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HF/MW/LW General Discussion General discussion on monitoring the HF (High Frequency), MW (Medium Wave), and LW (Long Wave) spectrum (0.5 - 30 MHz)

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Old 10-23-2013, 3:52 PM
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Default Need suggestions for a bad SWL environment

Hello All,
I considered posting this to the antenna forum but I think this discussion goes a bit beyond that. I've come back to listening, a hobby I once pursued with a passion. I purchased a Sony 7600GR a while ago after researching several options including my budget and I've traveled several roads since trying to find solutions to my environmental issues. I live in a manufactured home and my location doesn't afford me many options for an outdoor antenna (random long-wire being my usual choice) and there is far too much metal in the home's construction to gain any useful performance from an indoor random wire. My biggest challenge however is good old basic EMF interference from computers (of which I have many in the house) and neighborhood electrical noise from all the poorly designed and equally poorly maintained power line infrastructure. I think my best approach is a tunable mag loop but I am certainly open for suggestions. I'd really like to get beyond punching in 5MHz and straining to hear WWV just to check the batteries in my 7600, if you know what I mean. I can grab a few things around 6000 KHz on good nights but otherwise the noise I find while scanning around is just putting me to sleep...

Thanks
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Old 10-23-2013, 5:31 PM
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Best suggestion is something like this taped to a window:

LA5030-2 Indoor North Amer. ver. with PSU

Or if you can get it outside and on top of your home: http://www.wellbrook.uk.com/antennas...&product_id=34

The only caveat here is that this antenna is quite a bit for the 7600GR. It's really made for a true desktop SW receiver and not portables since they usually lack the electronics to prevent front-end damage and/or filtering.

This might be a better choice since it's made for Sony portable SW radios. You can find it on EBay or possibly Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-AN-LP1-Po...T84/ref=sr_1_8

Last edited by nickcarr; 10-23-2013 at 5:35 PM..
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Old 10-27-2013, 7:19 AM
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Thanks for the reply. I've been tempted to try the AN-LP1. You are right about the Sony portable - it's a great little radio but it is happiest as a portable and although it has manual attenuation that you can switch in I'd be afraid to connect it to a decent random wire - the noise from the industrial above-ground power lines only a few blocks away would probably be more than it could tolerate.
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Old 10-27-2013, 8:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nozmoking View Post
Hello All,
I considered posting this to the antenna forum but I think this discussion goes a bit beyond that. I've come back to listening, a hobby I once pursued with a passion. I purchased a Sony 7600GR a while ago after researching several options including my budget and I've traveled several roads since trying to find solutions to my environmental issues. I live in a manufactured home and my location doesn't afford me many options for an outdoor antenna (random long-wire being my usual choice) and there is far too much metal in the home's construction to gain any useful performance from an indoor random wire. My biggest challenge however is good old basic EMF interference from computers (of which I have many in the house) and neighborhood electrical noise from all the poorly designed and equally poorly maintained power line infrastructure. I think my best approach is a tunable mag loop but I am certainly open for suggestions. I'd really like to get beyond punching in 5MHz and straining to hear WWV just to check the batteries in my 7600, if you know what I mean. I can grab a few things around 6000 KHz on good nights but otherwise the noise I find while scanning around is just putting me to sleep...

Thanks

It might be a good effort to go around the house and find all your sources of noise. D-Linc devices are a source of noise. Shut things all off and unplug all the network items. Then go back and turn on just one thing at a time. I would start with the Ethernet system. Once you find a device, leave it off and go on to the next item. Next power up the different computers one at a time. Don't forget any large screen TV. They are another source of generated radio noise. Fish tank heater controls are a forgotten source.

Now that you have gone through all the common items, how much noise is left and what does it sound like?
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Old 10-28-2013, 3:25 AM
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Do you have the option of mounting a "mobile" telescopic antenna by the window? I had similar problems in my apartment because of computers in my room and RFI noise from upstairs and down stairs neighbors that I have no control over. I solved the noise problem with shielded coaxial cable, coiled multiple times to attenuate noise, and a simple RH-205 "mobile" telescopic antenna mounted with binder clips at the window.
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Old 10-28-2013, 3:29 AM
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Electric blankets, touch lamps and light dimmer switches are additional sources of RFI to checkout. Generally, anything using A/C mains power is a possibility. If possible and if your breaker panel supports it, flip the primary breaker which shuts off power completely to your place. Leave the 7600 on while you do this... if your noise completely drops out then it's something in your home.

