Further investigation of my ongoing RFI.

A nice RFI free evening 

 In a previous post regarding my RFI issues I kinda narrowed it down to my smart hydrometer. I am now starting to move away from that theory. The RFI is still there and I have been doing some reading regarding our smart meter and the frequency they use to transmit data does not jive with an HF harmonic and I have been logging the RFI and there are some on/off times for the RFI and when I visit the meter during off times the noise my AM radio picks up is still there and just as strong. I have therefore removed the smart meter as an issue. 

About a month ago I received an email from a fellow ham who was dealing with some RFI and it seemed to be on a 12 hour on/off cycle. This got me thinking of a timer operated device, the ham had contacted hydro and they came by but really found no issues well none that seemed to connect to a 12 hour on/off cycle. I got to thinking and asked him to check with neighbours if they recently purchased a grow lamp system.  A short time later he emailed me informing me that his neighbour in fact did purchase a grow lamp device. When the device was unplugged his RFI issue went away. He is now filtering up the grow system to remove his RFI issue. 

RFI filled day

Now back to my RFI issue, I have started to log the on/off times for my RFI and it for sure is not on a precise 12 hour on/off cycle BUT it seems to turn off at night. Many times between 23:00 to 23:30. Other times I have seen it off at 21:00 but I can say that it is off each night and the off time my vary. As for the on time it can vary from 07:30 to 10:00. I have also had occasion were it has been off most of the day as well. My understanding is that the device is being turned off/on by the owner and not a timer. Because most of the time the on time is about 12 hours I am thinking it too is a grown lamp. 

I have asked the folks on both sides of me and have been told that neither have a grow system. I do understand they may not be telling me the truth as it really is none of my business. One of my neighbours I have been in his home and I can say that I have not seen a grow system anywhere. I have even wondered close to their homes when I have the RFI and I pick up nothing. 

Sometimes the RFI is not to bad

I do have an MFJ 1026 noise cancelling unit and for this device to work you need to have a listening antenna that hears the same RFI as the main antenna. I have been playing around with noise antennas for a few weeks and my result will be in my next post.....I was very surprised and confused with the results. 

Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

10 Responses to “Further investigation of my ongoing RFI.”

  • Wayne Walker WV6BUA:

    What is this Hydro Meter you reference?
    A web search only gives what I have always called a Hygometer for measuring FLA battery state of charge, iw this it??

    Wayne

  • chuck kr4sf:

    Do you have a nightlight with a photocell? The kind that automatically turns on when it gets dark in the house? And, if so, do you have an LED bulb in it (rather than an incandescent bulb)? These questions may sound strange, but I had an RFI issue, which seemed to be random. By chance one evening, I noticed that the RFI increased when I walked in front of the nightlight. I unplugged the nightlight – RFI gone. I plugged it back in – RFI back. I replaced the LED bulb with an incandescent bulb – RFI gone. Apparently the switching circuitry in the nightlight, when combined with the switching circuitry in the LED, generous very noisy waveforms. Also, when the RFI is present, have you tried turning off the circuit breakers in your house, one by one? That may help identify the offending device.

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good morning Wayne, thanks for stopping by the blog and leaving a comment. Very sorry the spell checker for the blog should have left a space between hydro and meter. I was referring to my Power meter or Hydro meter from the utility company which is what’s called a smart meter. Sorry for the confusion.
    73,
    Mike
    VE9KK

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good morning Chuck, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I have gone through the circuit breaker panel and turned them off one by one and then put the Icom 7610 on battery power and turned the main circuit breaker off and the RFI was still present. As for the night we only have one with my RFI it is always gone in the late evening hours. Once 23:30 hours comes the RFI is always gone by that time. Sometimes as early as 21:00, for sure a nightlight if it was the issue would be on around 23:00 and this is the time I lose the RFI.
    Have a very nice fathers day Chuck,
    73
    Mike
    VE9KK

  • chuck kr4sf:

    Thanks, Mike. I hope that you had a nice Fathers Day. I had one more thought about noise inside the house but you advised that it is still present with the main breaker off, so it has to be an external source. Is the noise on all bands? How about the higher bands (6m, 2m)? If it is present on those higher bands then you may be able to use a simple antenna with some beam-forming capability to get a bearing on the noise source, and then drive around and see what is in that general direction. You could do the same at the lower bands, of course, but the antenna size may be unworkable. Is there another ham in the area with a rotary beam? If so, and if he is picking up the noise, then that might help determine the general direction of the noise source. If two or more hams are available then you could roughly triangulate the location.

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good morning Chuck and thanks for your continued help, I did head back to the radio room after reading your post and I have nothing on 6m and as for 2m I have nothing here to check that is 2m. Up this way, we are just getting into our second dose for COVID and getting people together for outings is still not that easy. I will be taking my trusty AM radio out again to see what I can find.
    Thanks again and have a good week,
    73
    Mike
    VE9KK

  • Mark K3WWV:

    Those varying off times sound like the kind of times that I turn my TV and downstairs lights off and go to bed each night. Perhaps it’s your neighbors doing that?

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good evening Mark, yes at times I was wondering if that was the case but the RFI is there when no one is home…..unless they are leaving things on when out?
    73,
    Mike
    VE9KK

  • Douglas Sewell MM7DSA:

    I had the same problem and triangulated myself by driving around my town and direction finding the source from one position then moving off to a second position (and third for accuracy) and doing the same at each stop. Triangulated at home on a local map and bingo- next door neighbours with a grow lamp system illegally growing something? in a spare room.

    73
    Doug
    MM7DSA

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good morning Douglas, well I too have found the source of the RFI and I will be posting soon of my findings and what can be done about it.
    Thanks for taking the time to comment and have a good week.
    73,
    Mike
    VE9KK

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