Interference from HID (High Intensity Discharge) Street Lighting

iMONITOR

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#1
I discovered another source of strong interference of my SWL/MW/LW monitoring! Anyone else? If so have you attempted to resolve this with the street lighting utility company? I have one of these directly across the street from my home.

Interference from HID (High Intensity Discharge) Street Lighting

Street lighting interference
Street lighting interference | RSGB Forums

Ham Radio: Street light Interference (example):

Coming to a street near you…
https://www.eham.net/articles/38804


Light Bulbs and RFI — A Closer LookNew high efficiency light bulbs put out plenty of light, but hams wonder what else.
http://www.arrl.org/files/file/RFI/Light_Bulbs.pdf
 
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rja1

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#2
I chase RFI for local hams as a hobby. Sodium vapor lights (the ones that have the yellow / orange light) are well known for producing intermittent RFI when they cycle on / off. I haven't had any experience with LEDs yet.
Is the problem only when it's dark? Do you have any sodium vapor lights nearby?
Bob
N2OAM
 

iMONITOR

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I chase RFI for local hams as a hobby. Sodium vapor lights (the ones that have the yellow / orange light) are well known for producing intermittent RFI when they cycle on / off. I haven't had any experience with LEDs yet.
Is the problem only when it's dark? Do you have any sodium vapor lights nearby?
Bob
N2OAM
I'm fairly certain mine is metal halide. I'm very familiar with sodium vapor lights and they are very warm/yellow. Mine is a very light yellow, almost white light. Do you have any sucess with convincing the utility company to change them to LED or something with less intermittence?
 

rja1

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Now that I finally got to watch the video, looks like a metal halide lamp, but I'd be willing to bet it has a solid state ballast, not the typical iron core ballast transformer. Call the utility company and ask them to send someone out and show them the video. If they won't do anything for you, contact the FCC. Document everything, times, dates, contact names, etc. The FCC can be very helpful in situations like this. Is 10 meters the only band with RFI? How about 75, 40 and 20 Meters?
Was that a lamp that all of a sudden started making noise or is it a new installation? How far away from the lamp can you hear the RFI?

Bob
N2OAM
 

iMONITOR

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Now that I finally got to watch the video, looks like a metal halide lamp, but I'd be willing to bet it has a solid state ballast, not the typical iron core ballast transformer. Call the utility company and ask them to send someone out and show them the video. If they won't do anything for you, contact the FCC. Document everything, times, dates, contact names, etc. The FCC can be very helpful in situations like this. Is 10 meters the only band with RFI? How about 75, 40 and 20 Meters?
Was that a lamp that all of a sudden started making noise or is it a new installation? How far away from the lamp can you hear the RFI?

Bob
N2OAM
The video isn't mine, or my situation inparticular. It's just one I found on Youtube to demonstrate the problem that's similar to mine. Mine is the biggest problem on the AM broadcast band in general.
 

Danny37

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#6
The video isn't mine, or my situation inparticular. It's just one I found on Youtube to demonstrate the problem that's similar to mine. Mine is the biggest problem on the AM broadcast band in general.
I think that's pretty significant, especially if there's airports nearby. Maybe even the FAA could get involved.
 

iMONITOR

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Here in S.E. Michigan we had a significant change in the weather. In just a few days it went from -13 degrees to +50 degrees and 93% humidity and the interference decreased to almost nonexistent! Go figure?
 

rja1

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That would tend to indicate a loose hardware / cracked insulator problem. Like I previously asked, when does this occur? Days? Nights? Both? Does rain / snow make any difference? What does the interference sound like? Crackling / buzzing noise? Growling noise? Is utility wiring in your area overhead or underground?

Do you have a portable, wide band receiver like an Icom R2, R3, R5, R6, R20, R30 that can receive AM mode? Walk around the neighborhood & see if you can find where the interference is stronger. Then remove the antenna and try again. Before I got my Radar Engineers RF sniffers & ultrasonic arc detector, ( No, I didn't pay Radar Engineers prices, I put the four items I wanted as saved searches on eBay. It took several years, but I found all four for about 10% of what R.E. gets for them) I found the source pole of some bad RFI using this exact method. That particular pole had a guy wire...when I shook the guy, my Icom R20 Just about jumped off my belt!!! VOILA, I knew I had found the source.

When the utility guys got there, I showed them how I determined the source of RFI. They were pretty impressed that I had done it with just a scanner. They used their big $$$$$$$$$$ Radar Engineers ultrasonic arc detector to pinpoint exactly where the problem was, but ended up changing out all of the 35 year old dead end bell insulators with modern equipment & tightened every bolt up there. Problem solved!

Bob
N2OAM
 

iMONITOR

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#9
That would tend to indicate a loose hardware / cracked insulator problem. Like I previously asked, when does this occur? Days? Nights? Both? Does rain / snow make any difference? What does the interference sound like? Crackling / buzzing noise? Growling noise? Is utility wiring in your area overhead or underground?

Do you have a portable, wide band receiver like an Icom R2, R3, R5, R6, R20, R30 that can receive AM mode? Walk around the neighborhood & see if you can find where the interference is stronger. Then remove the antenna and try again. Before I got my Radar Engineers RF sniffers & ultrasonic arc detector, ( No, I didn't pay Radar Engineers prices, I put the four items I wanted as saved searches on eBay. It took several years, but I found all four for about 10% of what R.E. gets for them) I found the source pole of some bad RFI using this exact method. That particular pole had a guy wire...when I shook the guy, my Icom R20 Just about jumped off my belt!!! VOILA, I knew I had found the source.

