Five Nine Nine Zero Five One!

In any CW or digital mode contest this would be a perfectly good radio report and exchange. But this post is not about a contest. Or maybe it is!

We’ve been experiencing a LOT of really strong radio interference at the shack for a good while now. Very much like the one we were experiencing around this time back in 2016. But due to lack of manpower so far our research to pinpoint the offending hardware was very limited.

But today our four-person team (K5WW, the Treasurer, Mrs. F. Eline and Mr. Wyle E.),  with the assistance of N5YPJ’s noise finder, was able to dig a lot deeper into the issue, deep enough to locate the hot spot. And it turns out that the initial conclusion was wrong. Only by a good 200 feet; but still: oops, sorry!

When we first starting investigating the problem we suspected the cancer center across the road. According to some well-informed sources they have some seriously high power equipment in there. But after 4 hours of footwork this afternoon we now know better.

Nope, the problem is much closer. You could say “in our front yard”. Or side yard, even. The hot spot is the area around the doctor’s offices West of Royal Lane and North of Garner Field Road:

REALLY hot spot!!

There are no less than 5 transformers on very old and overloaded poles on that block, all interconnected by cables and hardware that were built several decades ago. Just my way of saying: in b-a-d shape…

The exact location and piece of failing equipment has yet to be determined; but as you can see we narrowed it down to a small piece of turf. The reason for not being able to really spot the offending hardware is that all of the electricity lines on that block have turned into radiating antennas. So much so that we were able to track the noise on our own coaxes running up/down the tower. The noise is that strong. Yikes…

While we were doing all of that footwork we noticed that there was a streetlight on, in broad daylight. Not something we’d seen before. So Wyle E. reported that to AEP via their fabulous website. That streetlight is on top of pole 599051, in the lower left corner of the red rectangle. “599051”. Get it? Hah! 🙂

The Treasurer called in the RFI to AEP. It took a while; because they were dealing with quite a few power outages towards Corpus Christi. But a friendly young lady took the call anyway, gathered all the details, and sent everything to the right department. She said someone from the main office would call on Monday.

But: much to our amazement a lineman-on-duty showed up around 8 PM. Yes, on a Saturday! He came and had a look at the light; and K5WW explained the RFI case to him. The gent from AEP said he’d get a hold of the regional supervisor to look into it. And that super just happens to be to be the same gentleman we dealt with 2 years ago. Back then they handled our RFI claim very swiftly; so hopefully our miserable days will be over soon!

More to come later 🙂

Oh, by the way: you’re welcome AT&T. I see you fixed your equipment a few hours after I reported it. All in a good day of “reporting issues”. No reward needed! Just be happy nobody got electrocuted out there.  Mow grass only, folks, not ground cables! 😉

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