With regret I am giving up chasing due to possible VDSL

It is with regret I have to give up SOTA chasing. I have enjoyed myself working you activators’. Last few days I have had s9 noise level on 20m band and high noise on other hf bands. It looks like it could be caused by VDSL but not proven yet. I will try and get Ofcom involved but after their last visit with my complaint on solar panels on near neighbour house I have little faith this time. They traced it to the house and after 3 months closed the case informing me the it was fitted by a qualified electrician. It did not matter it caused problems on some ham bands.

I have had a few bad days nearly boxing my station up and selling the lot. I love CW and I am active member on Fists and CWOPS
This morning I woke up and thought I wont give up ham radio I will have to give up Sota, Pota and pulling dx stations out of the noise which is my love. If I don’t give this up I will end up leaving the hobby. I can get on 15m with no noise ok and I can get on 17m 30m and 40m with a s 4 noise floor.
This really as set my mental health back but today I am feeling a little happier, I cant allow myself to visit that dark place again,. 73’s all Steve G4YTK


Hi Steve, @G4YTK

Have you considered using digital modes from home? This will open up numerous opportunities to chase POTA and similar schemes; I see a number of SOTA operators activate with FT4/FT8 now too.

Noise/QRM across HF at my home near Liverpool is S9+ most days, so SSB is not really feasible unless the activator I am chasing has a very good signal. Using FT4/FT8 though, I am still able to chase.

It’s well worth considering these modes, as I find they allow me to enjoy the hobby from home when otherwise I probably couldn’t. Please don’t give up - there are many options, even when things seem challenging.

73, Simon



You say 15m is OK at home, is 10m the same? Lots of activators on 10m at the moment due to the challenge.

If you’re having QRM issues and no success with Ofcom it might be worth contacting the RSGB EMC guys to see if they have any advice. There have been a few articles recently about solar panel and inverters so it’s a bit of a hot topic.


Hi Steve,

I understand your feelings completely. Been there.
Came back.

But you know there is a lot of great enjoyment to be had if you can only operate on one or two bands. Please take a deep breath and match back into the shack and chase on whatever band you can.

A loop antenna for receiving only can be very helpful in reducing the noise. In theory it can give you a 20 dB notch in the noisiest direction. Use your normal tx antenna. A simple relay change over is all that is needed.

We have had some terrible National Broadband Network installations that wiped out hf for several VK amateurs. These were unusual and you may never be in their position.

Steve, please EM me directly for more personal exchanges and other help on living with noise.

Nil carborundum bastardum.



Hi Steve,
Can I suggest you contact the RSGB EMC Committee. They are the experts in this area.
Their website is at:

There are also some short brochures available specifically related to VDSL2 interference:

The other approach, if you are up to it, is to chase from portable locations - somewhere close to home but far away from the Electronic noise sources. You’ll be amazed how much can be achieved with relatively simple gear and antennas once you get out into the countryside.

Specific to the local problem, if the VDSL2 noise is coming from just one direction a separate receive antenna of different polarisation to the main antenna, may give better results or even a complete change of antenna - for example, a full wave loop picks up far less electrical noise than a vertical antenna (but it needs space). These are the kinds of things the EMCC may suggest if you can give them relevant information to your available space and current set-up.

73 Ed.


My experience of vdsl was that it was
a) very disruptive
b) very distinctive

Clearly visible/audible subcarriers evenly spaced throughout the lower hf spectrum with lower levels of ‘random’ signal noise in between. Can’t recall the carrier spacing, but a clear series of carriers rather than a flat spectrum of noise.

This thankfully stopped at 5MHz in my case, with an immediate clifflike dropoff from S9+ to near 0. But the cutoff would depend on the vdsl flavour/rate.

Would be good to at least confirm the type / cause of the QRM.



Pleased to work you today Steve. Unusually for me I was just using the FT-817 barefoot to the inverted vee dipole, apex at 6m.

