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Discussion Starter #1
Hello. I have always known that when listening to AM Radio and driving under or near high voltage Hydro Wires, Generally most Car Radios will have some kind of Static noise or interference sound. Some car radios handle this better than others. In my Ford, it was just a soft quiet white noise while the station cut out, but in my Hundai it is more of a louder Buzz sound overtop the broadcast like you can hear the RFI from the hydro wires interfere with the radios circuits or something.

So lately a big stretch of road right from my house to near the highway on ramp, I hear the loud buzz and my AM radio is barely audible no matter what station. I checked FM and its still good. So I'm guessing Hydro must have done something to the phase of the hydro wires underground, cus we have no overhead, maybe they changed the phase of hydro coming into the underground wires, because its so noisy. It has been this way now for a good week. I figured its hydro causing it because anytime I drive under the hydro wires I hear this noise and not just the hydro transmission towers but the regular local hydro utility poles and wires too. Im guessing there is a primary and/or secondary hydro cables underground that were not used and they either energised them to distribute hydro somewhere nearby or they flipped the phase of some existing underground hydro and overhead wires. What can or should I do about this? Should I call hydro? or should I get a better AM/FM Radio for my car? I'm using the stock Hundai radio its okay not the best but it suits my needs
 

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Hydro might like to hear about this. The noise could be due to something they changed or something breaking down without their knowledge. In any event, they probably should not be generating that much EMI.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I wish I had a portable Radio. I would like to find one or even buy one when I have time, and go for a walk down the regional road and see how far this interference lasts, it even goes into the neighborhood where my daughters school is located. And Yes, I will definitely be notifying my local Hydro about this recent change. I thought it was temporary but it seems to be happening permanently.
 

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I sometimes notice this issue when passing over in-pavement sensors, particularly at stop lights. In the GTA, these sensors are everywhere to monitor traffic flow.
 

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Not a power distribution expert by any stretch but...
Have seen cases where the lines are not secured properly on the top (high voltage lines),
so they just sit there and arc all day long, may get worse when wet.
Causes havoc in the spectrum from DC to daylight.
Just your FM radio is immune to it, your AM radio is not. Follow the noise to it's strongest amplitude.
Sometimes I have had to sit directly underneath the fault with an AM radio in the car to detect it.
But anything in the vicinity with a good line of sight to it will be disturbed.
Look up and sure enough, there it is, plain as day, laying down off the insulator.

The power company may fix it if someone with enough persistence contacts them, opens a ticket and stays on them.
Don't look for them to find and fix on their own though. IMHO, If you can actually spot a fault it is a lot more likely they will fix it immediately,
than just randomly calling complaining about a 1 mile stretch of lines

Look carefully (preferably with someone else driving) at the high voltage lines on that stretch of road for any sign of them missing any hardware up top. No line should be laying down without an insulator. some pics hijacked from wiki, etc. The ones I have seen, the insulator was still there, just was obvious the line was off to one side or the other, not resting on it. 50/60 years of sagging, stretching, blowing around in the wind, and you can imagine how easily that can happen.




 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi majortom, thanks for the tidbit of information. I just want to mention, I have spent time in my past working for Hydro, though not as a linesman, more of a Radio Frequency Network Tech, I was taught in my training about primary and secondary voltage, insulators, transformers, engineering and installation standards, poles and such. Another thing that is kind of upsetting is that in my area, only the main street has overhead hydro wires, but once it gets into my neighbourhood, all the hydro is underground with all the other utilities like bell, rogers, gas, and water. It would be impossible for me to know if there is a problem in the underground portion of my neighbourhood, which sucks because I am experiencing the mad interference on my AM radio in this portion of my neighbourhood as well as the main regional road where the hydro is Ariel. So yeah it would make it hard for me to pinpoint exactly where the hydro fault is though I will try my best. I could also make a report to the Radio Station for bad reception, even though it does not just affect one AM station, so I might just choose the station I listen to frequently as I've seen on their website a contact option for reception issues and see where that goes.
 

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I can't imagine the fault propagating more than 1/4 mile or so and still be picked up at the lower gnd elevation on the whimpy little antenna for the car. I say whimpy in that we are talking about AM, 530 - 1730 KHz.

So follow the noise until it is the loudest/most annoying/most impact, it will be something in that general vicinity.
If you knew the radio had a Loop antenna internally, and ya knew how the loop was oriented internally, you could use that to your advantage
by turning the radio. at the ends of the loop would be Nulls, and broadside to the loop would be maximum gain.
Similar to a simple dipole pattern.
 

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The other thing you can do which would pinpoint your problem, would be to contact your local amateur radio club and ask them if they have any members with portable radio gear to locate the source of your interference.

We often do this as it interferes (pun intended) with our hobby and makes low power communication difficult.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Just an update folks. I never got a chance to phone the local Hydro I've been very busy, but I did notice some underground work in my area being done, pits being dug up, They have done underground work a few times in my area as I have recalled seeing Open Pits with Shielded Primary cables being ran and warning high voltage signs in the past. So I guess my area has had its share of hydro problems.

Fast Forward to this morning, I am dropping my Daughter off to school and Turn on the Radio and what do you know? NO INTERFERENCE on the AM BAND anymore! YAY. I can not pinpoint exactly where the problem was but the entire stretch that I was hearing a loud buzzing sound, is perfect now, well almost perfect as its always been, but totally acceptable to me. Yay! Not sure who fixed it and when but a Big THANK YOU to my Local Hydro company!
 

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Tried listening to AM radio in the car today. The station was AM 740 Zoomer Radio from Toronto. We are about 160 km away so the signal is weak but it's a fairly powerful station. The results were mixed. As long as we were away from high tension lines and industrial areas it was listenable. In the areas mentioned there was an assortment of interference that drowned out the audio. Some of it was very strange, like something heard in a cheap sci-fi movie. EMI is certainly alive and well.
 
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