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W7PSK
Just Me
Premium
join:2000-12-04
Everett, WA

[Rant] Where to Report Severe RFI eminating from Comcast Cable

I had a power line tech come out investigating a very strong RFI signal wiping out the AM Radio band (And several Ham
radio frequencies) from the Area of Upper Ridge Road and 77TH PL SW in Everett, Washington 98203.

HE DFed it to a cable system coming out of a house in the vicinity of Upper Ridge Road. The owners were not at home. when the tech knocked on the door They wont talk to me. They have ADT hooked to the house.

Could you please investigate as it is the Cable System Radiating (Confirmed by the RFI Specialist) and have
the owner repair the issue.

My Next step is to file a RFI report to the FCC.
--
Rick Scott
Everett, Washington


beachintech
There's sand in my tool bag
Premium
join:2008-01-06
kudos:5

Re: [Rant] Where to Report Severe RFI eminating from Comcast Cab

The "power line tech/RF specialist" should have already filed a ticket with Comcast.

Why is a power line tech tracking an RF issue? What frequency is it on?
--
Ex-Tech at the Beach.
I speak for myself, not my former employer.


W7PSK
Just Me
Premium
join:2000-12-04
Everett, WA
Power Line tech is a contractor for PUD. He did not file a complaint, they have the attitude of its not their issue, they are done.

The way I found it was on 710khz .. it kills KIRO AM radio as I go by In fact it pretty much wipes out the entire AM Band. He went up with his DF equipment that allows him to pin point it. It pointed right at the cable line. Also it radiates about 2 blocks on either side of the house.

My ham radio picks it up on several harmonics.

I cannot find any reporting pages anywhere on Comcast pages.
--
Rick Scott
Everett, Washington


gar187er
I do this for a living

join:2006-06-24
Dover, DE
kudos:4
reply to W7PSK
when i find RFI wiping out the AM band, its almost always a POCO issue.

seeing as cable uses 5mhz up to 750/870/1ghz i cant imagine it being a cable issue. Most likely a power issue bleeding over onto the cable.
--
I'm better than you!


W7PSK
Just Me
Premium
join:2000-12-04
Everett, WA
He checked for POWER signature. It is, according to him, an electronic type noise. It is not a 60hz note, its random and varying.

rendrenner

join:2005-09-03
Grandville, MI
reply to W7PSK
Comcast doesnt use anything below 5MHz. Why would something in the MF band be their responsibility?

You say its raidating 2 blocks away? Sounds like a pretty strong signal. Since the outside of the cable is a shield, and if plugged into a device is probably tied to ground most likely the 'cable line' is showing the signal on it since it is so close to the source, assuming the house is the source.

Fought with PoCo many of times about their equipment failing and causing hum bars on televisions in the area. Sometimes it takes 3 or 4 of their techs to finally see the light and fix the issue.

Maybe the best person to have out is not a contractor for the power company but an actual employee of the company.


W7PSK
Just Me
Premium
join:2000-12-04
Everett, WA

2 edits
Anything attached to the cable could also radiate. I cannot find any reporting issues page on Comacast. Doing a Search for Radio Frequency Interference reporting yields me several Xfinity Programs to order.

You see this is the problem Consumers have. No company wants to help they only want to blame each other and hope the people go away.

Nobody wants to solve anymore

Guess Ill just file a complaint to the FCC and let them sort it out.

--
Rick Scott
Everett, Washington

rendrenner

join:2005-09-03
Grandville, MI

1 edit
could be something as simple as grow lights. The alarm? I dont think so.. Something would have to be very wrong with the gear to give off RFI at such a low freq. Any electronic device could potentially fail and cause harmful interference.

Grow lights are known to cause major issues. They frequently can cause trouble with our modems which return around 25-30 MHz. When there is a house that is causing a noise issue, a tech would hook up a meter that is going to display 5-45 Mhz. If noise is displayed then it isn't there. My rig also has a leakage sniffer on it with a GPS antenna and a WIFI antenna to upload automatically. It monitors a specific tagger frequency (121.2625 MHz here) to locate leaks as we drive around. If neither one of these systems are showing a leak or ingress on the system, then there isn't much Comcast could do. If there was noise on the line that could potentially cause a degradation of service then Comcast could disconnect the line in repairs could be performed. ( if customer is a CDV customer it gets a little more difficult). Your average tech, and most if not all network techs wont have sniffer gear to go down that low.

