Need Help with RF Interferance - HAM Radio - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 01-03-2019, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Need Help with RF Interferance - HAM Radio

Hey folks. I am having a problem with my Wrangler. I need to know where the Jeep parts are that need RF shielding.

I have a 2016 JKU. I'm a HAM and whenever I fire up my radio, my jeep has an epic fit. The windshield wipers turn on. The dome lights turn on. The dash system completely reboots. My in-dash factory radio squeals out the speakers like audio feedback (even with the mic off). After this happened 2 or 3 times, my TPMS circuit took a dump and doesn't work at all anymore.

I had a 10 meter radio in it with a 1/4 wave whip on the tailgate. The radio has variable power from 2.5 watts to 40-100 watts, depending on AM/SSB/FM. I also had an amp in the cargo area that pushes 200 watts on AM when fed with 2.5 watts. All B+ was wired straight to the battery, all ground cables were bolted to bare metal within 6 inches of the radio/amp. I tested the match with 3 different meters on low and high power, with and without the amp, and never saw anything higher than 1.1:1 on any frequency. The total system power draw never exceeded 18 amps.

Everything was working great for about a week, and then something in the Jeep broke. I know its a circuit in the Jeep and not the radio equipment, because I put the radio and amp in one of my cars they have been running error free for about a month.

I figure I need to shield something or several somethings. Once the system failure occurred, my son's CB in his truck (which only dead-keys 4.5 watts) causes the exact same problem while he is parked next to me. Also, one of my friends has an HF rig in his pickup that pushes 500 watts, and I can hear his voice over my JK factory sound system while the Jeep is off and the key is out of the ignition. And my HF radio isn't even in my JK anymore.

Looking for any advice on what may have broke and where controllers/computers are so I can shield them better than what they are now. I am really trying to avoid tearing the Jeep apart to find them.

Last edited by marcspaz; 01-03-2019 at 08:54 PM.
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post #2 of 17 Old 01-05-2019, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
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post #3 of 17 Old 01-06-2019, 10:15 AM
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Hey man... that's wild.

If you have not already done it, I would start by checking all of the grounding points on your jeep. Possibly one came loose and is preventing a shield from having a path to ground. There are at least 4 ground points under the hood alone with the PCM sort of flanked by two of them. There are grounding points at both front kick panels too. Also check the engine ground strap. I would start with those.


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post #4 of 17 Old 01-06-2019, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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@White13JKUR , that a great idea! I'll take a look tomorrow. I appreciate the feedback.


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post #5 of 17 Old 01-07-2019, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcspaz View Post
@White13JKUR , that a great idea! I'll take a look tomorrow. I appreciate the feedback.
Yeah, the ground points on the passenger side are close to the TIPM.

It doesn't sound like you have TIP issues though I suppose it is possible. Check the symptoms and solutions on this site....

http://www.verticalvisions.com/tipm-...solutions.html


Another idea is to double check the condition of your battery. I had a battery go semi-bad on my BMW and cause the CAN BUS system to go whack. It was intermittent until one day that it made the whole car seem possessed. There was enough voltage to start and run the car but it was low enough (dead cell or something) that it caused other issues. The Jeep has a similar CAN BUS system and probably needs a certain voltage level or it too will tantrum.
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post #6 of 17 Old 01-07-2019, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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I was thinking about changing the battery since I use a winch while wheeling, plus the original battery is still installed with near 40k on the clock.

I haven't noticed any issues while winching, but since I am wanting to change the battery anyway... that will probably be done soon. I appreciate the feedback!
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post #7 of 17 Old 01-09-2019, 05:52 AM
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I'm a ham also. K6UDA. You may want to try a series of inline chokes on your feedline or if you can swing it, an MFJ 915. It's a little larger than something I'd normally use in a jeep, but it works fantastic and it has killed all the stray RF in my motorhome. The other option is to run at reduced power. I normally run my Yaesu FTM400 at mid power about 25 watts and have no issues. '09 JK Sport.

73,
Bob K6UDA
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post #8 of 17 Old 01-09-2019, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whpmotorsports View Post
I'm a ham also. K6UDA. You may want to try a series of inline chokes on your feedline or if you can swing it, an MFJ 915. It's a little larger than something I'd normally use in a jeep, but it works fantastic and it has killed all the stray RF in my motorhome. The other option is to run at reduced power. I normally run my Yaesu FTM400 at mid power about 25 watts and have no issues. '09 JK Sport.

73,
Bob K6UDA

That may actually be a good idea for after the repair. Spurious emissions rather than my primary single likely caused the issue. I live right down the road from HRO in Woodbridge. I'll probably swing by and pick on up today.

We had some nice weather yesterday and I tried looking into it a bit, but it looks like all the controllers are behind the dash, which is making physical access tough.

