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 High noise levels and Earthing.

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rekibrepus
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rekibrepus


Call Sign : 29-CT-074
Posts : 44
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Join date : 2022-02-17
QTH or Location : Castleblayney, Monoghan.
Equipment Used : Yaesu FT-767 GX Venom silver rod and Sigma SE-HF-X80
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PostSubject: High noise levels and Earthing.   High noise levels and Earthing. Icon_minitimeSun Oct 16, 2022 11:21 am

Good day to you all.
I am using a vertical Sigma HF antenna and I am getting very high noise levels up to 9 most days. Couple of questions here. Is this generally normal, the antenna is approx 11 meters from the house and the base is approx 3 meters high and mounted on a solid tripod.
I have put Ferrite noise supressors on virtually everything. The cable is approx 30 meters from antenna to desk. 
The questions are, would I gain anything by putting an earth on the antenna ?  Is there any further steps I can take to eliminate some of the noise ? As a beginner to the world of Ham but old cb operator I am familiar with a lot of issues but it is difficult to get further info and hence this forum has become the sort of bible of information. Thanks for any views on this and enjoy your day everyone.
Mike.

73s

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Ivy Mike
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PostSubject: Re: High noise levels and Earthing.   High noise levels and Earthing. Icon_minitimeMon Oct 17, 2022 12:13 am

You could try an earth but verticals tend to pick up more noise than some other antennas.
Try common mode chokes at the ant feed point and another where the coax enters the shack.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UP6G7PYyZHg&t=429s

Make sure the noise is not coming via the mains as well.
A GM3SEK mains filter may help if it is.

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Victor
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PostSubject: Re: High noise levels and Earthing.   High noise levels and Earthing. Icon_minitimeMon Oct 17, 2022 11:00 am

Make sure you're not just being disappointed with atmospheric noise rather than jump the gun.


Tune up and down the HF bands and see what your noise levels are like on different frequencies. Often the lower HF bands, (160/80/40m), can be really noisy during the day but as you go up the frequencies from 20m onwards your background noise levels and S-meter readings should be lower. This obviously won't be the case if there's a bit of sunspot activity and enhanced propagation where the higher frequencies can/will be a lot noisier.

I'll give a +1 for common mode chokes though as suggested as it made a bit of difference to many of my different setups. A 1:1 current choke and a 'Guanella' have been utilised effectively and even some windings through a ferrite core with a thinner coax patch lead can do wonders. Don't get confused with misunderstandings that abound often with misquotes of "balums" (?) and the like. Wink

'Earths', 'Grounds', etc. can lead to more confusion very few seemingly able to distinguish the difference between 'electrical', 'RF' and lightening protection 'grounding'. Probably best to leave alone even if 'observational' experience suggests otherwise. (Look up PME, Protective Multiple Earthing regulations to find out why it may not be best to start driving metal stakes into the ground!)

Vertical antennas are inherently noisier, (no one has given a prefect answer for such), but I can easily observe this even on much quieter VHF frequencies by switching my antennas from a horizontal halo to a vertical Double Extended Zepp. For my HF operations I run a horizontal Doublet/Dipole even though a vertical might give me better lower angle results. You takes your choice.

QRM chasing can see you running around wildly accusing everyone of causing you noise issues and maybe even falling out with your neighbours over such. Invariably most noise issues come from your very own home but again don't confuse them with atmospheric noise.

My own QRM 'woes' are mostly down to easily identifiable sources such as the bathroom extractor fan, washing machine, the vacuum cleaner and the wife's hairdryer....... Luckily these are rarely continuous use devices so affect me very little. In fact they make no difference with my digital mode operations and are easily identifiable as a modulated background noise on voice modes. (Always terrible on AM modes obviously but 'Ancient Modulation' isn't used much these days! Wink )

Ivy Mike's suggestion of a mains filter may just help with such scenarios.

Oh, and I threw away the cheap phone chargers my wife cluttered the house with....terrible RFI emmiters!!

There's also been a lot of the 'over the horizon radar' systems interference which seems to have got worse since the Ukrainian conflict affecting every bit of RF space both Amateur and CB. The wide frequency loud buzzing is the giveaway there and there's not a lot we can do about it. (Although complaints by regulating bodies will hopefully alleviate it......that or an end to the Russian invasion.)