Just wondering whether you’ve thought of doing the odd period of chasing from a local quiet spot. When I started in SOTA there was quite a bit of 2m SSB and I used to go out portable to work the activators using the band/mode.

73, Gerald


“Don’t give up
Cause you have friends
Don’t give up
You’re not beaten yet
Don’t give up
I know you can make it good”
(Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush)

Like many others, I am in the same boat. S9 or 9+ noise down to 20m but less noise on the higher bands though noise persists to VHF. At first I was depressed, chasing became a string of disappointments with just the occasional victory to remind me of how it used to be. Now I see it as yet another challenge. Noise reduction, noise cancelling, intelligent tinkering with antennas, and a judicious retreat from the lower bands that were my first love decades ago and more recently a SOTA happy hunting ground. If there is lower noise on 18 - 10 metres then that is where I will camp out, the 10m challenge is a Godsend and there is the 6m challenge to prepare for. Banish depression and face the challenge!

Good luck!


Your mention of EMI from Photovoltaic (PV) systems prompted me to search for a tip sheet on that issue. I found a good one so will share it in case anyone else finds it useful. It’s oriented to US regulations, but the technical discussion should apply anywhere.


Ok, I am going to suggest something that will probably get stones thrown at me, but here goes. Have you considered making use of the many SDR sites located world wide ? It would certainly get rid of your local interference problem and not affect your transmitting. Hey, just a thought !! Sorry if I offended anyone. de W6LEN / Jess


Hi Simon,

Yes I agree that going to WSJTX modes helps a lot.

On 80 m I have S7 to S9 noise and even up on 6 m it’s S6. I am mostly on FT8 these days and able to work a lot of stations.

Sadly chasing SSB SOTA stations on 40 m and 20 m is hit and miss these days.

Many amateurs do not realise that much of the noise is self inflicted. Amongst all those little wall wart power supplies and chargers you have in use or on standby there can be one or two that are absolute noise demons.



Thankyou for all your time and comments, very much appreciated. I am in a better frame of mind and I will be carrying on. I will be getting some help to try and resolve the situation. You never know it may go away as quick as it started
Steve G4YTK


We’re all suffering S9 noise but hold on, there’s the prospect that it will go away in a year or so.

In the UK, the telecomms provider BT/Openreach will be switching off both the traditional PSTN and ISDN networks and withdrawing all traditional products that rely on it by 2025. This will affect everyone in the country who is currently using traditional voice and PSTN-based broadband services (ADSL & VDSL). All new contracts are only for Fibre to the Premises (which does not radiate RF).

That should see the removal of the POTS cables strung between telegraph poles up my side of the street. I’m hoping the remaining AC mains cables on the same poles will cause less RFI.

I believe many countries in EU, N/A and elsewhere have similar shutdown schedules.


Round here the number of cables between poles seems to be increasing, though I gather some of them are fibre rather than copper (according to the bloke from GigaClear who was stringing up some new lines between poles near y house a couple of weeks ago).

No sign yet of OpenReach replacing anything, though.

1 Like

My advice would be to find one, or maybe two bands that work for you in your QTH Steve, (10m for 2024 perchance?) and concentrate on them with the finest antennae you can muster - commensurate with your QTH/Neighbours, and you’ll still enjoy it - and remember there’s more to amateur radio than SOTA, one tiny part of our fine hobby.

73 Phil EA8/G4OBK/P (until 29/02/2024)


It was interesting yesterday while driving back from an activation seeing just how much QRM comes from the telephone lines.

I activated GW/NW-046 and there was no FM or DAB reception on the car radio for the drive back (due to the remote location and the road being in a valley) so I switched the radio to AM.
Almost every phone line I drove under caused a high pitched buzzing on the radio, as did some poles where there was a significant drop or loop of cable.

I recall many years ago (pre ADSL) when in the car with my parents that you would get a low buzz on the radio when you drove under some power lines, but not with the more numerous phone lines.


