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Power Line Noise Interference - Automatic Meter Reading BBOP type system May 28th, 13:55 1 159 4 weeks ago
ARRL, FCC Discussing Issue of Uncertified Imported VHF/UHF Transceivers Oct 4th 2018, 11:17 5 1,385 on 18/11/18
FCC Dismisses Two Petitions from Radio Amateurs Jan 8th 2017, 18:51 3 2,382 on 4/4/17

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Power Line Noise Interference - Automatic Meter Reading BBOP type system WD3D 4 weeks ago
Ok, so I complained about Power Line Noise 5+ years ago. I had a laundry list of complaints.. i notified the appropriate agencies and really never did get the problem resolved.. I must have stirred up a Hornets nest because I did get some action from both Pennsylvania American Water and United Electric Co Op Inc - Dubois PA..
5 years ago, the situation was that PA American Water was using some type of RF signal - telemetry - between their pumping stations and their water tanks. The noise was so bad that when you got to within 1/4 of a mile from either one the overload was severe - would even drown out XM radio in the vehicle, 2 meters had birdies on several frequencies, all the way into the HF.. The electric company was using something called "The Turtle System:" Some type of crappy meter reading system that used the power line and the neutral to gather the meter readings - 24 hours a day.. The company tried to BS me and after I walked the line 2 miles and took pictures, documenting field strength readings and visual problems with the line, it wasn't very long before PA American Water was putting up 20' Rohn 25G towers with directional antennas and United Electric shut off the Turtle.. There was no correspondence between them and me.. I was a full time student at Penn State U and I did not have a lot of time to play their games anyways.. So I lived with a perpetual S-7 noise level on 80 meters.. Then the electric company revised their transmission lines and upgraded their so called Sub Station in Robertsville PA.. Looks more like something Tom Edison would have built 100 years ago with blade switches and fuses.. What Mike Holmes would call Lipstick and Mascara.. So after several months of a perpetual S-9 noise level , I called the electric company.. All I will say about it is that their good people retired and they hired a bunch of kids.. Electricians and people that worked for a line service - tree trimmers, anyone that wasn't afraid to get in the bucket truck..
So they have no equipment to diagnose the problem, other than a yellow box that looks like an AM transistor radio with a loop antenna.. The guys must not have wanted to get cold, because they rode around town back in Feb holding the radio out the truck window.. Then they started playing with lightning arrestors - I knew at that point that they didn't know what they were doing.. 15 minutes in town every Tuesday for the next 4 weeks, kind of like a courtesy call where they did nothing but look out the window.. So I contacted Steve Long - Project Manager and head Engineer of UNILEC,, I knew something was up when he visited my home with Mike Flock. His title is System Planning Engineer. Another way of saying - Their Tech guy.. Now they are going Oh Ohh.. Do they want to find the problem, maybe have to scrap another meter reading system that they spent big money on? NO! So they turn off the power to the house, no change in noise level in my Kenwood TS 590S, turn off the circuit feeding the power to my house, no change, turn off the whole town - no change.. The noise is on the neutral and can be heard on an AM radio as much as 3 miles away in all directions.. A steady hum, sounds like a electrical motor noise, not an arcing noise.. On 160 meters i hear a loud clicking noise.. This noise is also getting into my television, I have vertical lines going thru the picture, extreme pixelation and drop outs on channels that were normally stable, and are stable at my dads house 1/4 mile up the road. And here is the kicker, COMCAST has a Green box mounted on the pole just below my dads house.. The noise stops just before that box.. I walked almost all of the 7 miles between De Lancey, PA and Robertsville PA, carrying a pocket am radio, while wearing headphones.. I am disabled and it took all I could muster to make the trek - with bone spurs in both heels of my feet and rheumatoid arthritis and spinal stenosis in my back and neck.. What I found is that the noise is strongest about a half mile from my house - but I couldn't get access to everywhere - because the land is posted and I didn't want to get in trouble with the landowner, not to mention - it isn't my job to fix the electric company's problem.. So I get an email from Steve Long saying - Mr. Bosak:

I went with our line crews down to DeLancy today to investigate possible radio noise heard at three locations. At these locations we did not find anything of significance. I believe United Electric’s power lines are in good operational order. With this last effort, I am closing the request for investigating radio noise.


