Neighbours antennae interference.

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Sobie, Apr 1, 2016.

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  1. Sobie

    Sobie UKBF Regular Free Member

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    Hi All,

    Our new nextdoor neighbour has installed 2 very large radio antennaes right next to our BT phoneline and it is causing interferance through our business phone lines. (To the extent I can't hear my customers all I can hear is their radio messages)

    To be fair to the neighbour he has been running various tests to try and alivitate the problem however nothing is working. We have run tests on our phone line and it is recording as no faults.

    Neighbour is saying that we should have our phone lines moved (at his cost) away from his ariels, I'm not averse to this but as the phone lines are in the car park to 4 other shops it cannot affect the other shops. Neighbour has agreed he has built his antennae too close to the phone lines.

    the other shops are on a seperate phone line that has not had any interference on the phones, however all of the other shops are getting interverence on their radios.

    I am mainly concerned about PCI compliance, as we take card payments via this phoneline. And of course I want to be able to hear my customers on the phone.

    Any advice on what my next steps are?
     
    Posted: Apr 1, 2016 By: Sobie Member since: Jul 27, 2008
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  2. paulears

    paulears UKBF Big Shot Full Member

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    Plenty of things you can do here. First port of call is still BT, they have vast experience in applying filters of all kinds, but it's perfectly possible that your own equipment could be prone to the interference, and your neighbour, could be innocent because the problem might not be his fault. He could simply be revealing deficiencies in the installation or the equipment you have. Of course the reality is that there is clearly a problem that needs resolving. The second potential solution could come from OFCOM. If the radio equipment is business radio, covered by a business light, or technically assigned license then there are strict power rules - these also cover the aerial system, it's part of the license - X amount of power, and an aerial system with X amount of gain. OFCOM will, if prodded hard come to you and investigate. They will measure his power output and signal strength. They can also examine his emissions on an analyser to rule out spurious emissions that could be getting into your system. Being honest, the real issue is more likely to me the interference is being picked up by the incoming phone cables (are they buried or above ground?) and then the equipment is not screened properly, and you know the result. The usual solutions are ferrite rings on the incoming phone cables to block the interference. Who actually does this is the problem. BT could, but will attempt to shift the responsibility elsewhere. If the phone equipment supplier is somebody else, they will attempt to point out the equipment was fine until the new radio installation was used. Very common, and amazingly difficult to resolve.

    I suspect that if the radio system is tested and is found to be operating within the license conditions (which would be quite unlikely to be broken) then you have to negotiate with BT and/or the phone system supplier. OFCOM could be willing to fit the interference components, but will no doubt charge. Trouble is BT will probably charge too! You are the innocent party, but the fault will almost certainly be with your equipment, and the radio users has simply revealed a shortcoming in the design. This may sound strange, but I would see if there is a local radio ham club. They often experience these problems themselves, and their license conditions make curing this kind of thing something they have to be able to sort - so you could find they would be willing to have a look at your system and try a few solutions. If you pay for the bits, they might view it as a challenge. I suspect that sorting this out will be very tiresome.

    Technically the cure is quite simple - a large ferrite ring, and the incoming phone cables get wound a few turns around them. This creates a blocking effect. So it's (at this level) fairly simple, but somebody needs to do it. OFCOM have limited resources, but this kind of fault is their area of responsibility.

    I'd bet you end up the one out of pocket, and it's ironic that the person causing the interference is actually innocent. To be honest, this is quite common. Radio Interference is one of those areas where corners are often cut. They could make them more resilient, but in general, there's no need!
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2016
    Posted: Apr 1, 2016 By: paulears Member since: Jan 7, 2015
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  3. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Legend Full Member

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    This has to be done by BT and in such a way that it does not interfere with the broadband signal, that is also in the upper HF range, just like radio.

    This type of interference often occurs when the phone system is not earthed properly - or possibly not at all! Again, as Paul points out, a poorly installed telephone system is the probable fault here.

    The phone signal should be coming into the house via an armoured cable and the armoured shielding should be earthed to both Mother Earth and the electrical earth. Any cable after that should be as short as possible - or of course, if it is several meters long, shielded and earthed.

    Any and all telephone cable as to be fairly robust stuff. Remember, it has to carry a 50V DC current, so Mickey Mouse house-telephone or doorbell cable is definitely out.
     
    Posted: Apr 1, 2016 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
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  4. paulears

    paulears UKBF Big Shot Full Member

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    Sadly, incomers are now plain 600 Ohm two wire, with no earth whatsoever. The days of screened telephone access points is long gone. Luckily, business radio is VHF, or UHF, way above the operating band broadband works in. Indeed, broadband can interfere with HF shortwave radio, but it's very rare to find business radio systems that interfere with broadband directly, only by getting where they should be, which is almost always via the phone cable, the mains cable, or even the audio cable some phone systems have plugged in that does the music on hold!
     
    Posted: Apr 1, 2016 By: paulears Member since: Jan 7, 2015
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  5. Sobie

    Sobie UKBF Regular Free Member

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    BT had to put brand new lines into us when we started the business (2003) the lines are above ground. We had 3 new masts to route the wire to the shop. The problems started the day he went 'live' with the 2nd ariel (5th March 2016).

