[RFI] Can Fluorescent bulbs cause RFI problems?

Michael Tope W4EF at dellroy.com
Tue Sep 27 02:43:26 EDT 2005

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Scott Neader KA9FOX" <ka9fox at qth.com>

> Hey guys.  I started getting on this kick of replacing our lights in the
> house with Fluorescent equivalents, to obviously save money and do a 
> little
> thing to conserve energy.  I've replaced about 25 so far.  They were the
> 60w and 100w basic light bulb equivalents.  I started looking into
> replacements for some of our most used 65w and 75w floods & reflectors in
> the recessed cans around the house when... whoa, what am I
> doing?!?!?!  Could this be a potential RFI problem?
> I searched the archives on this reflector, but not seeing much.  Any input
> would be appreciate.  I'll also try some tests with the existing bulbs and
> see what I can hear, if anything.
> FYI, what got me going on this was that I seem to be seeing these things
> everywhere I look.  Home Depot sells a 6 pack of the 60w fluorescent light
> bulbs for $9.95 a pack, and I just picked up a 6 pack of 100w bulbs for
> $15.50 at Sam's Club today.  The draw to saving 75% of the electricity
> costs and lasting 4-7 years is certainly interesting.  I would think we'd
> be seeing a lot of posts if these things were causing RFI problems... but
> maybe I'm the only ham to be dumb enough to bring them into the house?
> - Scott KA9FOX


I live on a small lot, so all of my antennas are very close to the house. I
have a number of compact fluorescents at very places in the house, I
so far I haven't noticed them causing RFI on the HF bands. I can hear
the ones in the hallway next to my shack on my AM radio in the garage,
but it is very close to the hallway wiring. I don't hear that same noise
when I listen on my 160 meter antenna which is about 20 feet in the
other direction. Same story with the conventional fluorescent tubes
lights in the garage (some noise on my AM receiver that sits right under
them, but nothing to speak of on the outside antenna). As far as dimmers
go, I had one in my old house that was noisy on 80 and 160. I replaced
it with a Lutron which cleaned up the noise. I think the Lutron still
put out some noise in the low medium wave range, however.

I've had a few of the compact fluorescents fail prematurely, but not
a significant number as of yet, so I guess there is still hope for a 6 to
7 year average life and the accompanying cost savings.

73 de Mike, W4EF.................................. 

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