ARRL still pushing the FCC to re-allocate 3600-3650.

Discussion in 'Amplitude Modulation' started by K4KYV, Nov 28, 2019.

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  1. K6CLS

    K6CLS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ya know, I never hear any CW when I tune through 3600+ kHz.

    Use it or lose it, guys. Better to get some activity than nothing at all.
  2. WQ4G

    WQ4G Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hallelujah Brother.... I've been wanting to put my 80 meter antenna back up and get back on 80 meters, but there is so much RFI on that band here that I probably would not be able to hear anything (except the RFI). 40 meters is almost useless too. And, so much for operating the vintage AM station I have sitting on the side. It's starting to get depressing. Between the Neon Signs, LED Street Lights, and poorly maintained power grid night time operation is becoming progressively more difficult. I have all but given up operating after sunset. A sad state of affairs for sure.

    Dan WQ4G
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
    1 person likes this.
  3. K4KYV

    K4KYV Subscriber QRZ Page

    Have you tried contacting whoever's in charge of the street lights (the power co. or the street dep't)? It isn't the LED lights but the switching power supplies that drive them that generate RFI. Just like grow lights, there are dirty and there are clean LED street lights. Although the FCC seems to have become a toothless wonder when it comes to actual enforcement of Parts 15 and 18 rules, sometimes just getting the routine form letter from the FCC will motivate the local utility.

    The biggest problem I have with street lights here (or probably should call them yard lights) that use sodium or mercury vapour lamps, is that after the lamps age to near the end of their life, they begin to cycle on and off continuously all night long, and the period when the light is off, it's re-igniting for next cycle, producing RFI that often wipes out reception here from a half mile away.

    When complaining, don't mention "ham radio"; they will probably just blow you off since they know you are probably the only one in the immediate area experiencing the difficulty. Tell them it's spoiling AM broadcast reception. They will take that more seriously, since it could be affecting more than just the one lone ham living in the area.

    Paul, I don't disagree with what you say. I don't want to see a digital sub-band in what used to be a phone band. What I am pointing out is that the dearth of activity on the band the past two seasons or so is giving the League a "we told you so" on this issue. On both 160 and 80m, I often tune across the low ends of the bands, and hear maybe one or two weak CW signals if even that, sparse phone activity in 3600-3700 and a lot of empty band space, but a S9+40 cluster of FT8 or other digital carriers on their usual spot frequency. I am not opposed to hams running open-source digital/data modes, but we don't need people who own expensive yachts but are too cheap to subscribe to a commercial wireless internet service, to co-opt a slice of the amateur band so they can use a propriety data service for free.
    WA3VJB, W1TRY, WQ4G and 2 others like this.
  4. AC0OB

    AC0OB Subscriber QRZ Page

    Amen Don.

    On the interference issue, most of this past summer I had a buzz/hash signal across most of the 40 meter band. Now, our power system feed is underground. I spoke with our local coop power engineer and asked him to have the local above-ground distribution transformer checked since my MFJ-856 Directional AC Line Noise Meter showed it to be the source.

    Now recently we had AMR's installed but I ruled that out when I brought my Spectrum Analyzer outside with a LAN antenna on the input and placed it near the meter.

    The poser company technician came out and tightened all connections inside the transformer and at the three power meters for the three houses the transformer fed.

    That reduced some of the noise but only maybe by about 0.1 dB and it continued.

    Later I noticed a city cherry picker truck crew working on a mercury vapor street light at the corner. Being the inquisitive (nosy) guy that I am I went down and spoke to the crew. They found the photocell assembly (triggering unit) was firing all the time and it took out the ballast AND the bulb. I asked them where the power came from to power the street light and they said the same transformer powering the three houses.

    Cool, but also being the slow guy that I am it didn't register that this may have been the source of my 40m frustrations.

    So a few nights days later I got on the 40m band for a scheduled AM round table and "low-and-behold," NO NOISE!

    Apparently, the faulty street light was creating both conducted and radiated noise.

  5. KA4KOE

    KA4KOE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Mercury vapor light was the cause of my brother's bad 75m QRM. All it took was a telephone call...problem solved.
  6. WQ4G

    WQ4G Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's quite a story... I've been battling RFI since about March of last year...

    Yes, I report all the malfunctioning street lights, that I can find, to the power company. They are pretty good about fixing them in a timely manner. They are also pretty good about trying to locate and fix any RFI sources on their equipment.