I doubt it will be that soon.

I don’t believe that all of that is happening in the first phase. The switch-off of the PSTN means that the analogue service on the copper pairs will be removed and replaced by Voice over IP. But the IP can and will still be delivered over ADSL or VDSL using the existing copper pairs. I don’t think they could possibly change all of those on the timescale envisaged.

For many people the changeover will simply mean that their phone has to plug into a socket on the back of the router rather than their linebox (and if they have internal extensions fed from their linebox they will have to be rewired in a way that will end up being rather messy). I believe that customers who only have a phone line and don’t want broadband will be given a router providing “Internet Lite”, i.e. the LAN ports and WiFi will be disabled in the configuration and only the phone socket will work. So in the short term, there may be an increase in the installed base of xDSL.

Eventually, but I don’t expect that to be next year.

As it happens, I switched to fibre (from CityFibre, not OpenReach) last year. It’s wonderful, but there are still people in the same village who cannot get it yet. I migrated the phone line to VoIP myself and have ditched BT entirely.

My fibre is delivered overhead, and had to go to a different corner of the house from the copper line, as CityFibre were unwilling to follow the route of the copper line through my loft. I therefore asked OpenReach to remove the overhead copper, and much to my surprise they were happy to do it free of charge. I’m sure it would still be there if I hadn’t explicitly requested its removal.

We should eventually get to everybody being connected over fibre, but I think it will take a long time.

Martyn M1MAJ


That really surprises me. Even in my small rural village BT/Openreach and B4RN have spent the last 3 years digging up roads and fields to lay fibre cables or route them down one manhole to another 500m away. I’ve spoken to BT engineers and they say there are constant reliability problems with the overhead cables on poles: broken insulators, high winds, fallen or overgrown trees, rotten poles needing replacement, etc.

Perhaps, there’s some technical reason in your area.

From what I’ve read I think that’s wrong.

BT can’t wait to stop all services via the 150-year-old POTS copper-wire network, a creaking, expensive-to-maintain network (of telephone exchanges as well as under-street and overhead cables) and replace by a far superior system. As the majority of customers transfer to fibre the revenue-to-maintenance-cost ratio for POTS plummets.

It was the same for the B&W 405-line TV system - a huge loss-making overhead before the formal shutdown - to the 625-line PAL colour system. Old folk at the time [probably my age now] said “Why can’t they wait until all the old people have died?”.

There’s no sane reason to offer new or extended digital services over POTS.

When the overhead street cables are taken down is less important - from a RFI point of view - than when they stop being used.


We went both backwards and forwards here - so we have full fibre - but they installed poles and put it over overhead cable rather than the buried where the copper telephone lines wire. They did say the cable was very strong, but not strong enough in storm Arwen when the overhead fibre snapped…
PS… I now have S1-2 noise across all HF bands which is probably very close to the noise floor. I occasionallly suffer with noise (50 Hz) when Northern Powergrid have a problem on their network (S7 ish across all bands). A significant amount of noise that I has assumed was VDSL from outside turned out to be things in the house generating noise so it may be worth investigating what happens to the noise floor when the mains is off in the house.


I would very much like to be wrong on this!

Obviously the PSTN shutdown paves the way, but I can’t see it being done everywhere by whatever date it is in 2025.

As far as I can make out, only CityFibre have any fibre infrastructure in my immediate area, and it’s a strange mixture of underground and overhead. There is a Toby box in the street at the bottom of my garden, but they refused to use it because it is intended for my neighbour. My connection had to be two overhead spans from a pole some way down the street.

I don’t think there is any way to get BT service over this infrastructure, and you never know, there might be some people who want to stick with BT.

Our village is split in half by the A14 in a cutting. CityFibre have shown no inclination to venture to the other side. (They might have misunderstood where the city boundary is, but I don’t mind!)

Martyn M1MAJ