73,
Marc KG4UHO


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post #9 of 17 Old 01-09-2019, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whpmotorsports View Post
I'm a ham also. K6UDA. You may want to try a series of inline chokes on your feedline or if you can swing it, an MFJ 915. It's a little larger than something I'd normally use in a jeep, but it works fantastic and it has killed all the stray RF in my motorhome. The other option is to run at reduced power. I normally run my Yaesu FTM400 at mid power about 25 watts and have no issues. '09 JK Sport.

73,
Bob K6UDA
Good recommendation but form what it sounds like, this is a serious problem and more than a choke can probably correct.

I also run the FTM 400XDR and have both the power and ground leads wired directly to the battery. Zero noise.

With CB, I was getting noise, only when running the winch. Have not tried winching yet with the dual band radio on. I might slap a choke on if there is interference while winching.

OP: Is it safe to assume that your jeep is otherwise all stock with no modifications or accidents that might much with the factory wiring?

73,

W6PMB - Paul
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post #10 of 17 Old 01-09-2019, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by White13JKUR View Post
Good recommendation but form what it sounds like, this is a serious problem and more than a choke can probably correct.
I 100% agree. Something related to the vehicle's electronics broke about a week after the radio went in. A RF choke wont fix the problem, but once it is fixed, I would be willing to install a choke on the off chance that spurious emissions on the same frequency as the vehicle's BUS frequency caused the problem.

Maybe completely unrelated, but for $40, it can't hurt, once the repair is done.

Quote:
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OP: Is it safe to assume that your jeep is otherwise all stock with no modifications or accidents that might much with the factory wiring?

73,

W6PMB - Paul
Yes and no.

I have an aftermarket ECU (which seems completely unaffected by the radio). I needed that for a tune after some off-road performance mods went in. I Also wired a winch and all the radio equipment directly to a battery bus bar.

I definitively did not chop or mod any wiring or add any "in-line" or "plug n' play" electronics.

I am fairly confident that, if its not a stock component ground issue, I likely completely overloaded a circuit with RF energy. The first time it happened, I keyed up and the dash and wipers freaked out. I'm 100% able to duplicate the symptoms now that its broken.

Its getting pretty cold here and we are going to be getting some snow, so I may not work on this for a month or so. I would still like to collect ideas and find out where controllers/computers are. I can't find anything online. I think I am going to take the whole dash out.
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post #11 of 17 Old 01-11-2019, 01:19 AM
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KG4KPI... and with a disclaimer that I am out of practice and am in no way a master electronics ninja...


If you say "fire up the radio"... do you mean just turning it on, or actually transmitting? If you're just turning it on, I can't imagine there being enough emission from the main 12v power lead to cause enough interference to bring on this type of stuff.

As for CB's being on an amp, I have seen numerous instances where dirty boosted CB signals infect anything with copper wiring. television, cable, stereos, landline phones.... you name it. The thing is about a CAN BUS, is that some of the stuff doesn't operate on 12v signal. Some of it is low voltage triggers. With the radio removed, did you also remove the 12v power leads you ran to support the radio/amp? If not, why not try pulling those out. If you have, I can't even begin to think of what is ailing this.

Remember that the Jeep's accessory system is active for several seconds after the ignition is switched off and key is out. Just to eliminate "internal" possibilities, I might consider also disconnecting the battery and clearing out the TIPM "memory" to see if that has any effect. Hell, even trying that bit with your son's truck with the battery disconnected. If it still does it with the battery disconnected, the Jeep might not be the problem.


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post #12 of 17 Old 01-11-2019, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b1pig View Post
As for CB's being on an amp, I have seen numerous instances where dirty boosted CB signals infect anything with copper wiring. television, cable, stereos, landline phones.... you name it.
A buddy used to have a used 400W amp on his CB (decades ago - we're ~adults now )
EDIT: it might have been 140W - either way, it was fookin' ridiculous
. . . and he proved that the dude in a phone booth (remember those?) could hear him.
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Originally Posted by nasally voice over keyed-up mic in shitbox Power Wagon parked at 7-11

Please ... deposit fif...teen cents more for the next ...two... minutes . . .

(laugh, rinse, repeat)
Poor bastard shoved an extra ~40 cents into the pay phone before he went off and slammed the phone down on the hook

Ahh, the stupid shit we used to do for fun . . . ("allegedly" )
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post #13 of 17 Old 01-12-2019, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by b1pig View Post
KG4KPI... and with a disclaimer that I am out of practice and am in no way a master electronics ninja...


