Solar and Wind Farm interference with AMA radios

WaltWalt Registered Users Posts: 1
We have an active wind farm of 45 turbins and an active solar farm of a couple hundred panels. I write a column for a local newspaper and am being asked to find out how to stop or lessen or force the "culprits" to lessen or stop the problem. Do you have an answer?
Thanks a million!
Walt Caldwell
Editor
Mountain Echo

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,318 admin
    Re: Solar and Wind Farm interference with AMA radios

    Welcome to the forum Walt.

    "AM Radios" (not AMA)?

    And is the inference "electrical" whine/static/"birdies" or problem with "picket fencing" (the signal amplitude "flutters" from the turning blades).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,511 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar and Wind Farm interference with AMA radios

    I'd complain to the FCC, large scale electrical is NOT supposed to cause interference beyond the project boundaries.

    There could be several, easily fixed technical issues causing this.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
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  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 3,136 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar and Wind Farm interference with AMA radios

    Hi Walt,

    What is the nature of this interference/problem?

    How do those concerned know that any of this interference is coming from the Wind or Solar farms?

    Have those concerned approached the people managing these facilities with their concerns or documented data?

    Thanks! Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • john pjohn p Solar Expert Posts: 814 ✭✭✭
    Re: Solar and Wind Farm interference with AMA radios

    Today did a simple experiment got a very wide band AM radio. connected it to a 6ft tall antenna(like the old car radio antenna) walked all around the perimeter of the roof of our building that houses about 200 solar panels of different types and configurations and sweeping from 450k to 1800 kHz found no interference from any array.
    I think you can safely conclude its not the solar farm giving you interference.

    Please leave the payment on the fridge for going out on the hot (above40deg C ) roof to do this,, thanks
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Solar and Wind Farm interference with AMA radios
    Walt wrote: »
    We have an active wind farm of 45 turbins and an active solar farm of a couple hundred panels. I write a column for a local newspaper and am being asked to find out how to stop or lessen or force the "culprits" to lessen or stop the problem. Do you have an answer?
    Thanks a million!
    Walt Caldwell
    Editor
    Mountain Echo

    This sounds like a preconceived notion that the turbines and/or solar are to blame. Since electrically this is highly unlikely perhaps you should try to find out what really is causing the problem first.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,318 admin
    Re: Solar and Wind Farm interference with AMA radios

    I will take the devil's advocate point of view--Radio waves are very low energy--And it does not take much for electronics or even the motion of metal or carbon composite blades to affect the radio waves or compete with the radio stations.

    Things like do you notice the interference "goes away" in bad weather/at night, or when the wind is not blowing?

    In some cases, this forces going to alternatives like directional antenna, moving antenna away from the source of noise (if possible), and going with Internet or Satellite Radio.

    If you have a HAM club in the area--They are usually more than happy to volunteer and see if they can use direction finding equipment/spectrum analyzers to see where the sources of interferences are.

    In some cases, you may get some help from the government--But I would try with the HAM club first and get them do document/write of a report before going to the FCC.

    -Bill

    PS: I live near the flight path for SFO airport... In the days of analog TV, I could tell when the flight paths changed and planes were coming closer to our home... I could watch the "ghosting" (refection) from the planes going by.

    In fact, there is (was) military research into using distributed transmitters and receivers to track (hopefully) stealth aircraft due to the minor changes in refection caused by them (if I recall correctly). Feed the results of the defractions cause by the aircraft into a big computer--And you could track them.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,318 admin
    Re: Solar and Wind Farm interference with AMA radios

    I should also add that radio inference is very frequency and modulation sensitive...

    AM radio is great for long distance communications at very low (received) power levels... But that also means that any interference is easily picked up. Even a metal fence near an AM receiver can cause static in the reception (due to poor/intermittent electrical contact in sun/wind).

    FM type modulation is much less affected by "noise" vs AM. But the frequencies are (usually) much higher so that "smaller" antenna (and unintentional radiators) are more of a problem.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar and Wind Farm interference with AMA radios

    Reminds me of when those big (now outdated) satellite dishes first appeared in these parts where I live. Most of them were 10 feet diameter and there were many superstitious folks who truly believed those big dishes were "sucking" all the regular IV signals out of the air, thus degrading everyone else's TV reception on local channels.
    Not saying there isn't some strange problem with the wind/solar farm, but I won't be surprised if the "problem" turns out to be nothing more than overactive imaginations.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar and Wind Farm interference with AMA radios

    it's hard to say where the interference is coming from without something to back up the claim of the potential source. many who had tv reception problems due to bad antennas or tvs often blamed the problem because of ham or cb operators nearby. sometimes the interference from them was real, but more often times there was a problem on the couch potatoes' side.

    same applies to broadcast radio. some interference is possible and is allowed under some parts of the fcc rules. as a listener you are not guaranteed to be interference free. it is still worthwhile to pursue this as there could be a problem creating more interference than normally should be present. a bad ground connection can cause interference at times for an example. some hams may help you with this, but it doesn't mean they will solve your problem as they may only make some possible determinations and possible advice. at best they may solve the problem, but anything short of that is certainly better than nothing. if you feel the hams were not experienced or knowledgeable enough then they can direct you to the fcc to see if they can possibly help, but odds are the fcc won't as a localized interference problem is not a priority event.

    another possibility is to approach the stations as they are often willing to help extend their being heard and the station engineers and technicians may also give their input on the matter and they may be more helpful than the fcc itself.

    the worst case is that it is determined to be within normal expected interference parameters and the listeners may have to make extra efforts such as directional antennas or better radios. station engineers and even some experienced hams can often help in this area as well.
  • 8n-bob8n-bob Solar Expert Posts: 35 ✭✭
    Re: Solar and Wind Farm interference with AMA radios

    I mirror what a lot of people have said about where the interference is coming from. Get with the HAM's in the area they will be able to help. Also like was said there is a lot of other things that can cause interference. I remember when I was down in Greenbank, WV at the NRAO for a star party and the one person there was saying how sensitive their equipment was. They were picking up a disturbance so they hoped in the "van" with all the tracking gear on it and over 8 miles away they found some one had put an old electric blanket in a dog house to keep their pooch warm in the evenings. Well one of the wires in the blanket was making intermittent contact and that was causing a little arc of electricity driving their equipment simply batty. Well they bought the Ower a dog warming pad that was weather proof and problem solved. :-) Moral of the story is "find the source" then "find the solution"

    Take care
    BobO
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,318 admin
    Re: Solar and Wind Farm interference with AMA radios

    To clarify, I think NRAO is:

    National Radio Astronomy Observatory


    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • 8n-bob8n-bob Solar Expert Posts: 35 ✭✭
    Re: Solar and Wind Farm interference with AMA radios

    Yep Sorry I should have typed it out completely.

    Thanks for clarifying.

    BobO.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,318 admin
    Re: Solar and Wind Farm interference with AMA radios

    Not a problem--I am a curious guy.

    -Bill "curiosity killed the cat" B. :p
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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