Apple Time Capsule powers off when transmitting on 20m ham radio

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by K3JRZ, Feb 25, 2016.

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  1. K3JRZ

    K3JRZ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    No bashing of Apple hardware. Thanks. I've also posted this on Apple's Community Forum, so I added some additional amateur radio info for them...


    I have an AirPort Time Capsule 802.11ac ME177LL/A (2 TB). It's in relative close proximity to my Yaesu FT-991 amateur radio. My radio has been sitting in this position for almost 2 months with 2 antenna wires (one for VHF/UHF and one for HF) running underneath my desk. And I've been transmitting on the 20m band (14MHz) for 2 months fine. No problems.

    Until a few days ago when every time I transmitted on the voice part of the band (14.225 MHz to 14.350 MHz for General licensees) my AirPort Time Capsule powers off (transmitting voice by hitting the push to talk [PTT] button on the microphone). It takes unplugging it from the rear and re-inserting the power cord back into for it to power back on. I've been able to repeat this on different frequencies in that range (14.225 MHz to 14.350 MHz). I can transmit fine on every other band and the digital, CW (morse code), and RTTY portions of the 20m band (14.025 MHz to 14.150 MHz) with the radio connected to my iMac with a A/B USB cable.

    (Physically, it's not the ideal setup, but living in a townhouse I'm somewhat limited with space, inside and out.)

    Like I said, I've had no issues transmitting in the frequency range for 2 months. Nothing has changed. Wiring hasn't changed. Location of anything hasn't changed. The amount of power hasn't changed. No equipment for my radio or computer stuff has changed.

    Any ideas???


    FIRST RESPONSE from someone:
    It is a pretty unique problem.

    Hard to imagine the wireless is actually directly interfering in any way.. although the physical distance to much higher power wireless can do strange stuff.

    I am more incline to think it is the power supply in the TC which are known to be fragile. Can you plug it into a power point far away and run it on extension cord, or even just move it away for a test.. Even if you have no internet connection..

    What sort of internet do you have btw?? Does the main modem have any issues when you are transmitting? Remember a lot of stuff is happening in cable at freq not that far away from your 14mhz band.



    Comcast cable with my own modem (Motorola SurfBoard SB6121). The modem is about 3 years old.

    I did move the Time Capsule about further away (3 feet), but my radio still knocks it offline. Any further will take a few days so I can get longer ethernet cables. I'd need two cables (from the cable modem to the Time Capsule and from the Time Capsule to my iMac). Although moving it 10-20 feet into the middle of the townhouse & into the hallway isn't an ideal location for the Time Capsule.
  2. K8AC

    K8AC XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Wrap several turns of the power cable through a ferrite core, close to the end that plugs into the device. If there are other cables plugged into the device, you may have to do the same, or use clamp-on ferrites if the stiffness of the cables preclude wrapping them through a ferrite core.

    73, K8AC
    K0UO, W8SIG and K3JRZ like this.
  3. K3JRZ

    K3JRZ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Basically the guy in the Apple Community Forum thinks it's my cable modem that's causing the issue. He has several posts where he claims the modem has issues with power, but nothing relating to it causing my Time Capsule to power off.

    I need to go out and grab a few more clamp-on ferrite chokes and see what happens. I also have a few toroids that I can try too.

    Thanks & 73.

  4. KF5FEI

    KF5FEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm assuming the time capsule communicates with your router via WiFi? If it uses a network cable, I'd put some ferrites on it, as well as getting a good shielded USB cable with ferrites (Tripp-Lite). Ditto on the power cord, per above.

    Depending on your antenna type and location, you may have stray RF on the radio as well. Are the time capsule and the radio / PC plugged into the same outlet or outlets on the same breaker?
  5. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Jeff -
    Common-mode RF issues can wreck havoc in a small apartment/condo/townhouse.

    Since this is an issue with your Antenna system ---
    You may find the issue on certain frequencies or bands.

    Jim Brown, W9YC wrote a very good Primer for new amateurs.
  6. AB3IE

    AB3IE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have the same problem as K3JRZ. I haven't used my IC-756PRO3/Buckmaster OCF dipole antenna rig for two years. Previously no problems with interference with my Comcast cable/Apple TimeCapsule setup. Last year, however, I installed a new cable modem (Motorola MB8600) to take advantage of the faster ISP speed provided by Comcast.

    This week, using my rig for the first time since the upgrade to the Motorola MB860 (DOCSIS 3.1) Cable Modem, I found that my TimeCapsule powered off as soon as I started transmitting with my transceiver. As the only thing that has changed since my previous situation two years is the new Motorola modem. The modem and TimeCapsule are three feet from my transceiver.

    K3JRZ – what solution did you finally find for your problem, and is it fully effective? Please let me know the specifications of what you installed – preferable with an online source for ordering, in view of current lockdown Covid-19 conditions.

    On a web search I found an RFI filter from DX Engineering. Do you think this or something similar would work?

    Thanks and 73.
  7. K3JRZ

    K3JRZ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    It was also happening on other HF bands and less on 20m Voice.

    I haven’t found any solution.

    I’ll be upgrading my modem sometime in the future so I’ll have to see if the issue is fixed then.
  8. AB3IE

    AB3IE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not good to hear that.

    I'm sending my IC-756Pro3 off to Burghardt for installation of the Inrad roofing filter. So, I have two weeks to try to figure this out. Do you think the DX Engineering RFI filter that I linked above is worth trying?
  9. K9MRD

    K9MRD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    What is your antenna?
  10. AB3IE

    AB3IE Ham Member QRZ Page

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