mike chambers | about

Too much interference? Get in the car

Well, I have been pretty frustrated for the past week or so, as I have realized that there is just too much RF and electrical interference in my house. It is making shortwave listening difficult. Some of the interference is from my house (electrical system is really noisy), and some is from the neighbors.

As I posted earlier, I put up a long wire antenna, and this drastically improved my signal strength. However, it lead to two problems. First, the increased antenna power is overloading my receiver, and I am receiving AM stations all through the shortwave bands. Second, the antenna I currently have up comes directly into the house, and thus picks up all of the RF noise from the house. I put up a test antenna that comes into the house via a shielded cable, but reception was very bad with a lot of noise (I am guessing I did something wrong).

Anyways, I have been pretty frustrated, so I decided to hop in the car, and head up to the top of the hill (Walter Hass Park which overlooks San Francisco) to see if it was my location, or maybe all shortwave reception is bad. I planned on just checking for 5 minutes, but ended up staying over an hour because the reception was so good.

Here is what I picked up (January 11, 2007 UTC):

I would have actually stayed much longer, but 1) I was freezing. It was about 40 degrees F, and I was in shorts and slippers, and 2), I half expected the cops to come by and check out what I was doing in a car with a long wire hanging out, occasionally blinking a Flash light (which I needed to take notes).

It was a ton of fun though, and reminded me how much fun the shortwave can be. I am still going to try to figure out how to fix some of the noise issues at my house, and am planning some shortwave camping trips.

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