K7LOL QRM In Urban Settings
Ham Radio in an urban environment can pose challenges beyond HOAs and cranky neighbors. RF hash from power lines and other sources are common contributors to high noise levels. Fortunately, the commercial mains in this area are buried underground. Sadly, the high tension transmission lines are not. There are high voltages lines within a mile to the north, south and west of the K7LOL qth. As a result the base line noise level is around an S5 on the lower frequencies.
This image shows what a plasma TV looks like on 80 meters here at K7LOL. The bottom half of the waterfall display are FT8 signals late night in February. The top portion of the image shows what happens when I turn on our plasma HDTV. The neighbors' plasma televisions yield similar results at varying levels.
Add to that the chirps, buzzes, whines and roars of every appliance in the neighborhood. Air conditioners, washers, dryers, and faulty electric meters each have distinct noise signatures. Recently HF reception here was completely wiped out by a failing LED house light.