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Morgan190 08-24-2011 12:29 PM

Picking up radio station on new installation of FiOS phone
 
I moved into a new house this past weekend and had FiOS installed yesterday, including phone service. When we pick up a phone, though, I hear what sounds like a radio station (I assume AM radio) in the background, making talking with anyone anywhere from annoying to impossible.

I spoke with Verizon's tech support and they had me plug a phone directly into the box outside which made the problem go away, so he figured it's an issue with the phones or the house's wiring. I tried jacking in two corded phones and four cordless phones (including one that can manually change channels) in various jacks around the house and still hear the noise, so I assume at this point it's something in the wiring causing this.

I've been doing some research and found that some people suggest radio filters on the jacks, but none of the local stores I've checked (Radio Shack, Home Depot, Target, etc.) seem to carry such a filter.

Apart from filters, is there anything I can do to try and remedy this problem? I'm totally new to housework along these lines so try and keep explanations as simple as possible. :laughing:

Thanks very much,
m19

AandPDan 08-24-2011 01:44 PM

Do you live fairly close to an AM station?

Verizon may be on track with this one.

You swapped phones around but have you tried unplugging all but ONE corded phone, inside the house, not the box outside? It could be one of your phones.

It very well could be in the wiring itself. If the length is right it may act as an antenna. If it's wired with just plain old phone wire (4 conductor) you might try upgrading to Cat 5. It may reduce the interference due to more twists.

Good luck.

mpoulton 08-24-2011 05:15 PM

When you plugged the phone directly into the fios box outside, was the house wiring still connected to the fios box? If not, then you haven't ruled out the fios box as the source of the problem. The phone wiring acts as an antenna, and the audio circuitry in some device connected to the wiring accidentally demodulates the AM radio signal. Unfortunately this is a hard problem to avoid since almost all semiconductor circuits will demodulate AM radio to some extent. The solution is proper filtering, which SHOULD be integrated into the electronic devices.

Plugging a phone directly into the fios box doesn't help diagnose the problem if you disconnect the home's phone wiring, since that removes the "antenna". Instead, leave the phones connected and disconnect the fios box. If it goes away, you know the fios box is the source of the problem. If it remains, then the phones themselves are causing it.

Regardless of where it's coming from, the problem will be solved with appropriate filters on the phone lines. You'll need the right kind of filter, one that's optimized for the AM broadcast band. These guys have very good ones:
http://www.sandman.com/rf.html
They only take orders by phone, but they will make sure you get the right product. If the fios box is the cause of the problem, then one filter on the connection between that unit and the home's phone wiring should be all that's needed.

gregzoll 08-24-2011 05:47 PM

They said that when they hook into the jack on the box, nothing is heard for the am interference, so that means wiring inside is the suspect. Also, this could be Ham radio interference.

http://www.fcc.gov/guides/interference-defining-source
Filing a Complaint with the FCC

If you cannot locate the source of the interference and the problem continues, you can file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which has established rules to reduce interference. There is no charge for filing a complaint. You can file your complaint using an online complaint form. You can also file your complaint with the FCC’s Consumer Center by calling 1-888-CALL- FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; faxing 1-866-418-0232; or writing to:

dmxtothemax 08-24-2011 06:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Morgan190 (Post 714157)
I moved into a new house this past weekend and had FiOS installed yesterday, including phone service. When we pick up a phone, though, I hear what sounds like a radio station (I assume AM radio) in the background, making talking with anyone anywhere from annoying to impossible.

I spoke with Verizon's tech support and they had me plug a phone directly into the box outside which made the problem go away, so he figured it's an issue with the phones or the house's wiring. I tried jacking in two corded phones and four cordless phones (including one that can manually change channels) in various jacks around the house and still hear the noise, so I assume at this point it's something in the wiring causing this.

I've been doing some research and found that some people suggest radio filters on the jacks, but none of the local stores I've checked (Radio Shack, Home Depot, Target, etc.) seem to carry such a filter.

Apart from filters, is there anything I can do to try and remedy this problem? I'm totally new to housework along these lines so try and keep explanations as simple as possible. :laughing:

Thanks very much,
m19


Try sheilding the wires.
Or contact the FCC and ask them where you can get a filter from,
They just might know.
Or find a ham radio operator,who lives nearby,
he will be able to advise you.

gregzoll 08-24-2011 08:50 PM

dmx, actually they could try doing a home run for telephone with Cat-5, or take the current wiring and go to Radio Shack to get a Ferrite core, which may work.

http://svconline.com/mag/avinstall_u...ontrolling_rf/

Do not add unnecessary grounds. It will generally increase circulating ground noise rather than reduce it. Attempting to short out RFI with heavy ground wires is generally ineffective. At RF, a wire's impedance is proportional to its length but nearly unaffected by its gauge. For example, 8 feet (2.4 m) of AWG #10 wire has an impedance of 22 V at 1 MHz (AM broadcast band). Using AWG #0000 wire (about 1/2 inch or 13 mm diameter) reduces it to only 18 V. Of course, never disconnect a safety ground or lightning protection ground to solve a problem-it is both illegal and dangerous.

Use ground isolators in problem signal paths. Ground isolators, whether transformer or optical types, couple signals while completely breaking electrical connections, which stops common-impedance coupling. Commercial isolators are available for audio, video and CATV signals. Because most types have limited bandwidth, they offer inherent RFI suppression. Beware that poor-quality units can often degrade signal quality.