I've tried options like QRM eliminators myself from the simpler circuits to tuned affairs and although they can be good at reducing a single source of local noise they're a PITA to use with constant fiddling every time you move frequency. (The tuned circuits managing better than the simpler, price not always being the giveaway with expensive WIMO units being the same circuitry as so called 'cheap Chinese' units.) I built my own as I don't like placing trust in 'black boxes'. They obviously won't help with typical atmospheric noise.

Always worth not following the 'Spinal Tap - everything to 11' attitude and often simply turning down the RF gain on your radio will improve signals considerably. Along with any IF shift/width controls you may have will help a lot too by reducing bandwidth and hence signal to noise ratio.

Otherwise just remember...HF 'noise' is nearly always present so just enjoy those quieter days when signals come through clear as a bell. Smile



Any one else reading this may well be seething, jumping up and down in their seats after investing much time and money into QRM problems. If you have and you firmly believe you have 'cured' your woes then all is well and good. I'm sure there'll be many that 'liked-and-subscribed' video evidence.


Enjoy your radio as you see fit but just know that sometimes you can invest much time and money for very little results. 

I didn't find 'noise' chasing much fun but luckily I didn't part with much cash.....although I learned a lot. High noise levels and Earthing. 1f44d 


Hopefully my banal waffling might save someone else time and money too.

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Ivy Mike
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Ivy Mike


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Equipment Used : ICOM radios/antenna farm
Age : 69

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PostSubject: Re: High noise levels and Earthing.   High noise levels and Earthing. Icon_minitimeMon Oct 17, 2022 11:45 am

I know that I have not stopped all my receive noise and I have spent quite a bit on
ferrite cores and have a big box of them.

My hustler antenna has the matching choke at the base and a home made 31 core
12 turn choke at the entrance to he shack.
At first it did knock down some noise but the low bands are really bad here now.
80m is at least S7, 40m is about the same with 30m being the worst at S9.

At least the noise does not seem to affect the digi modes FT8/FT4 to much.

As you explained before Victor, I just wind the rf gain down so the noise just disappears
of the 7300 waterfall and that helps quite a bit.

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Victor
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PostSubject: Re: High noise levels and Earthing.   High noise levels and Earthing. Icon_minitimeMon Oct 17, 2022 3:07 pm

Nicely done there Mike, (Ivy Mike, as we have two Mikes here), and I know you do an incredible job with your vertical setup and far flung contacts. High noise levels and Earthing. 1f44d
 

I just hate seeing people put off by apparently incessant noise when it isn't usually all as bad as it often seems. Some go to great lengths investigating such and as radio enthusiasts we'll see it everywhere just like a mortuary worker sees nothing but dead people, (all of the time!...film reference there somewhere. Wink )

I do like as you mention that digi-modes don't seem to be badly affected, you can literally hear the whir of the motor, (modern affair, not brushed so surprised by the amount of RF noise), on the washing machine and see it on the WJST-X waterfall but doesn't bother it in any way.


It's all the fun of the radio affliction.
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rekibrepus
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rekibrepus


Call Sign : 29-CT-074
Posts : 44
Times Thanked : 4
Join date : 2022-02-17
QTH or Location : Castleblayney, Monoghan.
Equipment Used : Yaesu FT-767 GX Venom silver rod and Sigma SE-HF-X80
Age : 71

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PostSubject: Re: High noise levels and Earthing.   High noise levels and Earthing. Icon_minitimeMon Oct 17, 2022 6:52 pm

Thank you for all the information chaps. I was going to have a go at Victors suggestion however a quick update, following severe gales overnight and today my HF antenna is now lying flat in the garden, the whole thing got taken down last night by the wind. Luckily no real damage done so its just a matter of raising it as soon as the wind drops. Thanks again guy.
73s
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Victor
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PostSubject: Re: High noise levels and Earthing.   High noise levels and Earthing. Icon_minitimeMon Oct 17, 2022 8:17 pm

Sorry to hear about your antenna there Michael and I hope any damage was minimal.

There's an old Ham antenna expression that states, "If it didn't blow down, it wasn't big enough!" Very Happy

Joking aside I hope you get back on air as soon as you can, noise or no noise.


