Picking up HAM radio through my speakers?

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by jnick, Mar 18, 2014.

  1. jnick

    jnick 2[H]4U

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    My wife and I moved to a new home and in the computer room, I've been hearing things. I'm not gonna lie, it was freaking me out. Then I realized that I'm picking up radio chatter, from what I thought was CB radio as we have a freighting company near by. I was wrong. A neighbor at the end of our road has a shit load of antenna's on his roof, of which it appears is HAM radio. I can hear him through my speakers when he transmits which is annoying as hell.

    I'm using Logitech Z-2200 speaker that I got YEARS ago. My first guess is that the speaker cabling wasn't shielded and I'm SOL. However, before I rule that as the case, I wanted to double check. Is there anything that can be done to "fix" this so I don't hear him?

    Am I forced to buy a new pair of speakers? If so, I was looking at the AudioEngine speakers as I know they've had a few sales recently. I noticed that they are individually powered, and I'd be able to hook them up to my Sound Blaster Z. However, what would I do for a sub? Since I'm a big gamer (FPS, BF4) I cannot be without my Bass from explosions and what not. Am I to assume I'd need a receiver to get a system like this to work? If I'm forced to buy new speakers, I didn't want to go for my lungs as I'm also in the process of building my HT setup which is costing me a pretty penny as is.

    What is recommended if I can't fix this interference issue.

    Thanks!
     
  2. atarione

    atarione [H]ard|Gawd

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  3. jrweis

    jrweis Gawd

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    Its the neighbors responsibility to not interfere with your equipment!
     
  4. Andyk5

    Andyk5 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yeah your neighbor could be very well out of line with FCC requirements. He should not be able to penetrate in to regular speaker wiring.
     
  5. jmilcher

    jmilcher [H]ardness Supreme

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    He is outputting much more power than he should be. You can report it online to the fcc... and they will inquire on his license and his setup...
     
  6. jbltecnicspro

    jbltecnicspro [H]ardness Supreme

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    Before reporting him to the Feds... Have you talked to him and told him your delima?
     
  7. bob

    bob 2[H]4U

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    This is very important. Your first line of contact in a situation that is unfavorable is to reach out to the operator. I'm a licensed operator, and I strongly urge this kind of one-on-one interaction/contact between neighbors/operators.

    If this is a licensed amateur radio operator / ham radio operator, there is little to be done. This person is federally licensed to operate, and there is little/no recourse for consumer electronics with poor shielding/filtering. You can question whether they are transmitting at power levels beyond what they are licensed for, or the quality/cleanness of the output signal (is it on-frequency, or is it splattered all over the place?), but it takes a lot of know-how and specialized equipment to verify these things. These are things the operator is responsible for, but don't complain about that sort of thing unless you understand what the underlying problem is.

    Just talk with the operator. Calmly discuss what problems/symptoms you are encountering, what times you experience the problem/symptoms, and explain that you would like some help figuring out a solution. They can either be a jerk about things and close the door, at which point I would reach out to the ARRL for advice, or the neighbor may be helpful and help devise a solution.

    If one of my neighbors reached out to me and told me they were having problems, I'd do anything I could to help them find a solution, just for the sake of being a good neighbor. I'm not obligated to do anything more than follow FCC law, but i've found its far easier to help someone put a filter-choke on a radio or test grounding, than it is to live amongst angry upset neighbors.
     
  8. jmilcher

    jmilcher [H]ardness Supreme

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    As a licensed operator, you should and probably do know that that type of interference from that distance is no doubt caused by an over powered transmission.
     
  9. Andyk5

    Andyk5 [H]ard|Gawd

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    He said at the end of the road....if it is interfering from the other side of the street, it is too much power, way too friggin much to be exact.
     
  10. atarione

    atarione [H]ard|Gawd

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    the ham radio might be overpowered or the speakers might just be poorly shielded..

    jesus really the first thing people suggest is calling the freaking FCC...lol...

    a awful lot of consumer electronics that is sold to people to day is absolute crap with terrible design and construction... not saying that is the case with these logitech speakers exactly but i think it is a big mistake to start off with the assumption the HAM radio operator is at fault or is necessarily under some obligation to change what they are doing..

    life is too short to live next to people that hate you...so i really strongly suggest spending $4 on some chokes and then talking with the neighbor guy nicely and seeing what that gets you before crying to the FCC.
     
