[AMRadio] QRM fron Neighbor's Security System

Rob Atkinson ranchorobbo at gmail.com
Thu Jan 21 23:39:31 EST 2010

You can certainly avail yourself of the FCC but before you start
contacting them I would (after following through with your plan to
make sure something your neighbor has, is indeed the problem) attempt
to work something out with your neighbor first.  I have been through
the RFI dance myself on the sending and receiving ends.  You must be
mindful  that your neighbor is happily operating his appliance
oblivious to your misery so be in a calm and polite frame of mind.  It
can be a big help if you bring along a portable sw rx so you can stand
there with it tuned to a clear 40 m. frequency and have it blast out
the RFI to demonstrate what you are dealing with.  Don't start going
off on being a licensed station, Federal Law, Part 15 or any of that
just yet.  You may be surprised at how cooperative they might be --
they might even offer to disable the thing until it can be fixed.  Not
everyone is a crab (at least not everyone here in the midwest).
It is tempting to charge in and blow a gasket when you have your
operating wrecked, i know as I am dealing with that now on 75 and 160
but do your homework first and know what to do about the appliance so
you have some measures ready if it does turn out to be this X10 thing.
 You'll have to have a plan to explain to them once you start talking
to them.  You can get some ideas on how to deal with this stuff from
the ARRL Tech. Info. Service on their website, or call them and talk
to someone there on the phone and use google to hunt for RFI
information on these things.  Also the RFI reflector at contesting.com
has a searchable archive you can go through in case this has been
dealt with in the past.   ARRL has a list of hams, I think many are
lawyers, who are experienced at being ombudsmen and helping you work
with a 3rd party unknowingly causing you RFI.  At this point if you
contact FCC they will probably just tell you to do everything I am
advising you to do first.  I believe they consider themselves a last
resort.  99% of the time, these things are resolved without them
getting involved.  If, unfortunately, your X10 folks are nasty then
you have established a series of failed attempts at seeking a
resolution and once you and maybe an intermediary have failed, and you
have documented this, then you'll probably be able to get the FCC to
intervene.   One other thing is it's a good idea to have a RFI kit bag
of common suppression items to take with you or have in your car.  I
have found it nice to have a bunch of ferrite snap on beads,
doughnuts, and rods of various materials, usually 31, maybe 77, J or F
--anything that is effective below 20 meters where I usually operate,
plus some tools, flashlight, electrical tape, some extension cords, 10
and 20 foot lengths of 75 ohm coax with F males, phone line filters,
and anything else you can think of for fixing a problem.  People are
usually a lot more agreeable once they realize they won't have to
shell out any money.  If a switching supply wall wart is causing grief
for example, just replace it with a linear supply and add it to the
cost of being a HF ham these days.



On Thu, Jan 21, 2010 at 9:10 PM, james.liles <james.liles at comcast.net> wrote:
> Hi Jim:
> May have been a coincidence that the same home started radiating a sweep that behaves like spread spectrum 7.1mc to 8.5mc at the same time that the security/control system was installed.  I hate to knock on a neighbors door and ask to walk around with a probe looking for illegal or inappropriate sources of radio interference.  Don't know exactly how to do that but I will, and I'll verify the source, manufacture, and model of the rogue equipment.  Then I'll send a note to the FCC and copy this reflector with the response.  If they are willing to engage the problem, I'll apologize for inferring that they are driven by money alone and maybe enjoy the 40 meter band again.  Kindest regards Jim K9AXN
>  ----- Original Message -----
>  To: james.liles at comcast.net
>  Cc: AMradio
>  Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2010 6:51 PM
>  Subject: QRM fron Neighbor's Security System
>  Jim,
>  You reported the following.  "I have recorded a problem like this with an 8566B in peak mode.  There is a
>  continuous sweep from about 7.1mc to 8.5mc at a two to five second rate.
>  Traced it to a neighbor who just installed the X10 security and home control
>  system.  It's using the spread spectrum protocol and under 100mw but at 300
>  feet, makes 40 meters unusable.  Appears that the FCC has lost control to
>  dollars."
>  If I had a problem like that, I would discuss it with Ed Hare, W1RFI, the ARRL Laboratory Manager.  Ed is quite active in fighting RFI, especially that involved with BPL systems.  I am pretty sure that you do not have to just accept whatever QRM is generated by your neighbor's unlicensed security system.  Ed would advise you on your rights and on how to proceed.  You can reach him at w1rfi at arrl.org .
>  Jim Hanlon, W8KGI
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