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RF Noise - Power Line Static
I've been mentioning on the 6 and 10 meter nets how I have power line static that is pretty loud.  It is about S5 to S7.   It seems to be North East of me.

Yesterday I started a noise complaint with Eversource.

I also took my MFJ noise finder and and went down on the linear trail which runs from Platt High down to Red Bridge in So. Meriden.  I just took the rubber duck antenna because I wanted to get a feel for the noise along the trail.  The last time that I had problems much of it was along that line which feeds both the North end of town and is also the feed for the whole area around here.  I concentrated going north toward the school because that is the direction where the noise seems to peak.  It shows on 6, 10 and 12 meters and starts to drop off on 15, I can hear just a slight crackle on 15.  As I waked the noise would start in the earphones and then as I walked further drop off.   The meter would hardly move though.  Think of it as a sine wave where the noise peaks then drops off.  Then I came to pole number 745.  It is a 20 KV pole with a number of insulators. taps, splices and switches.  It feeds a pole on the other side of the trail which has insulators on it and that line feed the water pumping stations at Platt High.  The meter went about 3/4 full scale and the static in the earphones was deafening.  I looked around for broken insulators or something obvious but nothing was apparent.  But of course you could have loose taps, (many times as the wind blows and the wire shake the taps loosen and you get noise from them similar to what would happen if you did not tighten a wire on an antenna or a loose coax connector you shake it and it gives you make and break static.  Also could be a bad insulator that is not obvious until you get up there and look at the connections.  So that pole and it's feed is suspect.  It also could be something in the pumping station but I'm doubting that.  As I walked in the other direction the noise dropped off.   It does pick up again after you cross the bridge and go toward the school but that whole area around the school is one big mess of all kinds of noise.   If you drive by Platt and around the schools put your radio on any AM frequency and you will hear that.  I think it is a combination of transformers, lights, WI-fi, computers, security systems and anything else running at the school.  Probably an impossible mess to clean up and I'm glad I don't live next to it!  

I also drove around all the streets with the AM radio set to 540 kHz.   It looked like everything was pretty quiet.  I know that there have been issues with insulators, transformers and loose taps on the street poles.  Everything was pretty quiet until I got to pole 119 up the street from me.   It is off in a direction SE of me.  I said that the noise seems to be NE in the direction of the trail and that is the direction of the pole on the trail.  But SE could also be an issue it would be off the side of the beam when pointed NE.   (You could think of one being EN and the other being ES.)  There is a ton of power line hash on that pole and the ones close to it.

I did update the trouble ticket with those pole numbers as a starting point to give them a place to look where I do hear noise.  They should be able to see something with their infrared gun and perhaps see an issue.  One thing that I noticed today as I drove by pole 119.  It does have a transformer on it and many times those are the poles where the issues are but another thing I notice is that the two wires that are on the cross arm both have old style GLASS insulators.  I would have though by now that all the glass insulators would have been changed out as they serviced different poles in the ares.  I do see one pole way down the street that still has an old black transformer on it.  I'm surprised that has not been changed out.  Those are the old oil filled transformers with the old that has to be specially handled because it is a carcinogen.  Of course maybe it's if it ain't broke don't fix it.

So lets see how long it takes to get this issue looked at.  I expect they can look at the street pretty easily but they have to close the trail and take out the bumpers that prevent cars from driving down.  Too bad they didn't have a chance to get down there when they were cutting trees along the trail.

Al - N1API
It started to rain the noise stopped.

It stopped raining the noise came back.

Proves it out to be power line noise.
7/8/2020 Update

Ever since the storm it has been quiet.  Either the outages that are or were around me, (I never lost power just a couple of brown outs), were the problem and the storm shook them out, (could very well have been on Oregon Ave, the schools lost power), or they were out before the storm looking for issues.  I know I heard a couple of transformers go perhaps at the substation.

I'm continuing to keep an eye on it and hope that maybe I got lucky with this one and the storm fixed the problem for me.

Al - N1API
Here is an update of the past couple of months.

The Noise is very much improved, gone at certain times.   They found a problem in the Platt HS Parking lot the same place that the one that took them  over two years to find where the last one was.  The engineer called it a "serious failure" and put in for a immediate response from the line crew.  This was on 1/7/21.  The next day they changed the failed insulator and the was a noticeable improvement in the noise when he called, I turned on the radio and said "WOW"!   The "all band" RF was gone and there was just directional issues which did not extent to all the RF bands but mostly 6 and 10 meters, and would come and go.

Because of the WX, snow, rain ect they could not get much more testing done but just here a few days ago the engineer called in the early morning from the sub-station on Hanover St. and said that he was going to do some testing out on the trail in back.  He called back in the afternoon and said he was "out back" and could see my tower from where he was.   He found some work needed on Pole number 1960 out there, some bad insulators on either the metal or wooden towers, (HI KV Lines that feed power TO the substation), and a problem in the Wilcox Tech School field where there are two metal towers.   He also noted some routine maintenance work along the lines that need to be done and some glass insulators that need to be replaced.

Lets see when he calls back what I hear.   But they are keeping me informed.   They do realize that RF Noise is "line loss" and wasted energy.

Al - N1API

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