Install RFI filters in the signal path. If the offending RF interference is more than about 20 MHz, ferrite clamshells, which are easily installed over the outside of a cable, can be effective. In most cases, they work best when placed on the cable at or near the receive end. If this is inadequate, or the frequency is lower (such as AM radio), you can add an RFI filter on the signal line. Schematics for unbalanced or balanced filters are shown in Figure 2. For mic line applications, L should be a miniature toroid to prevent possible magnetic hum pickup. If FM, TV or cell phone is the only interference, a small ferrite bead may suffice for L. In any case, C should be an NP0/C0G type ceramic disc with short leads. For severe AM radio interference, C may be increased to about 1,000 pF maximum.

mpoulton 08-24-2011 11:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gregzoll (Post 714422)
Schematics for unbalanced or balanced filters are shown in Figure 2. For mic line applications, L should be a miniature toroid to prevent possible magnetic hum pickup. If FM, TV or cell phone is the only interference, a small ferrite bead may suffice for L. In any case, C should be an NP0/C0G type ceramic disc with short leads. For severe AM radio interference, C may be increased to about 1,000 pF maximum.

Yeah... That's why I suggested buying a good filter designed for the AM broadcast band. I'd build my own from the parts in one of my numerous junk drawers, but the original poster probably won't be doing that - or she wouldn't have been asking what the problem is! Contacting a local amateur radio club may also lead to solution.

gregzoll 08-24-2011 11:58 PM

That is what I am thinking. Also, they could have a "Load Coil" inside. Which is basically a bundle of wires.

dmxtothemax 08-25-2011 12:05 AM

A clip on ferrite core seems like the easiest solution,
Worth a try and easily done.
Also winding the cord around a ferrite rod,
could alse be tried,
Also easily done.
But some experimenting with the number of turns
would be needed.

Morgan190 08-25-2011 08:40 AM

Woah, lots of replies. Thanks everyone, I appreciate the help. To answer some of the questions...

Quote:

Do you live fairly close to an AM station? You swapped phones around but have you tried unplugging all but ONE corded phone, inside the house, not the box outside? It could be one of your phones.
I'm not sure if I live near an AM station; I've only been in this house for a few days. Is there an easy way to check AM radio locations online, maybe? And yep, I unplugged all the phones and tried the corded one by itself; the noise still persisted.

Quote:

Regardless of where it's coming from, the problem will be solved with appropriate filters on the phone lines. You'll need the right kind of filter, one that's optimized for the AM broadcast band. These guys have very good ones:
http://www.sandman.com/rf.html
They only take orders by phone, but they will make sure you get the right product. If the fios box is the cause of the problem, then one filter on the connection between that unit and the home's phone wiring should be all that's needed.
That's the sort of thing I've been trying to find with no luck, thank you! I'll get them on the line and see what they can do.

Quote:

dmx, actually they could try doing a home run for telephone with Cat-5, or take the current wiring and go to Radio Shack to get a Ferrite core, which may work...
Afraid you lost me there. Remember, I'm new to this. :D The bit about a Ferrite core makes sense, assuming you just wrap it around part of the wiring or something, but everything else about grounds and isolators and laying new cable flew right over my head. So where exactly would you install a Ferrite? Is it on the telephone wire from the phone to the jack, or the cables outside around one of the boxes? That part I'm not clear on.

Quote:

I'd build my own from the parts in one of my numerous junk drawers, but the original poster probably won't be doing that
Yeah, unfortunately I'd have no idea how to do that. :P

So apart from identifying "what" the problem is (wiring, phones, interference, etc.), it sounds like at least the first step I can take is to pick up RF filters and Ferrite cores, give those a shot.

m19

gregzoll 08-25-2011 11:31 AM

This will help you in locating radio towers http://radio-locator.com/ This is a better one, shows them on a map http://www.antennasearch.com fcc http://transition.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/amq?list=0&facid=9961

Also, you can go to maps.google.com and type in without the quotes "AM radio stations (your town that you live in and state)" to pull them up on google maps.

Morgan190 08-25-2011 11:40 AM

Alright, now we're getting somewhere (sort of)... I installed a ferrite core on my test phone this morning and while it seems to have lessened the noise, it's still just as bad on some of the jacks: a jack on my second-floor home office is relatively noise-free, the one on the ground-floor kitchen has a bit more noise, and a jack in the basement has audible noise. Does that help at all?

I specifically identified the AM radio station the phones are picking up, so I called them and they suggested the same Mike Sandman's filters mentioned above. Now I just got off the phone with Sandman and the first thing he asked was whether I could hear the station noise on speakerphone (which I can), so he said their handset filters wouldn't make a difference in this case. Boo.

The Sandman rep suggested I contact an "interconnect company" (phoneman) to come take a look and fix whatever it is, but I'm not exactly sure what an interconnect company is... Does that just mean any old phone repair guy?

m19

gregzoll 08-25-2011 12:06 PM

Yes. They may charge you. How hard would it be for you to pull a run of Cat-5e (Network cable) from the FiOS interface, to your office in your home, or the kitchen?

Morgan190 08-25-2011 12:11 PM

Do you mean getting it from the box to either room as a test or permanent wiring? Permanently, that's not something I'm capable of. I could probably get it to the kitchen to test; the box is right outside and around the corner so it shouldn't require much work just to run temporarily.

If I can do that, what is it I'd be trying to do?

m19

gregzoll 08-25-2011 12:38 PM

If not something you can do without a lot of work, have Verizon do it. They have a forum over at https://secure.dslreports.com/forum/vzdirect that you can talk directly with Verizon's techs about your problem. You will have to create an account over there to send a message. As for a temp run, I would wait for their techs. Post over at the vz direct forum, the rules are at https://secure.dslreports.com/forum/267?rules=Rules


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