When the utility guys got there, I showed them how I determined the source of RFI. They were pretty impressed that I had done it with just a scanner. They used their big $$$$$$$$$$ Radar Engineers ultrasonic arc detector to pinpoint exactly where the problem was, but ended up changing out all of the 35 year old dead end bell insulators with modern equipment & tightened every bolt up there. Problem solved!

Bob
N2OAM
Thanks Bob, this usually appears at night which would make sense because it is a light. However, now that you mention it, it does occur during the day sometimes but not consistently, so possibly it's not the street light. It sounds like a rough corse 60Hz buzz rather than a smooth hum, possibly arcing. Residential wiring is all underground, however across the other street (I'm on a corner) we have I believe to be 11KV power lines. The poles, lines, were all new about 8 years ago. I don't have a portable radio at the moment. I might be able to borrow one. I might just call DTE and see if they'll come out and check things.
 

GB46

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#10
I live across from a shopping centre, where the parking lot lighting was recently changed from sodium to something else, which I believe may be LEDs. I have no way of knowing for sure, but at any rate they're blazing white, and don't seem to have a warm-up cycle like the sodium ones did. The RFI level has actually increased since the change, however, not to mention the increase in light pollution. There must be at least 6 lamp posts in the lot, plus some more lighting mounted on the walls of the buildings, and now it's like daylight over there at night. Since those lights are the shopping centre's property and not on public streets, the utility company can't do a thing about it.

Using my portable's whip antenna in a perfectly vertical position seems to lessen that interference substantially compared with plugging in my wire antenna, which is horizontal. Station signals seem about equal both ways. I'm listening indoors; out on the balcony the signals are much stronger, but so is the RFI, as the lighting is slightly closer out there. Besides, it's too cold to be outside lately, anyway.
 
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#11
Bill just a FYI, primary is 13kv and the light is most likely SV, if your area has not been switched over to LED yet. There should be numbers on the STL, 25=250w being the most popular, but could be a number 7,10,15,25. LED's are labeled with the exact wattage and 135w seems to be the most popular on DTE.
 

iMONITOR

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Bill just a FYI, primary is 13kv and the light is most likely SV, if your area has not been switched over to LED yet. There should be numbers on the STL, 25=250w being the most popular, but could be a number 7,10,15,25. LED's are labeled with the exact wattage and 135w seems to be the most popular on DTE.
The street light is fed underground. The primary 13kv is not in a residential area. It is across a larger main street from my house. There are three large diameter braided aluminum wires, spaced sided by side very wide apart and very high. I'm thinking at times there may be some arcing somewhere.
 

RRR

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#13
Sodium vapor lights (the ones that have the yellow / orange light) are well known for producing intermittent RFI when they cycle on / off. Do you have any sodium vapor lights nearby?
Bob
N2OAM
Are you sure you're not referring to "High Pressure Sodium"? Those are the common ones that give off that awful "orangish" light.

Mercury Vapor are the classic ones, that have a bluish (sometimes green) tint to them. Personally, I love Mercury Vapor lights, but of course, everything that we like, is some kind of hazard...
 

iMONITOR

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Are you sure you're not referring to "High Pressure Sodium"? Those are the common ones that give off that awful "orangish" light.

Mercury Vapor are the classic ones, that have a bluish (sometimes green) tint to them. Personally, I love Mercury Vapor lights, but of course, everything that we like, is some kind of hazard...
They're similar but the low pressure is a darker yellow/orange color where the high pressure are closer to yellow.

Low Pressure Sodium
1549661684301.png
High Pressure Sodium
1549661916670.png
 

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RRR

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#15
Interesting....

So do "HPS" ones cause interference?

I absolutely can't stand the color output of those things.

And thank you for the education on them
 
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#17
The Low Pressure Sodium lamp (LPS) produces a nearly yellow light output and has the worst color rendition of all high intensity discharge (HID) lighting so they are not too commonly used.
The reddish orange color producing lamps are High Pressure Sodium (HPS). Often used outdoors in parking lots because while
their color rendition is better than the LPS variety it is still not good enough for most indoor use.
Mercury Vapor lamps give a much nicer blue-white light but have largely been replaced by Metal Halide lamps that produce an even nicer almost white light.
The technology is basically the same with all HID lamp types and all can cause radio interference.
LED technology is replacing HID but LED lamps can also cause radio interference.
Seems like everything causes radio interference nowadays. :(
 

rja1

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#19
I was referring to HPS lamps..........The ones that cycle before they totally die. I'm a street light / mercury vapor bulb (The EPA would have a stroke if they saw my mercury vapor bulb collection) / photo cell collector since is was a kid. In all my years, I've never see a mercury vapor lamp cycle. The get dim at the end of life, but don't cycle. And, yes.....color rendition with HPS & LPS is awful. Puke yellow comes to mind. Ever see a new car dealer with HPS lighting? There's a good reason they use 6500K color temp Metal Halide or LED's to light their lots.....Makes their cars look great!

The street light is fed underground. The primary 13kv is not in a residential area. It is across a larger main street from my house. There are three large diameter braided aluminum wires, spaced sided by side very wide apart and very high. I'm thinking at times there may be some arcing somewhere.
13,200 volt three phase primary is a popular distribution primary voltage. 13,2 between phases, 7,620 any phase to neutral. The wire used for primary wiring is called ACSR.......Aluminum Conductor, Steel Reinforced. Multiple aluminum conductors wound around a steel center strand. If this is a newer installation, arcing would not be common. Loose hardware, cracked or dirty insulators, and slack spans of primary phase are common causes of RFI caused by arcing. Old porcelain & metal dead end bell insulators can cause RFI if the wire spans they support have slack.

Here's some 50's vintage lights I have mounted on the house & garage. Both have 6500 K Leds. Mercury vapor is WAY too expensive to run. IMG_1927.JPG IMG_1935.JPG
 
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