RFI] WOW!!!!!!!
> Pete, Jim, and everybody!
> Thanks for the concern.
> Yep, I have been fighting this a long time here.
> I have printed out all the pertinent FCC regs, a copy of the
> FCC letter, some
> of the archives of this reflector, etc.
> One fortunatething that I have had in my corner until
> recently is the fact
> the guy that was doing the investigating/finding/fixing is a
> ham himself.
> So he
> fully understands the problem. Of course, he can only work
> the problem when
> assign it to him. Obviously for me, not near often enough.
> Strangely he was pulled from the project about a month ago....hmmmm.
> Me thinks they don't really want to get this stuff solved.
> I am going to call John Phillips @ ARRL again on Monday
> morning early to see if
> he has any last minute advice...he wasn't in yesterday.
> Jim, I am going to go subscribe to that list right now.
> Pete, I saw your post about slack spans, and yes they are a problem.
> My guy says if you see one that is not horizontal, then it is
> probably a
> 73 Folks,
> I'll let you know what happens on Monday...hope I'm not in jail for
> one of Allegheny's lawyers!
> Tom K5IID
> At 09:15 03/09/02 -0500, Pete Smith wrote:
> >At 08:52 AM 3/9/02 EST, you wrote:
> > >Tom,
> > >
> > >Congratulations on getting their attention!
> > >
> > >Since they will be having lawyers on their side, they
> might be arguing the
> > >law, not the facts. (i.e.. whether they really need to do
> anything, not
> > >they can do to solve the problem.)
> >Actually, I suspect Allegheny is probably fairly typical. I
> first wrote to
> >them 4 years ago about RFI. They assigned me to work with a
> total drone of
> >an engineer whose reason for living was to avoid work. When
> I got wise to
> >this last summer (and no, I hadn't been pressing very hard),
> I went around
> >him and found another guy who was willing to work the
> problem. He brought
> >their part-time, scantily-equipped RFI guy down from Pennsylvania for
> >several days' work, and they have spent a number of days
> since working
> >various pole problems in my area. Things are getting better.
> >I found the real key has been to give them pole numbers (I use a 10m
> >battery-powered receiver to do that, because I don't have one for the
> >aircraft band) and then to follow up. I've developed a
> fairly educated
> >ear, and find that now I can drive down the road with my car
> radio between
> >stations at the high end of the AM band, and usually
> identify the rough
> >center of a given noise, then zero in on a particular pole
> with the HF radio.
> >Sorry that Tom had to go to the PSC, but I guess sometimes
> it takes that.
> >As for the utility's legal obligation, if you go to the ARRL
> TIS web site
> >you can find samples of letters the FCC has sent to various
> utilities tht
> >spell out their obligations in the RFI area. It's a very
> strong position
> >to argue from.
> >Lots more info at http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/rfi-elec.html
> >73, Pete N4ZR
> >Check out the World HF
> >Contest Station Database at
> >RFI mailing list
> Tom Horton
> K5IID in West "BY GAWD" Virginia
> " E " sorter for the W5 Bureau
> RFI mailing list