Members of the Wellington Amateur Radio Club visited the West Wind project site on 10 May and 15 August 2009 to measure the level of HF radio frequency noise radiated by the wind turbines. The purpose of the measurements was to help the club assess the level of interference that would be experienced if the ZL6QH amateur radio station was to be rebuilt at Quartz Hill, or at another location in the general vicinity of the wind farm.
A report on the noise measurement work has been prepared by the club and a pdf copy of the report (1.54 MB file) can be downloaded by clicking here.
The report concludes that it will not be possible to operate an amateur radio HF station in the vicinity of Quartz Hill due to the high level of radiated noise interference from the wind turbine infrastructure. At 3.73 MHz, the measured level of radiated noise is approximately 50 dB greater than that sought for weak signal HF amateur radio communications. Our analysis of the measurement data suggests that an amateur radio station would need to be separated from the nearest turbines by a distance of at least several kilometres in order to reduce the interference to the desired level.
We are disappointed at not being able to continue the amateur radio operations at Quartz Hill, as it has been a fantastic radio location and a great source of enjoyment and inspiration for us all. However, all good things do come to an end, and we have always understood that noise from the wind farm could affect our ability to continue using the site.
We are now searching for an alternative site in the wider Wellington region that will allow us to continue the legacy started at Quartz Hill. Our goal is to build a new station that has the potential to equal and surpass the achievements at ZL6QH. Key considerations for selecting a new site include:
• A low angle of elevation to the horizon, preferably less than 5 degrees, in all directions.
• Separation from potentially significant radio frequency noise sources like high voltage transmission lines, industrial areas, and wind farms.
• All weather 2WD access
• Preferably within 1 hour drive from Wellington city, but if necessary we will look further afield.
• Room to erect several guyed masts and poles, potentially up to around 60 metres in height.
• Availability of AC power
• Access to accommodation.
• Long term tenure.
Below: Setting up the RF noise measuring antenna and equipment at Quartz Hill on 10 May 2009Posted by ZL1AZE on January 07, 2010