Interference is the bug bear of anybody who dabbles with sw radio and there’s never a shortage of RF crap to stomp over some or all of the HF bands. Most of these you’ll never find (or have no control over), but others are more than obvious.
A computer in the shack is a must have these days and even if your not interested in datamodes, the addition of the Internet gives access to a massive amount of online resources that compliment our hobby like nothing else.
Separation does help to a degree with these RFI problems and you’ll soon get used to how laying out your shack makes the difference when it comes to a lower noise floor. It was during a weekend sorting my radios into a setup that I hope will last, that things started going wrong for me.
Tidy Up and Suffer
There are currently 2 base units and a laptop connected with my radio use, all of which spew out crap at various levels. I’ve got used to and up to a point learned to live with most of it, but after making the effort to get the shack sorted over the last few days, found that huge chunks of the HF bands were constantly filled with a S9 RF hash.
Dumping all my vintage computers in last years move really got rid of a load of junk, but there’s times when they’re badly missed because of the low RF emissions. There’s very little trouble with plonking a SW receiver on top of a 200Mhz Pentium powered computer (just try that with a multi core/multi GHz model).
OK, its a given that the new i5 3Ghz beast is going to be the stumbling block when using my radios and that’s tucked nicely out of the way. This is why the mess all over the HF bands came as a surprise after I’d finished swapping the shack/office around.
Even radios can screw with each other if they are too close/run off the same power supply, so started systematically turning each piece of radio/computer gear off to see which was the culprit.
Why New isn’t Always Best
With multiple radios/power sources and computers this took a while and I was getting a little hacked off with not finding the problem when a round of mains plug pulling (there’s a few) took the RF hash away. Seems the problem comes down to the supply for one of my 3 computers monitors.
I wouldn’t mind so much, but this is my all singing, all dancing super 1080p HD beast that was bought to go with the new I5 base unit(figures) 🙁 . Its at the center of my computer ‘stack’ and the one that all my work gets done on.
Luckily there’s already a second vintage monitor connected to that computer, so my only route to being a happy SWL is to turn off the HD when listening to shortwave (which as you can imagine is pretty much most of the time).