If the noise is for sure coming from that house, its not surprising that a braided piece of cable is carrying the frequencies on it. Most likely the shield is doing what its supposed to do and the customer doesn't even notice the problem on their end. Or they do but dont want to call someone in. I've been to many homes that had 'off limits' rooms.

** just a a thought, what if the house is not even a comcast customer? If the line is terminated at the pole/ped, or even if its completely disconnected the line would still potentially carry the RFI.
FCC complaint may be an option that would have some more teeth.


Mallego

@metrocast.net
reply to W7PSK
Rick, as a retired Comcast engineer, I have a few thoughts. First settle down a little, next, go to a local office and speak with someone there. Ask to have an experienced technician come out to look at the problem. Be asertive but not rude. Forget using the phone as they are scripted answers which don't cover your issue.

As far as it being the Comcast's fault, I doubt it, as being a ham you know that it take some power to transmit a signal for two blocks on the broadcast band. There isn't any cable equipment in the house that has that kind of capability. That being said, in my own home the cable modem's clock oscillator emits a signal at 1.270 mHz that is on top of my favorite AM radio station. The interference is limited to inside the house as checked with the car radio. At some point I need to get some correct mix ferrite chokes and put them on the cable coax and power cord. I may buy my own modem and then I can open it up and play internaly if need be.

If this doesn't help, then go to the FCC.

Mallego


Robotics
See You On The Dark Side
Premium
join:2003-10-23
Louisa, VA
reply to W7PSK
Contact your local Comcast office, and make them aware.
(take notes of the call)

Keep notes on times, freq's involved, audio recordings, video recording if you can. Keeping notes is most important.

If you have 440 capabilities, scan the band when you know this noise is emitting, and see if it is also jamming anything in the 440 range. 442, 450,460 on up are good places to start.

Contact your local field office of the FCC, and make them aware of your complaint, and the date and time you made Comcast aware of it. Also have your local Comcast office phone number for the investigator since he will be wanting it.

Hope this helps.
--
Long you live and high you fly, and smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry,
and all you touch and all you see, is all your life will ever be.

unixwolf

join:2007-05-04
Flower Mound, TX
reply to W7PSK
I had a similar problem at my repeater site. The only residential in the area is a trailer park. You bet one of those folks had some illegal taps and they were leaking like a sieve. I started calling every comcast number I could find and asking to be connected to the plant manager. Most of the brainless droids that work the call center have no idea who / what that is, so you may want to just ask for the highest person they can connect you with that is responsible for the cable plant / engineering.. I eventually got a director who found the DFW plant manager and had them call me. They got some guys to come out and they found the taps / leaks right away... Result? Silence on my 2m repeater input


Selenia
Gentoo Convert
Premium
join:2006-09-22
Fort Smith, AR
kudos:2
reply to W7PSK
The problem with AM is all it takes is 1 transformer, 1 poorly made neon bulb, 1 compressor, 1 of just about anything to inflict mayhem. Even light switches can cause a "pop" on such a low frequency. I have lived in this semi-rural area for some years now and more often than not, AM is unlistenable at night from a very strong "buzzing" RFI. It afflicts several blocks but seems centered close to me(but not coming from my house, just a bit to the North bit makes it almost 1/2 mile south of me). I have suspected it could be transformer hum, due to the tone and the fact it subsides then comes back. Many high tension wires feed to this region. Point is, given so many causes, I tend to question the viability of AM in this generation, dependant on electronic gear. I have been lucky to have not had this issue in some places, but had some variant in others.

Before high availability of radio streams, I bought a Terk AM Advantage. Significantly reduces noise, as it claims. Does not eliminate it from fringe signals, but does a great job on locals and some distant signals, under these conditions. AM selectivity and interference rejection is very poor, due to frequencies involved and manufacturers just not giving a damn on modern equipment. This antenna helps more precisely tune, thus rejecting more RFI. To put it in perspective, if in the event this RFI showed up during the day at times, Albany was still listenable. This RFI was normally bad enough to make WUHN, WBRK, and WBEC noisy, which all are commercial stations in Pittsfield with decent power, less than 5 to 10 miles away from me. The optimal solution I use now for further stations is to stream them, thus hearing no RFI. Have devices that do it via my radios without needing my full computer. Gives me much better AM/FM selection, besides. I still keep my Terk around for locals. Small town stations around here tend to have crappy bitrates.

