FCC CONTACTS UTILITY IN HAM INTERFERENCE CASE

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  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    From the ARRL...



    The FCC has written Cumberland Electric Membership Cooperative of
    Clarksville, Tennessee, in a case of suspected power-line interference to an
    Amateur Radio operator. ARRL Lab Supervisor Ed Hare, W1RFI, has been working
    with the amateur, Paul Fulk Jr, N8ITF, of Springfield, Tennessee.



    Fulk first complained to Cumberland two years ago and is still trying to get
    the situation resolved. The FCC now has put the ball back squarely into the
    utility's court. A Cumberland official has told ARRL that the utility will
    fix the problem if it's at fault.



    In a March 20 letter to Cumberland, Consumer Center Deputy Chief Sharon
    Bowers of the FCC's Consumer Information Bureau advised the utility to
    "locate the source of interference caused by its equipment and make
    necessary corrections within a reasonable time." According to the FCC, after
    Cumberland's efforts to take care of the interference failed, the utility
    told Fulk that if he or an ARRL representative could locate the problem,
    Cumberland would fix it.



    Bowers, however, told Cumberland that in cases of power-line interference
    "it is not possible for non-utility company people to safely perform all of
    the tests necessary to identify the source of the interference." And the FCC
    reminded Cumberland that Commission rules require the operator of the device
    radiating interference to locate and eliminate the interference.



    Fulk first contacted Cumberland Electric Membership Cooperative in the
    spring of 1999 to complain of RF noise on his C-band television receiver,
    his 220 and 440 MHz repeaters, and his HF receiver. The utility replaced a
    distribution transformer and three broken insulators. It also discovered a
    noisy and poorly grounded cable-TV power supply, and it recommended that
    Fulk put insulators on his tower guy wires and improve his tower grounding.



    The RF noise continued. Last spring, Fulk contacted ARRL for assistance.
    Hare, in turn, contacted the utility--as well as ARRL Tennessee Section
    Manager O.D. Keaton, WA4GLS. Keaton visited Fulk and reported his own
    observations to ARRL.



    Cumberland forwarded a copy of the 1999 site visit, stating that the noise
    was still present despite the repairs and concluding that "all known
    electric utility sources of common electrical interference have been
    detected and corrected." Fulk disagreed and asked the utility to continue
    its efforts to eliminate the noise. He also asked the FCC for assistance.



    In its letter to the utility the FCC raised the specter of violations and
    fines, but for now, the FCC said, it would prefer for the parties to resolve
    the problem "without FCC intervention." The FCC told Cumberland to advise
    Fulk within 30 days of the steps it's taking to correct the reported
    interference.



    The ARRL Technical Information Service offers additional information on RFI
    and power-line interference, http://www.ARRL.org/tis/info/rfi-elect.html.
    Amateurs suffering from interference believed to be emanating from
    power-generation or transmission facilities may contact Ed Hare, W1RFI, <A HREF="mailto:rfi@arrl.org">rfi@arrl.org .
     
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