Does High Speed Rail Interfere With Ham Radio Transmissions?

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shortwaver

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I wasn't sure if I should ask this in the Railroad Forum, but this forum seems more appropriate.

I'm looking to find out if the new high speed rail systems along the east coast have shown to interfere with amateur radio transmissions. I maybe looking to move, and there are homes in my area that are near these rail lines. I plan on setting up a base station with a long wire or beam antenna.

Does anyone have experience with living anywhere along these lines, and if you've noticed any degration of signal or interference?

73
 

DJ11DLN

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Curious about this

No. Why would they?
Since you have declined to set a location in your profile, I can't guess whether or not you do or ever have lived close to the electrified parts of the Northeast Corridor. I don't (obviously) and never have visited that area, but I always imagined that a catenary shoe bouncing along an electrified wire would create a certain amount of RFI, as would grounding the circuit to complete it. A moving shoe and a rolling wheel being IMHO far from perfect conductors. Just curious.
 

KK4JUG

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Since you have declined to set a location in your profile, I can't guess whether or not you do or ever have lived close to the electrified parts of the Northeast Corridor. I don't (obviously) and never have visited that area, but I always imagined that a catenary shoe bouncing along an electrified wire would create a certain amount of RFI, as would grounding the circuit to complete it. A moving shoe and a rolling wheel being IMHO far from perfect conductors. Just curious.
Based on your theory, I would think any amount, if generated, would be ultra slight and would be limited to the very immediate area of the generation without some sort of amplification.
 

jim202

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I was looking at the feed lines powering the trains as similar to power lines, which I know can be very noisy on AM.
Any power line could be a source of noise if there are poor connections under a current flow or have cracked insulators. Normally the power company would like to be informed that there is a problem. the reason being is that theses sources of problems are also costing them operating expenses due to lost power consumption.

As for the arcing of the high voltage overhead slider and the ground slider or roller, this arcing noise will not last long as the train will travel out of the area fairly fast. So any noise you might hear will not last long.

A larger concern would be moving into a house that has high voltage transmission towers running near by. These are well know to be a major source of HF static that can raise the noise floor to a really high level. In many cases it will be high enough to render use of the HF ham frequencies useless.

So careful selection of a new home location is very important. Be wise in where you select a home. Also make sure your not going to be in a low elevation area that could flood with heavy rains. Most people are blinded when looking for a new home and don't take into account what is surrounding them.
 

jonwienke

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Since you have declined to set a location in your profile, I can't guess whether or not you do or ever have lived close to the electrified parts of the Northeast Corridor.
I used to commute into DC by train and ride the Metro, which is 100% electric, every day. And listen do the scanner on the way. Arcing can cause short-range interference on AM and sideband-modulated frequencies up to 30-40MHz, but with FM or digital on VHF lowband or above, it has no noticeable effect in most cases.

You may hear static on HF/MF/LF AM/SSB as the locomotive passes, but you'd have to be close to the tracks.

But on 2-meter or 70cm it's a complete non-issue.
 

DJ11DLN

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I used to commute into DC by train and ride the Metro, which is 100% electric, every day. And listen do the scanner on the way. Arcing can cause short-range interference on AM and sideband-modulated frequencies up to 30-40MHz, but with FM or digital on VHF lowband or above, it has no noticeable effect in most cases.

You may hear static on HF/MF/LF AM/SSB as the locomotive passes, but you'd have to be close to the tracks.

But on 2-meter or 70cm it's a complete non-issue.
I had presumed that the OP was asking in regards to HF and down, and AM-based modes. I have a bad insulator about 100 yards from my house which I've been warring with the electric utility over for years that renders everything of that nature S9+20 bacon frying, but my scanners aren't affected...unless I try to monitor Aviation. It used to bother VHF-Lo FM a bit but that's been dead here for a long time. But HF AM/CW/SSB is a big part of Amateur Radio, so I would think it would be pertinent. IMHO.

As I said, just curious...there's no electrified rail in my neck of the woods.
 

shortwaver

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Thanks for the input all. I am going to assume that any noise from the rail lines would be brief only when a train is going by. Not sure but I thought they would cause similar noise issues line high voltage transmission lines running overhead.
 
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