[AMRadio] QRM fron Neighbor's Security System

Mike Sawyer w3slk at verizon.net
Fri Jan 22 18:21:57 EST 2010

Rob, (et al),
    I wouldn't count on the ARRgghhL doing anything to help you other than 
send you a few pamphlets. A good friend of mine went through the "Neighbors 
complaint about ham radio in their stereo" routine. Every time he lit off 
his T-368, he would get phone calls. It got so bad that it became a 
political issue. The neighbors complained to the mayor and the mayor told my 
friend "I'm going to shut you down!" This made the local news as well. 
Anyway, one day he gets a phone call from the FCC office out of NYC. They 
want to come down and check his station out, see how he operates, etc. Two 
guys from the FCC show their credentials and say they want to run tests etc. 
Only one of the neighbors was home at the time so the other guy went there 
and listened to the stereo while the one stayed with my friend at his 
station. He tuned his T-368 for 375watts stating that was all he was allowed 
to operate at. The FCC tech instructed him to tune for max power out. They 
went through all the bands and found some slight audio reaching the stereo 
on 40M but that was it. They packed up. Told my friend that they loved all 
the classic radios that he had there and they thought they were cool. The 
tech also told him not to worry that his signal was clean and with in the 
parameters of his license. When my friend referred about what the mayor had 
threatened him with. The guy said, "WE are the ones that say WHO may operate 
and WHO MAY NOT!!! Don't worry about your mayor, we will take care of him." 
Nothing else came of the issue other than the fact the mayor lost to his 
opponent in the upcoming election.
    When I asked my friend if the (be)League(d) did anything for him. He 
just pick up a pamphlet that said how to keep RFI out of your house, (about 
a 2 page pamphlet).
    Thus began and feeds my cynicism about the ARRgghhL to this day.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Rob Atkinson" <ranchorobbo at gmail.com>
To: "Discussion of AM Radio in the Amateur Service" 
<amradio at mailman.qth.net>
Cc: "JAMES HANLON" <knjhanlon at msn.com>
Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2010 11:39 PM
Subject: Re: [AMRadio] QRM fron Neighbor's Security System

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.



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