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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB020 (2007)

ARLB020 FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power Line Noise Case

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 20  ARLB020
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  August 31, 2007
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB020 FCC Issues Two Citations in Longstanding Power Line Noise Case

The Federal Communication Commission's Dallas Field Office issued
Citations on July 25 to two utilities in a longstanding power line
noise case in Lubbock, Texas. Bryan Edwards, W5KFT, of Lubbock,
first reported the interference concerning the two involved
utilities, Lubbock Power & Light (LP&L) and Xcel Energy, as early as
1994. The record shows that the FCC Dallas Field Office clarified
the FCC rules with regard to power line noise for LP&L as early as
1998, and issued three letters to LP&L in 2003 and 2004. Xcel Energy
was first issued an FCC letter in 2004.

The Citations to the Lubbock utilities said that due to an
investigation conducted by the FCC's Dallas office on May 22-25,
2007, they found that both LP&L and Xcel ''caused harmful 
interference to the reception of amateur communications to amateur
licensee W5KFT in Lubbock, Texas.'' The FCC directed both LP&L and
Xcel, pursuant to the Commission's Rules, to provide documents and
information within 10 days of their respective Citations.

In its undated Response to the FCC's Citation, LP&L stated that it
''does not admit to and specifically denies any violation of the
[Communications] Act [of 1934] or any rule pertaining thereto,'' but 
''in order to comply with the...Citation, the City of Lubbock files
this response.'' As a result of the Citations issued by the FCC,
LP&L's Response stated that representatives from ''Lubbock Power 
Light met with Paul Leonard, P.E., Area Engineer with Xcel Energy to
discuss the alleged findings regarding harmful interference to the
reception of amateur communications by amateur licensee W5KFT in
Lubbock, Texas.''

Xcel's Response, submitted via their attorney, pointed out that the
Citation acknowledges ''that the source of harmful interference to
amateur licensee W5KFT is emanating from more than one power
company.'' Xcel also alleges that it ''has been working with amateur
W5KFT for a number of years in an effort to identify the source of,
and a possible resolution for, the harmful interference he is
experiencing. Xcel Energy has a good working relationship with the
licensee and has coordinated with him on numerous occasions in
attempting to resolve his interference problems.''

Xcel goes on to assure the FCC that it will ''retain an outside
technical consultant to provide an unbiased assessment of whether
the harmful interference to W5KFT is attributable to Xcel Energy's
power system and if so, what corrective measures would be required.''
Edwards reported that on Thursday, August 30, he received a phone
call from Paul Leonard, head of Xcel Energy in West Texas. Edwards
said he was told that Xcel has contracted with Mike Martin, K3RFI,
to come out to Lubbock in October to work on the line noise.  
''Leonard said they tried to get LP&L to participate with them and
Mike, but they refused to do so,'' Edwards said. Martin owns and
operates RFI Services, a firm dedicated exclusively to RFI locating
and training. He has been locating interference sources for more
than 25 years, solving an average of 500 complaints a year,
according to the ARRL Lab. Martin has also given power line
interference workshops at ARRL Headquarters.

ARRL Lab Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, said, ''I am pleased to see the FCC
taking a strong enforcement step in this case. It has gone on for a
long time, and this Citation should serve to finally get things
resolved. It is unfortunate that some of the power line cases the
ARRL is handling can't be resolved without the FCC taking formal
action, but I expect that electric utilities across the country will
now take notice of this case.''


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