Every new power-dependent technology has also produced an ever-increasing number of RFI generating devices. Solar generators, LED’s, power line faults, charging devices and many other sources pollute the amateur radio spectrum and impact its effective use. The New England Division, with the cooperation of Ed Hare, W1RFI and Steve Anderson, W1EMI at the ARRL Lab, has created a program to assist hams to identify and eliminate or reduce RFI in the ham shack.
The final phase of a project to provide a web-based RFI troubleshooting process is planned for the fourth quarter of this year. The web pages are in place and the teams to assist New England hams to use them have been established in each section. The pages feature:
- A decision tree and general tips to guide a ham’s own investigation
- Team contact information and a form to fill out if you need team help
- Information about how a ham can buy or build their own RFI -hunting equipment
- Maps and power company contact information
- Techniques to reduce RFI from sources that cannot be reasonably eliminated
and many other references that help hams identify RFI sources,
To use the process, a ham first performs the checks outlined in the decision tree. If that doesn’t identify the noise source, the ham then fills out a form explaining what was done and sends it to the section RFI team together with a spectrum file if available. The RFI team then works with the ham to help identify and eliminate the RFI. If necessary, the case is forwarded to the ARRL and then, if still unresolved, to the FCC.
Two RFI-related forums are planned for the Marlboro HamXposition in late August. Annette, KA1RFI and Rob, K1UI will discuss the partnership between radio amateurs and Eversource of New Hampshire to identify and correct power line – related RFI. Rob will then lead an RFI team forum where RFI team tools will be available for demonstration. Some of these were evaluated by the RFI teams at their June meeting.