These days computers and radio go together so well but they can often put an end to picking out weaker signals because they can throw out a lot of RF (and usually in the most annoying places). Always having a love for gaming, programming and computers in general has left me with 4 ‘meaty’ base units that are in a class of their own when it comes to screwing with any radios near by.

This is why I can’t heap enough praise on older lower spec notebooks that are still able to run (most) data-mode software without wiping out the signals your trying to decode at the same time. Something like a decent night of HF PSK playtime for me means the big boys are turned off to leave just a single radio connected to a laptop or notebook.

So you can imagine the confusion when I set up my new Dell notebook the other night only to see a S7 radio hash crapping all over 20 meters. It took a while of looking around to see if I’d left something messy on to realize it was the first time using the notebook with the mains adapter plugged in.

The Culprit

RFI Noisy Mains Adapter


The adapter isn’t a dell original and is marked as a ‘replacement adapter’ that came with the notebook when purchased secondhand and thankfully pulling the adapter out of the mains made the problem disappear instantly.

I’m forever curious and would love to strip this power supply down just to see if it badly designed (my first choice) or has developed a fault at some point, but I need it to charge the notebook even if I can’t do the HF thing with it plugged in.

Even without a load it still produces the same amount of noise, making me think that its inherently a piece of junk 🙂

With my four computers and screens running the interference is nowhere near what this adapter puts out and a bit of distance from the radio doesn’t do a whole lot of good. I’m just grateful that my neighbors don’t have one of these things permanently wired up to the mains supply (pretty sure I’d notice).

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