  11. jbltecnicspro

    jbltecnicspro [H]ardness Supreme

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    Off topic, but I don't know what's happened in the last ten years that people immediately call the authorities before trying to work it out themselves. Hell, in my apartment complex, we have a flyer that suggests that if we have an issue with a neighbor that we contact the management FIRST and NOT the neighbor. F--- that. Most people aren't ill-willed or evil, and usually are unaware that they're causing anyone else grief. Bringing it to their attention is usually all that's ever needed. And hell, sometimes you end up making new friends and get invited over someone's house.
     
  12. WAR2K

    WAR2K [H]Lite

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    WOAH WOAH WOAH... making friends? Screw that!
     
  13. wrangler

    wrangler 2[H]4U

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    Wrong.
    Nothing personal btw... just picked yours to quote.
    If the amateur radio operator is operating his station in compliance with part 97 then tough tits.
    In fact, if it is even a CB, and that person is operating within the law, tough tits.
    If it is FRS/GMRS and that person is operating within the law then tough tits.
    It might even amuse you to know, if the guy is an amateur and not just a CB freak, that if the baby monitor or plasma TV or dimmer or sump pump or whatever you own that is emanating RF and it is interfering with his reception that it is incumbent upon YOU to eliminate the interference.

    Now, you've already received some comments but let me reinforce those that recommend ferrite chokes and or talking to the radio operator nicely if need be.
    Sometimes just rearranging the speaker leads or coiling them up some can solve this kind of thing.
     
  14. jmilcher

    jmilcher [H]ardness Supreme

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    I like how everyone assumed I suggested he first contact the FCC.

    I simply mentioned it was possible. And they have a service setup just for this VERY reason. Anyone who operates would know this.

    I can tell no one here except maybe one of you is a licensed operator. HAM radio stuff is a very different crowd and community.
     
  15. wrangler

    wrangler 2[H]4U

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  16. jbltecnicspro

    jbltecnicspro [H]ardness Supreme

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    Guilty as charged. And as for assuming you meant he first contact the FCC... Your post doesn't imply a mere suggestion - at least that's not how I read it. :confused:
     
  17. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    Typical stance of the home grown little nuisance that go by the name 'radio amateur'. They think they have the right to ruin your neighborhood aestethics by erecting 30 foot high ugly towers and terrorizing the neighbors by transmitting their mindless babble through everyones radios, pacemakers and teeth. If you want to play with transmitters, either move somewhere where your little hobby doesn't terrorize others or get a job at the radio station.

    They suggest you to contact the amateur first so he can prepare to the coming FCC inspection by lowering his transmit levels temporarily. I have first hand experience. Just call FCC and have them drive by and do measurements, they will take action if necessary. If the guy is clean and with permits, he has nothing to be afraid of.
     
  18. jojo69

    jojo69 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    false

    he is most probably in compliance and is not responsible for shitty consumer equipment

    and to the poster above, towers are beautiful
     
  19. wrangler

    wrangler 2[H]4U

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    Sorry the truth hurts. Too bad you think your aesthetics are the only ones that matter. Typical stance of the homegrown nuisance known as the neighborhood Nazi. I bet you go around measuring peoples grass. J/k. :)
    As far as calling the FCC... Eh. That's one way to go. If the guy is a licensed amateur, which you can find out by talking to them then odds are he is clean as most really pride themselves on their spectral purity. Some even go so far as to monitor their modulation real time with o-scopes just to be sure. The reason we suggest contacting face to face is not to tip the operator off, since more than likely he or she is clean, it's because it is the neighborly thing to do as opposed to what amounts to calling the cops on an unsuspecting person who is enjoying a legal hobby that has been a part of the history of America for a hundred years. I mean, what's a more traditional old time hobby than ham radio? Ham's are typically civic minded decent individuals, usually with an advanced degree in EE or some other related field and if you make a potential interference issue known to them they will go to great lengths to help you solve it. Usually. Every group has there asses but most hams are pretty cool and helpful.
    Now, if this is a CB operator who is running a dirty amplifier then the FCC will be interested but if it's not, then you just called the cops on your neighbor for no good reason.
    Btw... 30 feet is not a tower. That's a garden trellis. :)
     
  20. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    FCC is not 'cops' it's a regulatory element whose job is to keep this kind of stuff at bay.
     
  21. SithSolo1

    SithSolo1 [H]ard|Gawd

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    I was picking up the local college radio through my sub. Turns out the amp was not properly grounded. Got a replacement amp and haven't heard the radio since.
     
  22. Skripka

    Skripka [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Heck, I've seen audio cables where the ground is only pressed into the connector and held by fricton, no solder in sight.
     
  23. wrangler

    wrangler 2[H]4U

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    The FCC does indeed conduct enforcement including fines, confiscation and, in some rare cases, jail time. I was really just being illustrative...

