At a June 5, 2022 New Hampshire meeting of the New England RFI teams, a set of tools obtained for team use was demonstrated, along with some more sophisticated equipment available for loan, brought by Steve Anderson, W1EMI, of the ARRL Lab. The teams evaluated these and selected those to be obtained for the use of each team, to be loaned from the ARRL or loaned from a New England division inventory as needed. These may now be seen on the RFI Team Toolkit webpage. Action is in progress to obtain funds to procure this equipment for each team and for sharing within the New England Division.
RFI Team members from Eastern Massachusetts, Western Massachusetts and Maine met on June 5 in Hollis, New Hampshire with the New England Director Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC; Rob Leiden, K1UI, Assistant Director for Spectrum Protection and Use; Anita Kemmerer, AB1QB, Assistant Director for Mentoring and Ham Development and Steve Anderson, W1EMI, from the ARRL Lab. Also at the meeting were: Stephanie, WA1YKL; Dan, W1DAN; Dom, N1DM and Najm, AB1ZA,
An IC705, DXE HF loop and an Elk VHF/UHF Yagi, obtained by the Director for evaluation, were demonstrated and team members had an opportunity to try them out. Steve demonstrated the RE240, a high-end RFI analyzer suited for power line noise location and an MFJ ultrasonic detector and dish that are available for use by the teams should the need arise. The RE 243 is the newest version of this instrument. Team members also brought along some homebrew and commercial tools they use. Najm showed the others a pocket RFI guide that is still available for purchase. Steve noted that the ARRL RFI guidebook is being revised and will be in print when the Lab update and review is complete. The ARRL Lab is updating its website to reflect solar energy RFI and other recent developments.
The teams selected the tools that will be obtained for use by the section teams. Some of the tools already purchased for evaluation were the Elk VHF/UHF log periodic, the IC705 HF/VHF/UHF transceiver and the DX Engineering HF Loop, Steve Anderson, W1EMI, brought additional tools available to loan to the teams as needed. These included an ultrasonic dish and detector, a Radar Engineers RE240 and VHF yagi for hunting power line RFI and a handheld circuit “sniffer” for finding local sources, especially in the home.
The need for additional web process material was identified to:
- Better define the role of the teams,
- Outline anticipated communications between the teams and hams with pending RFI issues and
- Ensure all the information required by the ARRL Lab is recorded and transmitted to the ARRL Lab when required.
Some hams have had trouble finding the troubleshooting guide. A Quicklink is now on the Division Website home page that will take hams directly to the guide. There, hams will find a process for finding and fixing RFI, links to places to buy or build equipment, power company contact information, teams in each section that will assist when needed and videos and slide decks that discuss RFI finding techniques and experience.
The RFI Troubleshooting Guide RFI Troubleshooting Guide – ARRL New England Division now has a list of the power company contacts for hams to report power line noise-related issues. Hams are encouraged to contact New England Division RFI Teams prior to doing so to make the team aware of the issue, so that they can follow up if necessary. Noise thought to be coming from power company hardware may actually be from another service on a power pole, like a leaking television cable, so try and gather as much information, with the help of the RFI team if needed, to understand the source of the noise. We expect to need to update the maps and contact information from time to time as service areas and company relationships change over time. If you see that we need to change some information, please let us know at email@example.com.
Mike, K1NPT, in Rhode Island, has tunneled through to New Hampshire (Jay K1EHZ) and Maine, (Bill, NG1P) extending the Mesh connectivity in New England to three states. The process has enabled these New England Mesh network operators to gain experience with connecting multiple Mesh systems together. The connected systems will also permit the system owners to gain experience with bandwidth and latency issues as well as cross system functionality. The New England Director and his staff congratulate Bill, Mike and Jay on their achievement and look forward to bringing more states “on-line.”
More information on the status of Mesh Networking in New England is found at: nediv.arrl.org/spectrum-protection-use.
Assistant Director Rob Leiden, K1UI, writes:
A list of potential RFI sources is being maintained and will be updated as information becomes available as part of the New England Division RFI Troubleshooting Guide web page. Any source determined to be emitting radio frequency interference should be forwarded to the RFI Team for your area, including audio and spectrum files if possible. Audio and RF spectrum files will also be included as they become available.
Bruce, WA3SWJ, reports that ranges of 20 miles over Cape Cod Bay between the mid and outer Cape have been achieved with sufficient throughput to pass video. 5.8 GHz Ubiquity transceivers were used for the test. The test was an important milestone for the Cape ARES group led by Frank WQ1O, the Cape DEC, Bruce and Lem, W1LEM. More information about MESH networking in New England and progress towards interconnecting them into a New England-wide network is available on the Spectrum Protection and Utilization web page.
After successfully performing the first tunneling between New England MESH systems (Maine and New Hampshire,) Bill and Jay have developed a proposal to enable other MESH systems in New England to connect to each other via the commercial internet and experiment further. This will better position the Division to connect using RF vs. the internet and create a true Division-wide intranet that would allow high speed communication even when the commercial systems are unavailable locally. Any comments should be directed to Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jay at email@example.com.
- A demonstration of the web-based RFI hunting process additions including remediation and training pages
- RFI team formation progress
- Mesh network coordination and integration issues including tunneling between different networks.
- Creation of a new iogroup for Mesh networking information exchange and coordination
It was agreed that two working groups would be formed, a new one, nemesh, for Mesh network coordination and the existing iogroup, spectrum-protection-and-use for RFI team work. Meetings would be held each month, alternating between the two teams.
Bill Richardson, NG1P, in Maine and Jay Taft, K1EHZ in New Hampshire, successfully “tunneled” through the internet to connect their 5 GHz Mesh networks on April 27, 2022. This achievement is an important first step towards the interconnection of New England Mesh networks over RF links. Their work demonstrates that it is possible to define an address space across various Mesh networks that will allow them to be interconnected by tunneling between two points. The next actions include finding the right RF “backhaul” devices and frequencies, siting the locations for tunneling nodes, including power and maintenance needs and coordinating the tunneling addresses. A great deal of work remains but the New England Division has taken a step closer to its goal thanks to Bill and Jay.