I Love Interference Stories

Guest Contributor Claude Chafin, NØFMO

I love interference stories. I was Licensed in 1977...It was about 35 years ago I found myself in an interference problem I think it was on the 146.82 repeater...someone had left their mic keyed up for some reason. Who knew? The repeater was timing out constantly and was a big annoyance. I decided to do something about it.

So on the auto patch 146.91 repeater...I called my friend Al NØFOT (now Sk)..."Hey Al, turn your Stacked 16 element 2 meter beam around and get a bearing on this signal....."Due West" from his Northern Roeland Park Location He said.... Al was quite apathetic—"just let the radio burn up who cares" he said.

But, I took it as a challenge.

So, armed with just an Icom 2AT (2 meter HT) I decided to get another bearing....I traveled west out to Shawnee and stopped in a park near Shawnee City Hall, off Johnson Drive for my next bearing. Using my hand and arm as a shield to the rubber duck antenna, I picked up a null to the Northeast that made me think the signal was somewhere near the county line. So, I ventured into the Wyandotte County area in the Highland Crest area for another bearing. This time the bearing was due South. So, now I have it narrowed down to a few square blocks. As I moved into that area, the signal was really strong and my technique no longer worked, because I was getting saturation in the signal. At this point I removed the antenna and resorted back to the original technique. As I drove up and down a couple of blocks I realized the signal was not easy to pin down. Finally I turned down a dead end cul-de- sac… And there was this monster-sized tower. Looks like a ham to me, I thought.

I thought I’ll go knock on the door. As I got out of my car I noticed a parked car out in front of the home. This car had a 2 meter whip on it. So,I peeked in the driver's side window. There it was! A microphone was keyed up between the driver’s seat and the console. I pinged on the antenna and could hear it through my HT. Signal found! So I knocked on the door not knowing this ham. He was quite surprised to see me; I explained why I was there. “Is that your car outside?” I asked. I won't name a name or call sign of the offending ham. He knows who he is. We had a big laugh at the next local club meeting, as you might imagine. By the way, we traced back Al NØFOT’s original due west bearing to get an idea how accurate his antenna was. It was right on the money, due west!

Special Thanks to Claude Chafin, NØFMO