Thought I would help you in other ways, since this might prove futile to track down. Even an RF engineer had trouble tracking ours and said it might be a faulty transformer inducing the RFI into the power lines, but he wasn't sure. I can assure you it's not Comcast, though. Coax has trouble carrying frequencies below 5 MHz, due to the laws of physics. Thus, nothing would be operating in that band from them. Even if a faulty booster or something were emitting noise, the coax could not carry the RFI as strongly as you describe. I would look at anything else first. But, better yet, try one of my alternatives and get on with life. It's much too short to try and hunt this down. Higher frequencies would be easier, as there would be less causes to eliminate, as well as having the advantage of the RFI signal being directional enough to pinpoint the source.
--
A fool thinks they know everything.

A wise person knows enough to know they couldn't possibly know everything.

There are zealots for every OS, like every religion. They do not represent the majority of users for either.


Paolo
Mr. Wireless

join:2004-05-29
canada
I noticed the term POCO a few times in this thread, is that another name for the Hydro Company?
--
Happiness is like peeing your pants... Everyone can see it, but only you can feel its Warmth!!


W7PSK
Just Me
Premium
join:2000-12-04
Everett, WA
said by Paolo:

I noticed the term POCO a few times in this thread, is that another name for the Hydro Company?

Yes similar POCO = POwer COmpany


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast
reply to W7PSK
It could also be an illegal ham radio setup. We have a guy in the adjacent apartment complex that is violating the terms of his ham license and misusing equipment (broadcasting on the wrong frequencies, too much power, etc) and it is messing up my electronics.

When he is doing this, it messes up the living room TV (which is a 27" Toshiba tube TV). I'll even be able to hear his nonsense coming out of the speakers if I pause my TiVo (and some of the language is not G rated). It also has a history of knocking my cable modem offline and causing ingress in my cable line.

I would see if there are any ham operators in your area (particularly those who are violating the terms of their license).
--
I wish I still lived in Iowa; Everything there from rent and groceries to Cable TV is much cheaper in Iowa (especially with an overbuilder in town).


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast
reply to rendrenner
said by rendrenner:

could be something as simple as grow lights.

** just a a thought, what if the house is not even a comcast customer? If the line is terminated at the pole/ped, or even if its completely disconnected the line would still potentially carry the RFI.
FCC complaint may be an option that would have some more teeth.

That nearby house could either:
A. Be stealing cable TV (usually a huge ingress/leakage issue)
B. Operating a Marijuana growing operation.
C. Both

Considering they don't want a tech in there, I would highly suspect illegal activities. I would call local law enforcement (preferably anonymously) and have them set up surveillance on that house.
--
I wish I still lived in Iowa; Everything there from rent and groceries to Cable TV is much cheaper in Iowa (especially with an overbuilder in town).


Streetlight

join:2005-11-07
Colorado Springs, CO
Iowa,

If it's an illegal marijuana growing operation, the electric utility would probably see an unusually large electricity usage unless the "residents" bypassed the meter. The cops could get a court order to see long term electric use.


telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15
reply to W7PSK
There is an article on the Broadcasting & Cable site today about the FCC setting comment deadlines for their proposed new rules on cable signal leakage:

FCC Sets Comment Deadlines on Signal Leakage
Is shifting analog rules to digital cable

By John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable - October 11, 2012
»www.broadcastingcable.com/articl···kage.php

The article references an earlier one on the proposal: »www.broadcastingcable.com/articl···ules.php


beachintech
There's sand in my tool bag
Premium
join:2008-01-06
kudos:5

1 recommendation

reply to W7PSK
I would almost bet that is not a cable RFI leak, but a PoCo issue.


Paolo
Mr. Wireless

join:2004-05-29
canada
if someone bypasses the electric meter, the electric utility (called hydro utility in canada) can still find out by measuring with primary conductor metering, then the sum of the individual meters, and the net usage should be equal, if there is more iusage on primary metering, someone is bypasisng the meter thus illegal grow op
--
Happiness is like peeing your pants... Everyone can see it, but only you can feel its Warmth!!

Joe12345678

join:2003-07-22
Des Plaines, IL
they don't hook street lights up with no meter there?


W7PSK
Just Me
Premium
join:2000-12-04
Everett, WA
reply to W7PSK

UPDATE: Where to Report Severe RFI eminating from Comcast Cable

As of yesterday the signal has disappeared. I would assume the FCC sent them the report and Comcast went out and cleared it. No contact to me but thats ok. The noise is gone, thats all I needed. Would have been better if they answered their door originally.