Saturday, January 6, 2018

Tools for Analysis - one person's experience

A person posted on Home Improvement Stack Exchange the steps they took to identify a hum that was bothering them in their home.  There are some good takeaways for people looking to do something similar at their places.
----- from -----
I am experiencing noise and vibration in my home.
I purchased a seismometer (infiltec) that shows there is vibration (below 20 hz). The software allows fast fourier transform giving frequency signature. This tool has limitations in that it is not calibrated and it only detects vibration below 20hz. We humans can feel vibration up to 80 hz ... I haven't identified any low cost tools with which to do that. The Instantel blastmate would do it but it costs on the order of $10k as near as I can determine.
I purchased an infrasonic monitor (infiltec) that measures infrasonic (below 25 hz) noise. The same software is used as with the seismometer.
I purchased a (Tascam) recorder. It has microphones that record noise with a flat response to 20 hz. It also captures noise at frequencies below 20 hz but I don't know where it cuts off.
I purchased (Virtins) software pro version ... it includes a Spectrum Analyzer and an Oscilloscope with bandpass function, all of it on your computer. The software can be used to analyze the WAV file recorded on the recorder.
I purchased two (Behringer) measurement microphones. I mounted the microphones on construction tripods (high enough to avoid ground plane effects) and set them on a 5 meter baseline in my backyard. I connected the microphones to the recorder. I pointed the microphones at a suspected source and made a recording when the vibration was present. 
I was able to spectrum analyze the recording to find the peak frequency. I used a bandpass filter function to isolate the peak frequency. I was able to use the oscilloscope to measure the time difference where the sine wave crossed the axis for each microphone. I was able to determine a direction using the time difference. A second recording at a different location allowed me to triangulate on the source.
The source is machinery at a house being used as a greenhouse to grow marijuana. Unfortunately its licensed under Health Canada MMAR regulations. 
MMAR rules were revoked in March 2014. Unfortunately the MMAR crowd appealed in court and won an injunction until the case is decided. The judge heard final arguements 1 May 2015 and reserved his decision. Thats now 10 months ago ...
Its a real problem because the municipality I live in won't enforce its bylaws. There is no point in going to court ... because the MMAR case judge could make a decision tomorrow.
We now have a government that wants to legalize marijuana and a crowd of people that want to grow their own ...
But there you go ... the vibration is caused by infrasonic and low frequency noise ... noise you likely can't hear. In my case its caused by machinery at a distance over 30 meters away. It could be a faulty bearing. It could be the house acts as a giant speaker due to vibration in the grow op. It could be too much air being forced out of too small openings. etc.
I'd bet similar results would be found for people complaining of smart meters ... where in fact its more likely someones heat pump.
Scotland Government has a good report on Low Frequency Noise. It was produced by Casella 2001 for Department of Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
Cost of tools ROM $2000 CAD.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Do you hear what I hear? The Hum, the Hum . . .

Edmonton and area was anything but quiet according to reports from those who notice the Hum.  The source, or sources, of the Hum causing a low-frequency sound and vibration seemed to have been turned up for the Christmas break.  People noticed the Hum being louder than it had been previously, and other people reported feeling a more intense, non-stop vibration accompanying the Hum.

Perhaps co-incidentally, Epcor and Telus have been doing line upgrading in some of the Edmonton neighbourhoods where this increase in Hum activity has been noticed.

We would like to hear from any Edmontonians - and Albertans - who noticed the Hum being more noticeable these past few weeks.  Please let us know where you are located, and what you're hearing.

Thank you and all the best for a Happy New Year.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Edmonton's Hum Very Loud Recently

Observations made in Edmonton these last two weeks are demonstrating that the Hum is becoming louder, at least in the neighbourhoods of Kilkenny and Capilano   Additionally, the Hum is noticed outside at times.  The droning, vibrating, low frequency of the Hum's increasing intensity appears to correspond to the weather becoming cooler. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Updates October 2017

We are slowly getting back to posting on the blog.

Although we haven't been active here, we have been traveling in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, listening.  A low frequency hum with similar characteristics is heard at many points throughout Alberta, and in some locations elsewhere in the other two provinces.

We are very appreciative of the people who are contacting us and letting us know where they are hearing a hum and are describing it.  Please continue to do so!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Engage with Utility Companies

The Noise Investigation Team has noticed a slight increase in the number of people reporting that they are being bothered by a hum.  People from Edmonton and Calgary have said that the hum has been a bit louder/intense/more noticeable from mid-December to now.  Thank you for being in touch with us and letting us know what you are noticing.

A gentle reminder to people noticing a hum for the first time: be sure to contact your utility companies as well as reporting your situation to your City's 3-1-1 (or comparable) line.  There have been a few instances where a hum has been resolved by a utility company.  It's an important step in trying to secure the peace and quiet so many people want in their homes.

If you have had a hum issue resolved by a utility company, we would like to hear from you.  Please let us know the details as to what the hum sounded like, whereabouts it was noticed, which utility company attended to the hum and the steps taken to resolve the hum.  We look forward to hearing your success stories!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Hum Update November 2015

We continue to hear from people in Calgary and Edmonton who are noticing a hum.  Frequently, similar words and phrases are used to describe that they are hearing:

  • the hum sounds like an engine idling in the distance
  • the hum has also been described as sounding like a train locomotive idling
  • there seems to be pressure in my ear (or ears) as well as there being a hum sound present
  • the hum appears to be heard wherever there is an electrical grid, even in remote areas
  • the hum is louder at night than in the daytime
  • when the hum is heard inside, it seldom can be heard outside
  • the hum seems to have started when smart meters were activated
  • the hum is a "low" sound (often around 40 hertz)
  • some people can hear the hum while others cannot
  • there are some people who can feel a vibration associated with the hum as well as hearing it, while some others notice a vibration while not hearing a hum-
  • sometimes there is a "thrumming" sound accompanying the hum, and/or the hum sometimes sounds like it is "wavering"

We've determined that the hum is a real phenomenon and is one that can be recorded.  The working hypothesis is that the hum is man-made, or "mechanical" in nature.  As far as we know, low frequency hums around 40 hertz do not naturally occur in nature.

The challenge has been determining the source, or sources, of the hum.  That has been the puzzle that has been difficult to crack.  We welcome continuing to hear from people who have leads and ideas in this regard.  We request that these are based in scientific possibility and are grounded with facts in some way.

Thank you to all that have been in touch with us.  Please continue to do so.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Mobile Phone App for Hum Search

Dr. Mike Smith and Adrien Gaspard of the University of Calgary began work on a mobile phone app intended to help identify and locate the Mysterious Ranchlands Hum.  Orchisama Das of Jadavpur University, India has been extending work on the app.  Their work has recently received considerable media attention.  The links to the various articles and broadcasts are included below:

Calgary Herald (July 27, 2015): Researchers develop app to record Ranchlands hum

CTV Calgary Evening News (July 28, 2015): Researchers hope to get a handle on hum in northwest neighbourhood

CBC Calgary News at 11 (July 28, 2015): Mobile Phone App to Assist in Solving Ranchlands' Hum Noise Nuisance (at approximately 8:25)

CBC Calgary Eyeopener (July 29, 2015): Ranchlands hum app

CHQR News Talk 770 (July 29, 2015): follow this link, select Audio Date = July 29, select Audio Time = 4 pm, skip to approximately 48 minutes 

Schulich School of Engineering (July 30, 2015): on Facebook, linking to Calgary Herald articles and inviting comments 

The University of Calgary has set up a web page to assist with Dr. Smith and Orchisama's work:
This is intended to be a useful resource for the hum investigation.