    But I suspect your being purposely obtuse so... goodbye now.

    Hope you get it solved OP.
     
  24. atarione

    atarione [H]ard|Gawd

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    i will chime in once more... i think personally the idea that the ham radio operator would lower the levels till the feds' come then crank it back up is unlikely

    OP does any other equipment in your house have interference from the radio?....


    The risks that the HAM would be "warned" to lower the levels temp if you talk to him ...seem much less to me than the risks of having a neighbor that is permanently mad at you for going to the "not cops??..whatever FCC" without try to figure it out with them first. Especially if it turns out it is your speakers being poorly shielded vs them having too much transmit power.

    but even before tt them try the dang ferrite chokes and see if that solves things anyways.
     
  25. rudy

    rudy [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I think its best to contact the guy first.

    1 you might make a friend / learn a little.
    2 You always have the option of calling the FCC you don't have to do it right away.
    3 He might very well work with you and help you more to find a good solution. He might offer you shielding or help you trouble shoot much easier. Its very likely if he has all this equipment he knows a thing or 2 about what he is doing and electronics.

    A lot of people are assuming there are only 2 options. 1 the OP has garbage equipment and the HAM guy is completely legal, or 2 the HAM guy is a radio outlaw over powering his transmission and breaking regulations.

    But few people suggested that it might be a combination of the 2. I mean even if you cannot obviously hear it if you are hearing something you likely have an issue in your setup. And even if he turns down the power to make you happy or avoid trouble with the FCC chances are your system will still pick up lower levels and it will reduce quality even if not obvious. If you reach out to the guy he might help you really solve the problem in a higher quality manor that will eliminate the interference.
     
  26. wrangler

    wrangler 2[H]4U

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  27. jojo69

    jojo69 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    ur consumer receiverz suxxorz


    our 1.5KW TXcrvrs RULRZZZZZZZORZ

    get [H] or get suxz




    but really, go talk to the guy, he will probably stuff a bunch of chokes at you if approached correctly, most are good folks
     
  28. dandragonrage

    dandragonrage [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Also helps to make sure your signal cables are coax, not paired (or twisted-pair) wire and that the wires are as short as possible, etc. Ferrites, as mentioned, can help.

    I bring this up because a lot of RCA cable is NOT coax. The only advantage of not using coax is that it can be thinner and more flexible. But even twisted pair doesn't shield anywhere near as well as coax. Also, twisted pair blocks a relatively narrow frequency range depending on exactly how twisted (hehe) the cables are.
     
  29. W5EMP

    W5EMP n00b

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    Actually it is not. He is operating under Part 97 rules using a licensed service. Your speakers must comply to Part 15 rules using unlicensed spectrum.
    Part 15 rules state that:
    1. The device must not create harmful interference
    2. The device must accept ANY interference received, including interference that may cause undesired operation.

    If your equipment is improperly shielded (your problem, not his) then 5 watts of RF could easily cause interference. Amateur radio operators (Hams) are licensed to transmit with power of up to 1500 watts.

    Actually, the report will most likely be disregarded due to the dispute being between an unlicensed service and a licensed service. And again, he is probably not using more power than he is allowed. Most hams are happy with 100 watts (6% of the power we are allowed)

    To answer both, it almost certainly not caused by an "over powered" transmission or "too friggin much power". You're 50 milliwatt baby monitors often cause us interference from a neighborhood away. And with the way the antennas are being described, I would assume the ham is using a yagi, which concentrates the RF in one direction, and when his beam is turned in the direction of your house, it could cause interference in faulty electronics.

    It is not likely at all for the ham to have an amplifier that will do more than the 1.5KW that we are licensed to use. But even if so, if you alert the FCC first, they will send the ham a letter which he has thirty days to respond to which would tip him off just as fast as trying to work things out like civilized people. Also it is going to take quite a bit more than one complaint from a person that is using an unlicensed service before the FCC spends money to send out officials to audit a station, which will consist of quite a bit more than "driving by and taking measurements". One cannot simply drive by and determine how much power is being transmitted. This is due to radiation patterns and gain of the antenna. If my power in watts is 1500 watts at the final stage of my radio, and I am transmitting into a antenna with just 5 dBi gain, my effective radiated power will be about 2892 watts. This is still within our license limits because on every band except 30 meters and 60 meters, we are not restricted by ERP, but by the power measured at the final amplifier stage of our radio system. So except in the case of those two bands, the FCC would have to come in and check the actual capabilities of our equipment.

    Anything else to say?