When dealing with sources of noise, each attempt to correct the situation has its own challenges. Neighbors may not want you inside their homes and it costs the power company, other utilities and manufacturers/sellers resources to investigate complaints. The credibility of the person making a complaint is probably unknown to the party responsible to fix the problem (let’s call it “the fixer”), perhaps even in the case of a neighbor. What does all this mean when we try to get a noise problem fixed that we think we have identified?
- Approaching the fixer requires good interpersonal skills – you shouldn’t be viewed as demanding action, rather as helping the fixer to avoid a future problem. Noise may indicate that a part or connection will fail.
- If there is a process for the fixer to receive and act on complaints, use it and then make that the basis for following up. DON’T ASSUME that a lack of response means no one is paying attention! The repair part may be on back-order, there may be a weather-related event that has demanded unusual resources, etc. Feed-back that sets reasonable expectations isn’t always a part of the process because of the demand it places on manpower.
- If the problem is a solar energy system, there are fixes advertised but their effectiveness is unknown. Use of snap-on or other RF suppression devices (ferrites) can help but their effectiveness varies with position, number used and type of material.
- The RFI team is the best way to get help for potentially confrontational situations and utility inaction. It is expected that with their training and tools, RFI teams will build credibility with the fixers and enable them to rely on their judgement. Noisy manufacturers’ products are best handled via the ARRL, as the scope of the problem isn’t just your noisy widget.
- The RFI team has the resources and experience to deal with the more challenging situations. It is helpful if you can provide them all that you’ve found and done up to the point that they are getting involved.