Any thoughts about better reception in a high-RFI rental environment?

modrachlan

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Jefferson City, MO USA
I moved after owning a house many years to a rental with a high-RFI environment and I'm still, three years later, trying to come to terms with it.

The RFI manifests as a persistent wockwockwockwock that drowns out most signals above 8mhz. tracing it with a portable, it's all around the building and outside the house for a distance of about 12 feet. Below about 8mhz it isn't as bad, but 8mhz and up it is persistent, I can't even get WWV without this annoying noise.

Note, this is not a constant sound, but rather anytime a signal is received, the wockawockawocka is present and drowns out the station. Frustratingly, a band can not have this interference at all, until I find a station, then it appears and swamps it- almost like it's mocking me...

I have unplugged all wall warts from the house and it affects the level of noise a little but the wockwockwock is absolutely unaffected.

Unfortunately I can't test very effectively, I live in a duplex and can't turn off the electrical service.

I have tried a variety of radios, from a Sony ICF-2010 to a Lowe HF-150 to an RSP-1a, with a wellbrook loop (on the outside line- see below), a youloop and a SV2CZF TLA500C indoor loop antenna which has some tunability. that one can null it out out sometimes, but not consistently.

What can I try to reduce noise and increase readability? Other places I've lived the noise was not this bad and could get by just fine with what I've got.

Unfortunately the only line out of the house is to an unused satelite dish. I did disconnect it from the dish and connected the wellbrook, sitting it out in the yard to test. It has the wockawocka the same as listening from inside.

I can of course go out in the field and get away from the noise, but I don't want to do all of my listening out in the field. I would really like to have a space in the house where I can establish a receiving setup semi-permanently. I was able to null out the wockawocka with a portable about 50 ft from the house, by both positioning whip and a youloop away from the house. Antenna amplifiers seem out of the question, they really aggravate the noise. maybe becase they are using the electrical service. I have not tried with batteries.

I have entertained the idea of connecting a longwire or dipole to this satellite line, though I don't have much space outside. Wondering if perhaps loops are not the answer, a long wire away from the house and electrical lines maybe. Is there a system that is particularly good at eliminating local RFI? what if the longwire were buried or on the ground or had a counterpoise? I've never built a long wire antenna but it's someting to try and loops aren't doing it.

Any thoughts? Things to try? suggested setup that works well in bad RFI environments? outboard filters or preamps or tuners? I'll try anything, that can be allowed by the landlord, at this point.
Thank you.
 
Last edited:

tuihill

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Te Pahu, New Zealand
Presume you have unplugged you television, audio system, alarms, kitchen appliances, etc one by one to see if the noise persists?
Have you asked your party wall neighbour if they can help you identify the noise? May be something in their house.
 

vagrant

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This reminds me of the noise I heard when charging via USB. I was in the middle of a forrest, so I was causing my RFI. It was noisy all over the place. I did not have any tinfoil at the time, but I was able to fit the stuff into a Sterno stove in an effort to contain the RFI and it worked. There was a pulse to the noise like you describe.

As previously noted, turn off and unplug everything. Turn on a receive radio and then start plugging things back in as well as turning them on and see if the culprit is in your rental unit.

Touch lamps and noisy wall warts have caused me problems as well, but it was continuous versus a pulse.
 

modrachlan

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Jefferson City, MO USA
This reminds me of the noise I heard when charging via USB. I was in the middle of a forrest, so I was causing my RFI. It was noisy all over the place. I did not have any tinfoil at the time, but I was able to fit the stuff into a Sterno stove in an effort to contain the RFI and it worked. There was a pulse to the noise like you describe.

As previously noted, turn off and unplug everything. Turn on a receive radio and then start plugging things back in as well as turning them on and see if the culprit is in your rental unit.

Touch lamps and noisy wall warts have caused me problems as well, but it was continuous versus a pulse.
hey, thanks for this- I've asked others about this (not here i mean) and this is the first time someone recognized that pulsing interference. I don't think I asked the kids to unplug their chargers. Dang, that might be it. Much appreciated!
 

modrachlan

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Jefferson City, MO USA
I would try a Am portable radio tuned in between stations. Using it as a directional finder. You must identify the cause before you can get a filter, shut it off, or call the power company. You could waste hundreds of dollars trying different things.
I definitely would prefer to not waste those hundreds :D I have not tried direction finding in this manner- thank you so much, that is very helpful.
 

wcsd45

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Jul 23, 2010
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Worthy essential reading.

Decent chance you need some chokes. More turns thru a choke typically better, so if you invest in snap-on chokes, get larger diameter to allow more turns. Toroids can handle even more turns, commonly known as FT240-31.

Good Luck,

Chuck KC9QBY
 

vagrant

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If they do, that is probably the source. If your loop can somewhat null it when turned, I would think that is the issue. It is probably that more than any other cause.


oof- actually, I think my neighbors may be have one of those invisible dog fences. Dangit. I'd have no control over that. thanks for the idea.
 

iMONITOR

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oof- actually, I think my neighbors may be have one of those invisible dog fences. Dangit. I'd have no control over that. thanks for the idea.
I thought the FCC didn't allow people to use devices that interfere with area radio/TV's, ETC?
 

iMONITOR

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Do you have any touch lamps? I have found them causing RFI even if not turned on. I unplug them now.
Also some LED bulbs emit lots of RFI.
Someone told me to look for LED bulbs with a UL approval, but I've never seen them. CREE's that were sold by Home Depot are quiet, I have a house full of them. I have 4 Phillips 50W floods track mounted on my monitoring room ceiling, no nose at all. Got lucky I guess.
 

cmdrwill

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How do the Feit Enhance 8.8 watt LED 60 watt equivalent 5000K daylight lamp bulbs do as to RF noise?
 

Chronic

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JoshuaHufford

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Never seen one of these before. Do they actually work?
 
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