war stories

Other hams’ PLN war stories

Here are stories from others — used with permission.


Peter, K3ZM, posted this amazing story in another venue. He gave me permission to post it here.

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As most of you know, I have been plagued by line noise from the Southeast for more than a year.  On the new XMIT four square, it is S9 when pointed SE without the K3′s attenuator on and on AM detector.  On the RX four square(s), it is S7 with their pre-amps in line and AM detector on.  I have simply dealt with it.  But it has disrupted my ability to phase my pair of Receive four squares broadside to EU and in-line to JA and really annoys me in general.  So, I ramped up my efforts to track it down.

I am blessed now with three different very directive switchable arrays on 160m.  With these, I narrowed the noise down to an azimuth of 140 degrees, plus or minus 5 degrees, I thought.  That was pretty good detective work.  The noise is very faint on 80m and disappears above 6.2 mhz, another large clue.

I proved that the noise was not coming from the three houses (that’s all there is – remember, I’m practically on the coast line!) to my southeast, two of which are almost never occupied anyway.  All was silent here on the mainland for all that I could ever determine.

Horrified, I faced the inevitable conclusion that the noise was coming from the Eastern Shore of Virginia, on the OTHER SIDE OF THE CHESAPEAKE BAY.  To the southeast, this would be at least 17 miles away.  I thought I was safe here.  That’s why we chose the place!!

So on Thursday, I drove there.  It is a 2 1/2 hour drive, each way.  Over the York River (as in Yorktown), over and under the James River, past VA Beach, then over the 17 mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to the Eastern Shore.

I targeted the town of Cape Charles, which was very close to my determined azimuth.  As soon as I got close to downtown Cape Charles, I knew I had found the mother lode.  I found the pole.  It was arcing.  You could hear it buzzing audibly.  As a bonus, I found another bothersome pole, which was a mere amateur compared to the really bad one.  I used the car radio, a general coverage Yaesu receiver that belonged to our late brother-in-law, my MFJ 2m AM noise-finding dipole, and my MFJ 2m AM noise-finding yagi.

I called the power company on the Eastern Shore at 8 AM today.  They had a crew at the pole by 10:00 AM and confirmed my suspicions.  Would it be okay if they didn’t get it fixed until later in the day?  they asked.  “Fine,” I said.   (!!!)

The noise disappeared at 2PM.  Hallelujah!

I drove 5 hours to track down this noise source, traversing three large bodies of water and paying $19 in tolls.  It doesn’t get much better than that.