I’ve never met Norman Rashleigh VE3LC, a long time Ottawa area ham radio operator. But I have to give him a big public thank you and I think it’s overdue!
A couple of years ago the kitchen in our early 1920’s vintage house underwent a major renovation. That meant changes to the electrical layout to handle all the kitchen gizmos in a 21st century Canadian kitchen, along with a switch to more energy efficient lighting.
For anyone with an interest in radio communications, energy efficient lighting is often a bit of a two edged sword. You certainly do save money on your electricity bill, but it often comes at the cost of massive radio frequency spectrum pollution.
It doesn’t need to be this way of course, but it’s the result of the deregulation of industy over the last few decades and electronics manufacturers being allowed to “police themselves” on RF spectrum pollution issues and near zero enforcement by government agencies around the world.
Throw into the mix, the shift to ever cheaper electronics products made by folks in parts of the world where people don’t get paid very much and couple that with the use of cheap electronic components and no effort to do any kind of RF shielding or filtering.
In house renovations, more thought goes into what a light fixture looks like than anything else.
As a licensed amateur radio operator, I was quite concerned about RF pollution. Living in a large urban area, I didn’t expect the RF pollution situation to be perfect, but I wanted to minimize it as much as possible.
So with the kitchen renovation job just about wrapped up, I went into the kitchen and turned on all of the lights. They generally looked pretty nice. Then I took a little Sony portable radio into the kitchen and turned it on to the AM radio band.
Even radio signals from local 50,000 watt radio stations were completely wiped out by a loud buzzing noise. So, if these light fixtures wiped out the entire AM radio band what was going to happen to my ham radio equipment?
I went through the lighting system turning stuff on and off so that I could narrow down which lights were causing the problem. I eventually narrowed it down to a string of lights that were above the kitchen sink.
While I was doing that, a ham radio buddy of mine dropped in and told me “hey, I read something about that in QST”. We looked it up online and found the problem. That lead me to this little Youtube video about Eurofase halogen lighting posted by Norm VE3LC that I’m linking to below.
A word of warning, before you view this video you’ll want to have your fingers near your speaker volume controls to turn down the really awful noise generated by these Eurofase lights.
I showed Norm’s video to my kitchen contractor and told him in no uncertain terms that I wanted this Eurofase lighting removed. So they removed it and replaced it with something that appears to be reasonably RF quiet.
So Norm, I’d like to say thank you!
To Eurofase, you’re producing crap and I’ll never buy anything with your brand name on it.
Thanks for the thank you. This problem with this product was demonstrated to Industry Canada officials at an Radio Advisory Board of Canada meeting back a few years ago. I would like to believe it may have influenced IC issuing a revision of ICES-005 that now specifies strict limits to conducted and radiated emissions that this type of equipment must meet to be marketed in Canada.