Stephen Long

Manager of Engineering

United Electric Cooperative, Inc.

So the ARRL web site says send this letter, send it registered mail, so I sent it to Brenda Swartzlander - President of United Electric Co Op.. Basically they wiped their butt with it.. I sent the report to the ARRL, both times - 5 yrs ago and now, never got a reply.. So I called The FCC.. FCC says - Screw You, the woman on the phone said - we won't send anyone to investigate, we don't care about your problem, you have to live with it.. meanwhile, all my neighbors and myself are experiencing problems with our landline telephones.. Safelink shut off my cell phone after I complained about crappy service, even blocked my address to re apply.. I can't listen to the AM radio anywhere near 550 and 1100 AM, is all noise... But if you go up the road to my dad's house ( 1/4 mile up the road ) you can hear WTAM - Cleveland Ohio clear as a bell.. I'm at whits end.. Even when someone calls the house their first comment is - what is wrong with your phone, I can hardly hear you or it keeps dropping out.. Phone, TV and Ham Radio all being interfered with.. I am an active participant with the 3rd Region Phone Traffic Net, an ARRL Sanctioned net.. Trying to work HF at my QTH isn't even worth trying anymore.. Can't hear Chit, nothing but noise. ( Noise level with the pre amp on is 10 / 9 to 20 / 9 ) Guess I am here because I thought The ARRL represented all the hams, not just the ones they are friends with.. I'm not in the buddy club.. Can't understand why no one cares.. FCC / Phone company / P. U. C. / I even called my state representative - Chris Dush, my US House of Represenative - G. T. Thompson.. And you wonder why no one wants to join the ARRL anymore! I left my membership drop after the first incident 5 yrs ago... Doesn't seem to be worth it when all you get is a magazine once a month and nothing else..
ARRL, FCC Discussing Issue of Uncertified Imported VHF/UHF Transceivers WD3D on 9/10/18
Thank You ZAK I remember that article well. Said 97% of all the radios tested were not in compliance. My point is that what people forgets is that it is up to us - as licensed amateurs, to learn all of the rules, not just the couple of rules covered in the license exams. That the Part 97 is like a guidebook - how we should operate.. While the Part 15 is the technical aspects that explains the minimum standards published for all radio services. Had anyone put your article together with what it says in The Part 15 - they would realize that those radios were never in compliance and no model was ever submitted to The FCC to be part type acceptable. Since they are not Part type acceptable for any radio service - they are not part type acceptable for The Amateur Radio Service - since there is no way to block the out of band frequencies. Just like NASCAR that tried to race on a track with imperfections or missing guard rails - by telling the drivers - just don't drive there! There is no way to make those radio perform on just the amateur radio bands - even if you did not intentionally transmit out of band. The spurs are all across the band spectrum. Why is it that you knew this and yet the powers that be at The ARRL did not understand this when they published that they were going to Petition The FCC to not ban those radios for use on the amateur radio frequencies? My opinion is that they A. - don't want to upset those on the fringe of amateur radio, the ones that only spend $20 - $40 to buy a walkie talkie. Or B. - Figured there was no way to enforce the rule, so figured they would just ignore the rule and the problem, and hope that the problem would go away!

Two stories - 1 - I believe it was in Johnstown PA, that someone with a couple of these handhelds interfered with police communications - until he was caught. This caused quite a ruckas until they physically caught him..

2. - The local firemen bought them because the county did not issue them radios for each firefighter. The firefighters thought that since there was a Wide / Narrow selector in the programming, they could just choose which type of emission they wanted and no one would know the difference. Only the narrow the radio used was not the same as the narrow band compliance rule in place. And, the real radios had a digital identifier that showed the 911 center which radio was in transmit. The cheap Beofungs did not have this option. Hence anyone transmitting without authorization was in fact transmitting illegally. The problem then becomes trying to convince someone that they do not have a license to transmit on those frequencies nor is the radio legal for transmitting on those frequencies and that they could get everyone in trouble - just for transmitting with a wide band radio on a narrow band channel. After all - they are firemen not radio technicians. The internet has turned most everyone into automatic experts on most any subject, just because they now have access to the opinions of others, and free access to equipment that was previously only available to licensed LMRS technicians with Radio Telephone licenses.