    I recently acquired an Air Band Receiver and built a directional antenna for it. This has helped a lot in that I can now track SOME of the RFI to it's source. But, there are areas, like around the Burger King located less than a block away, where there is so much RFI that I can not discern the source. Not sure what is causing the RFI coming from Burger King, but it is really SCREAMING and it covers over other signals in the area making it difficult to locate THEM.

    The crux of my situation is that I live in town near a commercial district. Within a mile of my house there is probably a thousand miles of power lines, literally thousands of street lights, half a dozen close in Neon Signs, and several businesses like BK that are spewing RFI like you wouldn't believe. The BK, I believe, has several sources radiating RFI. I have circled the place with my equipment and it appears that their TV screens (like at the drive through) and over head LED Street Lights are spewing tons of RFI. But, I will need additional equipment to pin point the exact source. Any suggestions on what my next piece of equipment should be will be greatly appreciated...

    And, then there is something that comes on about dark and goes off after sun rise that buzzes all night. I've been looking for it, but so far no luck. Obviously, it's on a light sensor. I now, after a lot of watching, listening, and searching, believe the RFI is being transmitted via conduction on the lines. At night, when the source is active, my house and shack wiring are 'hot' with RF. I have been able to trace the signal along the line, that feeds my house, to the transformer on the street and three other services fed by the transformer. I think...

    As others have said.... Life is hard for a ham living in town...

    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
  7. K4KYV

    K4KYV Subscriber QRZ Page

    That can be frustrating. Sometimes while driving I turn on the AM radio in the car, and even local stations are covered with hash. One of the problems with the AM band is that nowadays, most people do the majority of their radio listening in the car. Many people I know tell me they don't even have a radio in the house but listen only in the car. But power lines generally run along highway rights-of-way, so while a lot of the potential audience are in the only place where they listen, they are only a few feet from some of the worst noise generators, so they switch away from AM and listen to FM. Not that there's that much worth listening to on the AM band anyway.

    I live out in the country, although we are becoming increasingly surrounded by urban sprawl. Usually it's quiet out here, but we do have bouts of noise pollution. Some of the worst offenders can be rural power lines.

    After a freak windstorm damaged the power grid here and some were without power for up to 5 days (we were without it for 3 hours), once power was restored, we had a tremendous line noise that wiped out 160m on all antennas, and the beverage on the rest of the bands. 75m on the dipole was barely affected, but the noise kept me off 160 and 40 for almost 2 weeks. To make it worse, the noise was intermittent, so every time I tried to run it down with a portable radio, it would quit, almost like clockwork. It finally went away. Don't know if the power co. fixed it, it fixed itself, or whatever it was finally burnt out. I suspect something was blown loose in the storm, or fell over a power line.
  8. K4KYV

    K4KYV Subscriber QRZ Page

    You will enjoy this thread, if you haven't already seen it.

    Have Roderick or CEO Michel left any recent hints of their attitude regarding AM?
    WA3VJB likes this.
  9. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Roderick some years ago was both defensive and dismissive of concerns I directly raised to him that the ARRL had done harm to the AM community in its unwarranted action at the IARU. The League, as the representative organization for U.S. licensees, is obligated to learn the sentiment of those who could be affected by ARRL steps taken at the volunteer IARU. Roderick failed to explain how his staffer, now former ARRL employee Paul Rinaldo, could propose and endorse efforts to array HF modes and activities by bandwidth, instead of the popular, longstanding coordination by operating compatibility.

    Roderick became belligerent when I asked him whether Rinaldo had tried to do an end-run against the AM community, which had just successfully led an overwhelming opposition campaign in the FCC's public record, that doomed Rinaldo's proposal through the ARRL.

    I have not seen anything out of Roderick to suggest he is a "friend" of our part of the hobby.

    I also am not convinced that he is aware of the affirmative symbolism associated with the W1AW-AM station, now featuring both a converted AM broadcast transmitter, and a fully functional store-bought AM transmitter and audio chain.

    The CEO you mentioned is totally unknown to me. What a shame now-retired CEO Tom Gallagher has left. He, more than any other administrative figure in Newington, paved the way to actively and deliberately include AM in the League's operating activity, its political thinking, and in the group's regulatory actions.
    K5UJ likes this.
  10. K5UJ

    K5UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Rinaldo recently went SK. K1ZZ is the only surviving member of the Triumvirate.

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