If the RFI is still around then it's likely something nearby... leave your power off and walk around the area and see if you can pinpoint it.

If you can trace it to a specific utility pole then contact your local power company and report it.
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Old 10-28-2013, 7:34 AM
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If you can trace it to a specific utility pole then contact your local power company and report it.
In all seriousness...what exactly would you report? Would you tell them "I think this pole is generating RFI"? (This seems atypical compared to calls like line down, no power, etc...)

Not doubting you, but wondering how this type of call would actually play out...
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Old 10-28-2013, 8:23 AM
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In all seriousness...what exactly would you report? Would you tell them "I think this pole is generating RFI"? (This seems atypical compared to calls like line down, no power, etc...)

Not doubting you, but wondering how this type of call would actually play out...
you and your radio are acting like a troubleshooter for them-they actually want to fix the problem as it could be due to a bad connection or weak ground so to increase efficiency.
OP since your SW radio is portable, tune the noise in on the noisiest SW band-better yet, if you can get the most offending noise between 530-1700kHzAM between stations (on MW the loop antenna has the directionality you want for pinpointing) then walk the neighborhood with it. You may be surprised to find it's not utility poles but a neighbor with a noisy appliance or a guy growing pot in his garage (like I had)
If you also could, get a clip of the noise into this thread. Maybe we could help ID it for you.
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Old 10-28-2013, 9:07 AM
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you and your radio are acting like a troubleshooter for them-they actually want to fix the problem as it could be due to a bad connection or weak ground so to increase efficiency.
I get that...but how would you open the conversation with customer service? "I have a shortwave radio, and I think constant electrical noise from pole X is interfering with my reception."

Would you be taken seriously, i.e. do they have a call flow for this sort of thing?
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Old 10-28-2013, 9:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eorange View Post
In all seriousness...what exactly would you report? Would you tell them "I think this pole is generating RFI"? (This seems atypical compared to calls like line down, no power, etc...)

Not doubting you, but wondering how this type of call would actually play out...
The power companies are supposed to act on complaints of RFI coming from power poles, and the FCC can (and have) put pressure on the power companies to fix it. Some power companies take RFI seriously and act quickly, others don't.
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Old 10-28-2013, 9:23 AM
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How about a carpet loop antenna? albeit a DIY antenna it supposedly has a low noise floor, details can be found at N1KGH's Carpet Loop Antenna
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Old 10-28-2013, 9:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eorange View Post
I get that...but how would you open the conversation with customer service? "I have a shortwave radio, and I think constant electrical noise from pole X is interfering with my reception."

Would you be taken seriously, i.e. do they have a call flow for this sort of thing?
Here's some good reading and some good links:
FCC enforcement involving electric utilities

If the utility company doesn't take you seriously or doesn't resolve the issue, you can submit a complaint to the FCC.

I know from experience it can sometimes take weeks and months to get them out there at the same time the noise is happening on the radio, prove to them it's their transformer, and get it replaced. I did it about 15 years ago when I was getting S9+60 noise on 40-15 meters on HF. It took several calls and several service visits, but finally got them to replace the bad transformer.

Good luck!
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Old 10-28-2013, 9:44 AM
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An RFI complaint to a power utility is usually taken very seriously. First off, the FCC can cite utilities for interference. They do fairly frequently. Second, the RFI might indicate a latent failure that won't be good for the power distribution service. An insulator breaking down, or a transformer arcing could fail in a spectacular and possibly dangerous way. So most of the time, they are on top of things and have specialist technicians who have all kinds of equipment to identify problems. Cable TV companies are like this, too. I know a few guys who have equipment that can test for leakage from their lines. The FCC can and does fine them, too.

For antennas, have you tried loading up the metal frame of the house with an antenna tuner? I've loaded up rain gutters and fences with better-than-nothing results. I also remember reading an article from when I was a kid involving some aluminum foil, thumb tacks, and some wire that could be made into a roll-out antenna that's thumb tacked to the wall behind pictures and decorations, etc.
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WB4CS View Post
Here's some good reading and some good links:
FCC enforcement involving electric utilities
Very good...that's exactly what I was wondering, i.e. how would you start. Thanks!!
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