Today anyone can operate a 50,000 watt transmitter at a commercial radio station - without any knowledge of how it works or even need a Radio Telephone license. Just run it until it breaks or someone complains and then call a freelance engineer to come fix the problem..
ARRL, FCC Discussing Issue of Uncertified Imported VHF/UHF Transceivers WD3D on 4/10/18
ARRL, FCC Discussing Issue of Uncertified Imported VHF/UHF Transceivers

In my opinion, what this is - is called BACK SLIDING.

The ARRL made a serious mistake when they allowed advertising for these illegal radios. Then when told - these radios are indeed illegal, they tried to justify using them by saying - well as long as no one transmits on other frequencies - it is OK!

NO - it is not OK!

These radios are ILLEGAL - pure and simple. Lets let it drop at that.

Tell everyone - OOP's we made a mistake, you can't use these radios, please stop using them to make "Check In's" on your local UHF / VHF nets and go out and buy yourself a real amateur radio.

How stupid are you people? You have tested these radios for years at The Dayton Hamfest and found 97% of them to be non compliant!
How much more than that do you need?

PLMRS is very specific - you aren't allowed to operate on their frequencies without a license - which you do not have, and without their permission - for which the only agency that can give you permission is THE FCC!

All of these radios are loaded with SPURS that can be heard on the PLMRS frequencies when you are transmitting on YOUR AMATEUR RADIO FREQUENCIES.

What this means is that you are transmitting illegally each and every time you transmit with these radios - regardless of if you are on frequency - on amateur radio or not!

We have dumbed things down to the point of where no one understands the rules anymore and everyone "Cowboy's It" to the point of where we have turned this into The Citizens Band!

We need to re evaluate our priorities here, look at what we have been doing, that has not worked, and learn from our mistakes.
Quit licensing people that has no business on Amateur Radio and start recruiting people that are actually going to do something constructive - beyond just buying a $30 walkie talkie and occasionally participating on a local FM net.

Bloating our numbers artificially is not creating any real hams here.
Just listen to any conversation on any FM repeater in Western PA, West Virginia, Ohio, New York and you will quickly deduce that these people shouldn't even have a license!

Where are the Elmers here?

If you want to do something constructive - The ARRL needs to petition The FCC to make it so that no one can become licensed unless they are first paired with a Certified Elmer. Someone that can teach these new people how to talk, act, and be a HAM!

We need to go back to the old days, where everyone is required to keep a log and are required to operate X amount of hours before they are given a permanent amateur radio license.

Instead of giving them HF frequencies where they can make an even bigger mess, and giving them privileges for which they did nothing to earn - bring back the novice class, the novice frequencies and make these people physically earn a license - like they did in the old days..

At this point - bringing back CW seems to be the most logical way of keeping out those that does not belong in the first place...
On the road freq's Marksail2 on 3/2/18
146.520 - has been the Post De Facto frequency for 2 meters FM - calling frequency for as long as I can remember...
Deliberate and constant interferance N9XAW on 8/1/17
The Maritime Moble net serves no legitimate purpose.
The only purpose it serves is to reserve a frequency for a special group of hams, so they can converse with goofballs and screwballs that wants to talk to someone but doesn't want to actually call CQ and doesn't actually want to say anything.
Listen to the conversations - it is all - wow - you are really strong here, your signal is 5/9.. I'm using a G5RV and XXX brand transceiver, thanks for being here, seventy three's.. Blah Blah Blah

The only legitimate purpose the net could possibly have is if all other forms of communications has failed, that someone distressed could possibly tune into the net, and if they could by chance be heard over all the LIDS giving their Seventy Threes - they could get a message thru, since the net runs 8 hours a day.

With all the other forums of radio available to someone at sea, amateur radio is probably the last resort for those people.
They have their own frequencies and they have other forms of communications at their disposal - such as a Sat Phone and digital modes available to them that is much more efficient then SSB Phone on 20 meters.

The problem with 20 meters is that it doesn't talk local.
Yes you can talk to someone when the band conditions permits, but if you were in Pennsylvania, your chances would be better of getting someone in California then it would be of talking to someone else in Pennsylvania or Ohio, New York, West Virginia.

It is the nature of the band for it to make longer hops then 40 or 75 / 80 meters...

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