my story

2017: I still get an occasional email related to PLN, which I’m happy to try to answer, but the reality is that most of what I know is documented here on this site already.  Thank you to many for the kind notes as how it has been helpful to you!

2012: We moved 12 miles down the road, to the next city.  Our PLN issues, at this time, have ended.

Spring 2011:  I ended up having to contact the Texas PUC and make a complaint to get the utility’s attention, but they finally got serious and spent some significant time and fixed most of the problems.  At least the worst have been resolved.  Some noise is there, but not nearly as bad.  I can at least get on the radio and not have the buzzing eradicate all but the strongest signals.  It could be called 90% success — finally!

4/19/2011: after a 3 MONTH wait, one pole fixed, 6 remaining.  4 poles were reported on 1/18/2011, 3 more on 3/10/2011.  (No contact from the utility after I reported the 3 on 3/10.)  Here is what I heard in the shack this morning.  More than enough time has passed, so it is time to contact the appropriate authorities (again).
inside the shack on 4/19/2011 on 6m & HF

2/5/2011: after a 3 week wait, NO PROGRESS.  To be fair, we have had some bad weather, so I’m sure they’ve been delayed — but after another week, if nothing happens, I’ll call again.  Here is what I heard in the shack this fine winter morning:
inside the shack on 2/5/2011 on 6m & 2m

1/17/2011: *** a few days later in January of 2011, the utility tried to fix #01845, but failed (they didn’t even take their excellent detection equipment!).  I also wanted to find one or two other bad ones in a different direction, so I did some hunting again.
#01845 (again) – also shows how a 3-element 2m beam works OK, but a 7-element 70cm is (usually) better (5 mb, 51 sec)
#01589 — this is the bad boy that is the worst in the area — horrible on 2m, but interesting that it was nearly undetectable on 70cm (6 mb, 1 min)
#01537 – moderately noisy nearby (5 mb, 55 sec)

By the way, here are 2 very short videos: 1) traffic lights, and 2) polarity:
some noisy traffic lights nearby, but I can’t hear them at home
why polarity sometimes matters when hunting noisy poles

1/14/2011: Late in 2010 and early January of 2011, power line noise has increased dramatically.  So on 1/14, I went pole hunting, and found #01845 making a lot of noise.  I reported it to the utility the same day, asking for a call back.  It has been 3 years since I reported one, so we’ll see how it goes.  I suspect there is another bad one (and several lighter ones) as well, but I didn’t find it on my first try.  We’ll get this first one fixed (I hope), and then go from there.  Here is the video for this little excursion — inside the shack and pole-hunting outside. (7 mb, 1 min 18 sec).

2010: better! Many new poles were installed on one side of us, and recent PLN has been reasonably light.  This is almost too good to be true.  There is still some, now and then, but it is a ton better than it used to be!

some fixes made! *** December 3, 2007, in the shack and in the field, VHF/UHF ***    Just last week, the utility came out and fixed several of the major noise sources, after a 2 year absence.  This is great! — though I will be quick to mention there is more work to do!  This video was made a few days after some of the major noise sources were fixed.  It shows 2 poles with major noise, and 1 with a minor to moderate noise level (detailed pole #s & addresses).  There are others that have made noise, so they are probably intermittent problems, making them harder to find and fix.

*** October/November, 2007, IN THE FIELD, VHF/UHF ***  I had not done any pole-hunting in a long time, so I finally decided to do so.  With the right equipment, finding the poles is easy.  And with so many poles around me that are noisy, I easily bagged 6 of them in about 30 minutes.  If I had spent another hour at it, I could have found another 5 to 10 bad poles.  This video, though long, shows the essence of how I hunt poles — and it is proof that these poles are indeed creating harmful interference.   Handheld equipment is Yaesu FT-60 on 70cm AM, and an Arrow 7-element beam.  See the “how I find noisy poles” link at the left.

September 14, 2007, VHF/HF (20 mb, 1 min 29 sec)  I hadn’t made a recording for a while, and realized it was time to once again document the ongoing, almost-ceaseless, never-ending problem of harmful interference from nearby power poles.  In this clip, we see HF and VHF, pointing S, NE, and then W.  At the time of the recording, 3B7C was on 21.022 MHz, but of course it was not to be for me, because of you-know-what.

June 25, 2007, VHF/6m   Another 6m opening to EU.  In this short video, you’ll see the 6m map, and then the rig and the incessant buzzing — what you won’t hear is a signal from Europe — because I couldn’t hear one either, even after band conditions changed favorably, where some stations even farther west were working EU.

June 6, 2007, VHF/6m –  Sure enough, a short 6m band opening to Europe.  A neighbor worked an ON4 in grid JO20 — and this video is what I was hearing with my antenna pointed NE toward Europe.  This is a picture of the 6m map:

The big long red line from Texas to Belgium was created by the packet cluster spot when my neighbor worked the ON4.  In a few brief times where the interference stopped, I could hear the ON4 calling CQ on 50.096, Q5 S1, but there was no point answering him since I would not have been able to hear his reply.  HARMFUL INTERFERENCE!

June 4, 2007, VHF/6m (5 mb, 17 sec)  Yep, just more S9 power line noise, this time from the west.

March 2, 2007, HF & VHF – even at 8am in the morning it is bad — it will get worse in the afternoon, and as summer approaches
February 20, 2007, HF & VHF (11mb, 53 sec.)  I hadn’t recorded anything in a while, not because the noise has been fixed, but because it simply has not changed.

October 2, 2006, HF & VHF, looking NE   This is typical;  this is how it is most of the time, in most directions;  this is what I live with;  I picked NE because that is where I point most of the time (east coast & EU), and because that is where the worst of the power line noise started over 3 years ago, but there are multiple sources in many directions, all bad
September 14, 2006, 6m & 2m, turning the antenna to document the noise in all directions (31mb, 2 min.)  The noise wasn’t as bad today as it sometimes is, but it was coming from many sources/directions — in this video, we see 6m & 2m as I turned the antenna.
July 31, 2006, in the field – noisy pole at end of my driveway.  Video made in the field – I haven’t done much pole-hunting lately, because they simply don’t get fixed, even when I identify the specific pole — here is one example of many — an example of the use of a handheld UHF yagi
July 31, 2006, 15m looking NE, trying to hear 4O3T   You can sort of hear 4O3T at the 21-23 second mark — no, I didn’t work him on 15m, not because he wouldn’t have heard me, but because I wouldn’t have been able to tell if he came back to me — he would have been an easy Q5 without the power line noise
July 26, 2006, VHF & HF looking NE (5mb, 26 sec.)  This is a pretty bad one, but not atypical.
June 29, 2006, VHF looking in all 4 directions (21mb, 1 min. 25 sec.)  Noise from multiple sources.
June 24, 2006, HF and VHF, looking west (9mb, 38 sec.)  Harmful interference from the pole at the end of my driveway.
June 16, 2006, HF and VHF, looking SSW (6mb, 24 sec.)
June 14, 2006, 2m, looking north (11mb, 43 sec.)
June 14-29, 2006, many different days, bands, directions (96mb, 6.5 min., large file)
July 12, 2004, 2mAM, 6mAM, 2mSSB (.wav sound file only, 2mb, 22 sec.)

Equipment setup: Icom IC-746PRO, 6m: 5 element beam at 70′, 2m: 9 element beam at 67′, and HF: modest 10/12/15/17/20 beam at 64′; each are fed with LMR-600.