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Smart Meters

Discussion in 'VHF/UHF - 50Mhz and Beyond' started by VE3JCJ, Mar 7, 2019.

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  1. VE7PJR

    VE7PJR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here's how I understand it -- usual disclaimers apply and please correct me if I'm wrong....

    Smart meters are part of a network. Each node (meter) on the network transmits its own status, plus repeating the status of any nodes "farther up the line." Eventually the aggregated data reaches the home office and is sorted. This means that if you are in a spot where very few other meters are, your meter may spend a lot of time retransmitting data from nodes farther away from the office. If you are out at the "end" of the network your meter will only transmit occasionally. If you are in a highly populated area your meter may or may not spend a lot of time passing other meters' data. It depends on how the data is flowing in the network, and whether the network needs to respond to slow spots.

    Here in Canada it is possible to opt for a "radio off" smart meter. There is a fair bit of pressure from the hydro folks to not go that way, expressed as "the meter won't play properly with the network," or "that option may cause problems in transmitting data across the network." We had to put in a smart meter to accommodate grid-tied solar. I opted for radio-off because the dang meter is just on the other side of the wall from my shack. A radio-off meter requires either a technician to come up and read it (at a cost of $35 per visit for us since it's an hour each way for them) or an arrangement can be made to email a date-stamped photograph of the meter face to the home office (with a visit every 3 or 4 months just to put eyes on it).

    RF exposure seems to be a major concern -- as it should be! -- but many people (including some in our hobby) don't really understand the science. So when you see some person on YouTube with a simple RF meter, showing that their smart meter "is stuck in the transmit position all the time" that's actually the meter doing what it's designed to do: be part of a network, and transmit any incoming data as well as the data from its particular node.

    Now, I will say I think we'd be better off without so many "labour-saving" beeps and bloops of RF energy cluttering up the spectrum, but on the other hand the dog ain't gonna bite a packet of data crossing the property.


    Chuck VE7PJR
  2. N8VIL

    N8VIL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I love the people who complain about the RF exposure caused by smart meters but spend 18 hours out of the day on their smart phone.
  3. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have "smart meters" for both electric and gas.

    They are both less than five years old. No RFI before, no RFI afterwards so I can't tell if they generate any. Maybe they do, but I don't hear it. If they send data for just milliseconds at a time, I might not notice it.
    N8VIL likes this.
  4. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    There are no "smart" gas meters in my neighborhood. However, there is a "smart" electric meter and, just several months ago, the city installed "smart" water meters! For a couple of decades we had water meters that required a meter reader to walk up and place a sensor, on the end of a hand held short pole, to read the meter. Now, the meter reader can just be in the neighborhood and read the meters without having to even get out of his / her vehicle.

    Although WPA seems to have problems with his exact same model meter as I have (he lives 8.2-miles from me according to the map here on, I have absolutely no interference from my meter (also same electric company).

    Glen, K9STH
  5. AA5CT

    AA5CT Ham Member QRZ Page

    What was it that Sargent Schultz used to say: "I see nothing!"

    Smart interference to 2.5 MHz WWV, apartment complex

  6. W2WDX

    W2WDX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The only thing I have to say is ... does she use a cell phone? If so her concerns are ambiguous, not to mention arbitrary. Her exposure to "radiation" is hundreds of times higher using her phone as any random "radiation" in her environment.

    Hysteria from misinformation is a big problem these days. It's why the existence of climate change is debated, scientific consensus and conclusive data notwithstanding. It's why so many children in this country (US) are now highly susceptible to things like measles in many communities, something that was eradicated at one time. They want to protect their children due to ignorance, by leaving them prone to a likely fast & horrible death. We are leaving the age of reason, folks. Tighten your seatbelts.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
    N0TZU and N8VIL like this.
  7. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    The only problem is that true "tin foil" is hard to find, and Aluminum is a poor substitute!:rolleyes:
  8. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

    A good hobby shop should have thin sheet tin made by K & S.
    KP4SX likes this.
  9. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hobby Lobby has a lot of cool stuff.

    Even rocket engines to fly you to outer space, But it takes a bunch of them.
  10. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    When I lived in Nevis I saw some of the old coin-operated meters still on people's porches. Put in a shilling or a penny and get x amount of time for electricity. This was in the late 80s and they of course had been phased out. Pretty cool, though, kinda like a parking meter in that it told you how much time you had left.
    I don't think they created any RFI.
    N8VIL likes this.

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