If you say "fire up the radio"... do you mean just turning it on, or actually transmitting? If you're just turning it on, I can't imagine there being enough emission from the main 12v power lead to cause enough interference to bring on this type of stuff.
Sorry... I guess that expression is a bit misleading. No issues while its on. The issue occurs when I transmit, modulated or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by b1pig View Post
As for CB's being on an amp, I have seen numerous instances where dirty boosted CB signals infect anything with copper wiring. television, cable, stereos, landline phones.... you name it. The thing is about a CAN BUS, is that some of the stuff doesn't operate on 12v signal. Some of it is low voltage triggers.
Just to clarify... this is not a CB. Its a commercially available 10m amateur radio. The amp is home-made. The CB comment is that my son's CB, installed in my son's truck, now causes the same symptoms in my Jeep if/when my son parks his truck next to my JK and talks on his radio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by b1pig View Post
With the radio removed, did you also remove the 12v power leads you ran to support the radio/amp? If not, why not try pulling those out. If you have, I can't even begin to think of what is ailing this.
100% of all the wiring has been removed. That was a good recommendation, though. Under the right conditions, having a long wire that is not terminated can act like an antenna and bleed RF into the vehicle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by b1pig View Post
Remember that the Jeep's accessory system is active for several seconds after the ignition is switched off and key is out. Just to eliminate "internal" possibilities, I might consider also disconnecting the battery and clearing out the TIPM "memory" to see if that has any effect. Hell, even trying that bit with your son's truck with the battery disconnected. If it still does it with the battery disconnected, the Jeep might not be the problem.
That's a good idea, too. I can try disconnecting the battery on the Jeep for a bit and see if things settle down. That may help reset the TPMS system too.

There is nothing to reset in my son's truck. It's a 1983, EMP proof, retired military CUCV. If he takes his CB out, there are no transistor elements in his truck.

Part of the reason I am considering a filter (at the input of the amp) once the JK is fixed, is because the amp is a homemade system. It has a couple of hand-wound inductive coupling coils that may not be perfect. It's a really simple amp. There are two Toshiba transistors in a push/pull configuration, with supporting circuitry, of course.

I just can't get past the fact that the Jeep is affected, but the same gear in my Challenger isn't causing any issues in the Challenger. That's why I think there are legit broken components in the JK.


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post #14 of 17 Old 01-15-2019, 06:28 PM
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Not exactly. The Battery for the Challenger is in the trunk. The battery for the JK is in the engine bay, right along with the majority of the electronics. Another point is the type of noise.

Typically, an electrical issue will relate to hum or whine. Actual RF issues are on the transmission side. To me, that points to the antenna cable, shielding, antenna grounding and the antenna itself. I had my CB and ham antenna on the tailgate. I had to run a short length of 10ga wire from the gate to the body to make a better ground. I was having fluctuations in my power while transmitting.

I moved my CB antenna up to the front fender. ham antenna is still on the gate. i've got a Ft8900, but all I run on it is 2m/440 anyway.

good luck with it. CB and 10m are so close they're basically the same.
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post #15 of 17 Old 01-15-2019, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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Not exactly. The Battery for the Challenger is in the trunk. The battery for the JK is in the engine bay, right along with the majority of the electronics. Another point is the type of noise.

Typically, an electrical issue will relate to hum or whine. Actual RF issues are on the transmission side. To me, that points to the antenna cable, shielding, antenna grounding and the antenna itself. I had my CB and ham antenna on the tailgate. I had to run a short length of 10ga wire from the gate to the body to make a better ground. I was having fluctuations in my power while transmitting.

I moved my CB antenna up to the front fender. ham antenna is still on the gate. i've got a Ft8900, but all I run on it is 2m/440 anyway.

good luck with it. CB and 10m are so close they're basically the same.
Great point about the ground on the tailgate! That is another item to add to the to-do list!

I am running a 112" whip. Putting the antenna somewhere else is going to be a challenge as far as cosmetics go. Once I get the Jeep squared up, I may ditch the amp and just stick to the stock power. On AM I'm talking 16+ miles on 2.5 watts of reliable direct comms and as I tune the power up, it just goes up from there.

This may be a sign to switch back to 2 meter or 440 for local comms. I've been eyeballing a new ICOM and the HRO is only a few miles from my house. LOL


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post #16 of 17 Old 01-25-2019, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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For those interested, I resolved the issue. It turns out that I had 2 distinctly different problems that presents as a singular issue.

All of the audio feedback was being caused by an RF leak in my antenna transmission line. I replaced the cable and put chokes on all of the speakers... problem solved.

The issue with the dash cluster and some electronic circuits rebooting had to do with the antenna being to close to the back window. It is less than 2 inches away from the glass. The rear window wiper and the rear window defroster were acting like antennas. Every time I keyed up the radio, the RF would dump straight into the vehicle's computer system.

The solution for that is, I simply unplugged the rear window harness connector and tuck the pigtail below the tub... problem solved. When we get bad weather (like snow) and I need the wiper and defroster, I just wont use the amp and plug the harness back in. Also, in the warmer months, this won't be a concern because the soft top will be back on it.

I do appreciate the recommendations and efforts to help. Much appreciated everyone.
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post #17 of 17 Old 01-28-2019, 05:44 PM
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Very happy to hear you found it.

That is one interesting version though. I wonder what the FT100 I used to have would have done in my JK. Wish I'd kept that old radio. I liked it.
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