All the best to you,
Victor

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Alan Pilot
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Alan Pilot


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PostSubject: Re: High noise levels and Earthing.   High noise levels and Earthing. Icon_minitimeTue Oct 18, 2022 7:01 am

Hope yours never blows down Victor.

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PostSubject: Re: High noise levels and Earthing.   High noise levels and Earthing. Icon_minitimeTue Oct 18, 2022 7:18 am

Ahaa, you know that's unlikely to happen Alan. The whole roof will have to go first! Wink

(For anyone else reading that doesn't know, my antennas are all in the loft/attic space.)


Seriously though, it must be absolutely gutting to find your antenna is now a set of ground plane radials sprawled all over the garden.  Shocked
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Alan Pilot
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PostSubject: Re: High noise levels and Earthing.   High noise levels and Earthing. Icon_minitimeTue Oct 18, 2022 7:25 am

Exactly what i was thinking Victor no roof no aerials.
Was watching my 2 in the wind.
The poles for the endfed wave about a bit.
But the cobweb just sits there chuckling as i say it sort of goes up and down 6" or so if that thinking about it.
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Alan Pilot
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PostSubject: Re: High noise levels and Earthing.   High noise levels and Earthing. Icon_minitimeTue Oct 18, 2022 7:30 am

Went a bit of topic there sorry.
Back to the noise.
If you can get a car battery to connect your radio to and waite till the station commander (wife) goes out.
Turn the mains off and see how it is.
If it drops then it is you if it doesn't then it's next door or the likes.
If it's you then power back on and turn all sockets off then see.
Put them back on one by one.

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Alan Pilot
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PostSubject: Re: High noise levels and Earthing.   High noise levels and Earthing. Icon_minitimeTue Oct 18, 2022 7:33 am

My heating in the house has just 7.30am come on and wiped out the 80m band for me.
Nothing i have tried will fix that one.

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PostSubject: Re: High noise levels and Earthing.   High noise levels and Earthing. Icon_minitimeTue Oct 18, 2022 9:10 am

I used to get issues like that Alan when we had the heat exchanger boiler system put in.
(The 'airing' cupboard looks like something from NASA's jet propulsion lab!)

Similarly as suggested by Ivy Mike earlier I built a mains filter unit on the extension lead for the radios and removed most of that. Was more of a weird overall white noise interference rather than a modulated type by other mains devices but the filter did knock everything back by several S points. High noise levels and Earthing. 1f44d

You still have to be careful you're not confusing it with atmospheric noise though, the 80m band noise can be horrendous when that sun rises. (I only identified my heating system due to the extra noise when it came on at night.)

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rekibrepus
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rekibrepus


Call Sign : 29-CT-074
Posts : 44
Times Thanked : 4
Join date : 2022-02-17
QTH or Location : Castleblayney, Monoghan.
Equipment Used : Yaesu FT-767 GX Venom silver rod and Sigma SE-HF-X80
Age : 71

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PostSubject: Re: High noise levels and Earthing.   High noise levels and Earthing. Icon_minitimeTue Oct 18, 2022 11:35 am

Good morning friends. The antenna is now back up with better anchor points. Slight kinks along its length but nothing serious. Following Victors no cost advice most of the noise is down to just 2 and can hear many stations from all over Europe Including a muppet broadcasting music. I really appreciate all the advice and comments and all have been filed for future needs, in the mean time back to playing.
Michael.
73s

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Alan Pilot
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PostSubject: Re: High noise levels and Earthing.   High noise levels and Earthing. Icon_minitimeTue Oct 18, 2022 12:16 pm

Glad you got it sorted out.
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Victor
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PostSubject: Re: High noise levels and Earthing.   High noise levels and Earthing. Icon_minitimeTue Oct 18, 2022 2:42 pm

Really good news there Michael. High noise levels and Earthing. 1f44d

I hope the kinks hold up and if anything let a bit of that noise leak out. Wink
(Got to laugh or you'd cry!)

The whole RF gain thing does seem rather counter intuitive but when used it's a revelation. You can always turn it back up if the frequencies are more devoid of noise too.


All the very best to you and enjoy your radio,
Victor

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