Updates to the Power Line Noise Detector “Driveby” System

A few days ago we posted about Tim Havens “driveby” project, which is a RTL-SDR based system he developed to help create heatmaps of power line noise in his neighborhood. Upon doing further research, Tim discovered that the main source of power line interference was appearing at a frequency of 44.252 MHz. Then by using his driveby system to create a heatmap of his area at this frequency and also by using a hand held radio he was able to pinpoint a massive source of power line noise.

The noise appears to be coming from a faulty and unsafe power pole near a local school. He writes that the power poles primary ground line has been severed and that a wire from the AC line is simply dangling in the air, ready to be grabbed by school children.

Heatmap showing sources of powerline interference
Heatmap showing sources of powerline interference
The faulty power pole
The faulty power pole with dangling AC line
Severed grounding line
Severed grounding line

7 comments

  1. Dave

    We have plenty of wooden power line suports in the uk…..last for years, don’t cost too much,ideal for distribution out in the styx…..aslong as you don’t mind QRM,
    Dave.

        • Jay Moore

          The problem with the US is that we have had varying power grids from various providers hacked together. A lot of the infrastructure was built above ground and it costs a LOT of money to bury lines. Buried lines also are a maintance nightmare. We do have places with underground power lines over here, and the area that has them is increasing. But in a lot of areas; the electric providers (who are privatized for-profit corporations) don’t want to pay to bury them; most of them don’t even pay for proper maintance.

          My provider is a non-profit; they have a high degree of reliability with a lot of above-ground lines because their theory is maintenance maintenance maintenance!

    • Jay Moore

      Most poles that aren’t part of the real HV distribution grid are usually wood. I only see non-wooden poles on huge transmission lines. They last almost forever.

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