    The 2nd ariel has been installed less than 5m away from the middle BT mast, when turned it is less than 50cm away from the line at exactly the same height. It is a business ariel.

    Can we install a filter into the main BT socket without affecting our PCI compliance? Or do we need BT to do this? Neighbour has said he will pay the BT Costs, he has also said he will pay to have the phone lines moved, but I don't want any disruption to the other businesses.

    Your answers have helped me see how the neighbour is genuinely trying to help.
     
    Posted: Apr 1, 2016 By: Sobie Member since: Jul 27, 2008
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  6. Sobie

    Sobie UKBF Regular Free Member

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    I should add too that its not just the phone line, it does affect our radio and the radios in the other shops, I'll be listening to the football and can only hear his test message.
     
    Posted: Apr 1, 2016 By: Sobie Member since: Jul 27, 2008
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  7. paulears

    paulears UKBF Big Shot Full Member

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    50cm is ridiculously close to the phone line. 5m is probably not too fine. In all honestly it sounds like the aerial installation is a bit of a bodge. I'm wondering what "very large" is. Usually, business radio aerials are slim vertical designs, or something called folded dipoles - a horizontal pole away from the main one with a short up and down section - imagine a circle, pulled taught top to bottom, so it goes up, then back down, then up to the middle again. If you can take a picture, I'd be happy to have a look at it for you and confirm it's proper business radio, and not something odd - like perhaps CB with a hidden amplifier inside to try to get further range? They're easy to identify. Phone line interference tends to be what's called common mode interference, as the interfering signal impacts on both conductors in a pair - phone lines being typical 'collectors'. The filter needs to go on the BT side of your master socket, so for practical reasons has to be done by them, unless you are technically savvy. what you do on your side of the master socket is up to you. Additional filters outside the case won't ruin any compliance certificates or warranty. With just half a metre between the aerial and the phone line, that seems the key factor. Moving this away would seem the simplest solution.
     
    Posted: Apr 1, 2016 By: paulears Member since: Jan 7, 2015
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  8. Sobie

    Sobie UKBF Regular Free Member

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    My applogies, I am just re-reading their approved planning permission and it is amteur radio, but used for his occupation. He works in communication.

    from their planning request " the applicant has assessed the mast and its proposed siting as being the best that can be achieved in this situation where it will cause no annoyance to neighbours"
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2016
    Posted: Apr 1, 2016 By: Sobie Member since: Jul 27, 2008
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  9. paulears

    paulears UKBF Big Shot Full Member

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    If it's Amateur, then the onus is on him to not cause undue interference. He is allowed considerable power and depending on the class of license, he might be a bit technically minded, moderately technical or an expert in his field. OFCOM will assist if he is working outside the license terms, but he should be sensible enough to remove that close aerial - in fact BT can claim interference to their services from him if he's negligent, which based on distance, he almost certainly is. Have a look here:
    http://rsgb.org/main/technical/emc/

    This organisation exists to help hams sort out issues - assuming he's a member, but they will usually talk to you too. It's a hobby, and clearly there is already annoyance to the neighbours, although planning rarely links to interference. You have a few leads now, but the RSGB might be the most useful as their job is to promote a good impression. Incidentally, the rules on amateur radio preclude it being used for any form of business purpose - so that bit sounds like a bit of cleverness to assist getting permission. He can only use it for amateur use. It also explains the bigger aerials. RSGB first, then OFCOM, who will not want to get involved, probably encouraging dialogue and the RSGB connection - but they do have the power to do something, but that could be to suggest it's up to BT. Frankly though, the 500mm distance is just crazy. Don't forget that its also possible that BT's kit in the green box may also be causing similar grief to other users of that cabinet.
     
    Posted: Apr 1, 2016 By: paulears Member since: Jan 7, 2015
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  10. jimnotgym

    jimnotgym UKBF Contributor Free Member

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    Whether or not the filter affects PCI compliance depends on what the filter is. If it is installed by BT then as far as I am concerned it is a part of the phone line and outside of the scope of your compliance. If it is a passive device like a ferrite ring then again no impact. If it is an active device of some sort then you need to find out exactly what it is doing! No straight answers I'm afraid. I think you should consider moving the phone line however, as strong interference may interfere with transmission and cause slow or failed payments I would have thought.
     
    Posted: May 15, 2016 By: jimnotgym Member since: May 15, 2016
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  11. paulears

    paulears UKBF Big Shot Full Member

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    I can add a little to this, without saying too much. She's got the situation controlled now, and it was considerably more complicated than it appears on the surface. Thankfully all parties are now living peacefully. I doubt she will be able to say very much on here, and I certainly can't - but a number of interested parties, organisations and agencies had an input in the end. form my perspective, quite an interesting event start to finish.
     
    Posted: May 15, 2016 By: paulears Member since: Jan 7, 2015
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  12. Sobie

    Sobie UKBF Regular Free Member

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    Thank you for your reply. As Paul has stated, it is all under control now.

    Thanks again Paul for all of your valuable advice.
     
    Posted: May 15, 2016 By: Sobie Member since: Jul 27, 2008
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