ARDC grant provides ARESLAX with sophisticated noise localization capabilities
ARESLAX, a branch of the ARRL Los Angeles Section, used a grant of $ 23,600 from Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) to purchase equipment that will help members of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) locate and eliminate sources of Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) that could interfere with their operations.
“ARESLAX is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that supports the Los Angeles Chapter’s ARES program emergency communications initiatives, ”explained Diana Feinberg, AI6DF, Los Angeles Chapter Manager of the Los Angeles Chapter. ARRL. “Earthquakes and forest fires are the main disaster threats facing this region. Since these incidents occur without prior warning, the Los Angeles Section’s Disaster Communication Groups must maintain a high degree of preparedness. “
With the grant, Feinberg said, ARESLAX purchased a Fluke ii910 precision acoustic imager last spring, which combines ultrasonic detection with visual techniques to locate a source of interference, such as noise from a power line. , and produce photographic evidence. At the same time, ARESLAX used its own funds to buy an RFI Radar Engineers 243 locator and spent the summer getting acquainted with the sophisticated equipment.
“By combining these two purchases with our pre-existing equipment, Los Angeles ARRL Section Technical Specialist Chris Parker, AF6PX, believes the Los Angeles Section now has superior EMI / RFI tracking capabilities compared to service companies. audiences in the region and their contractors, ”Feinberg said. ARESLAX wants to eliminate all RFI sources in Los Angeles County.
The equipment will be used throughout the ARRL section of Los Angeles, the only ARRL section made up of a single county – Los Angeles County with 10 million people and the most populous US county. The terrain ranges from sea level to just over 10,000 feet, including a vast mountain range. “Use NVIS [near-vertical incidence skywave] over 80, 60 and 40 meters is essential for communicating between all of these areas and neighboring counties during major disasters, ”said Feinberg.
“For a growing number of radio amateurs in the Los Angeles section, EMI or RFI issues have made HF bands difficult or impossible to use for DXing, disputes, emergency communications or occasional operations,” Feinberg said. . She pointed out that the overhead power line network that extended with the county from 1940 to 2010 has now deteriorated, resulting in electric arcs. “Additionally, our urban noise floor is increasing because of the millions of electrical devices used by consumers and businesses, including solar charge controllers and grow lights,” said Feinberg. “Unfortunately, major electric utility companies have cut their long-standing electromagnetic interference investigative services in recent years following staff retirements and corporate restructurings. Utility companies are now hiring outside contractors to locate specific EMI issues, but this approach has not sufficiently addressed many issues for hams.
RFI complaints can go unresolved for years, and the search for sources of interference has been the focus of a corps of technical volunteers. The new equipment makes this job much shorter and more efficient, said ARESLAX.
In 2019, the ARDC announced the sale of some 4 million consecutive unused AMPRNet Internet addresses, with the proceeds of establishing a grants and fellowship program in support of research in communication and networking with a particular emphasis on amateur radio. The ARDC, which manages AMPRNet, said it plans to provide monetary grants to organizations, groups, projects and scholarships that have significant potential to advance the state of the art in amateur radio and digital communications. .