I am beginning to fear that the days of obtaining a license, buying or building a radio, plugging up to an antenna and finding QSO’s is almost over. Increasingly, I am conscience of written complaints and on air tales of high switching or other in-home noise impinging on the Ham Radio experience. Gone are the days of the occasional electric fence interfering with your QSO and here are the days of apartment blocks full of switching power supplies, electric blankets and other useful, albeit harmful, electronic home accoutrement that lay waste to our electronic landscape.
About 2 years ago I read a whitepaper that is linked to my blog “BlogRoll” area written by W1HIS, Chuck. Since discovering this whitepaper I have had occasion to read and reread it multiple times. You see, at the time of my discovering this document I was running a vertical antenna with almost no noise abatement in place. When opening up my receiver bandwidth to 9 Khz in AM mode my S Meter almost went to 30-40 DB over S 9. Since waging war on noise I do the same settings with my radio today and routinely find an S Meter reading of S-7. It has not been an easy war to wage. It involved shopping for surplus ferrite material, building chokes and learning a whole lot more about noise sources and how to discover them. One way to find noise is to use a B Field Loop hand held antenna and a small and inexpensive short wave receiver. I hope to try to make a short video of me using my B Field Loop and place it here so that others can see how easily sources can be identified and how using ferrites can cut down on these sources in your home. This can also be used to locate outdoor noise sources such as power poles with noisy insulators etc etc.
Amateur Radio life is by no means completely free of noise at my QTH today. I still have the occasional intermittant source pop up, but nowadays things are much much quieter on average. In these days of low to no sunspots and cost of electricity impinging on our wallets to a much greater degree, QRP ( or at least running Amps less) and quiet ambient local noise will help our Radio Experience a great deal. This form of pollution gets no attention. It is invisible to almost all customers of home appliances and its threats are increasing every day.
Thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W7MAP/5