LED Lights In The Shack | Amateur HAM Radio

LED Lights In The Shack Utilitech Pro Soft White LED Bulb

A recent posting by Phil, KO6BB, to Yahoo Group's ndblist, described his recent search for some LED lamps to replace the CFL's in his shack / radio workbench area. If you have been wondering how much RFI that LED lamps might be producing, you may find Phil's findings of some value.

I had a 60W equivalent CFL in the floor lamp directly over my operating position. I'd tried a 100W equiv one but it was extremely noisy! Also a couple CFLs in the ceiling lamp.

This is a floor lamp with a crookneck at the top and a triangular metal shade reminiscent of the old style desk lamps, bulb is horiz to the floor. I've used it for years and like it because it places the light directly over the operating position work area (keyboard, radios etc). The actual bulb was about 4.5 inches from the front of the Softrock SDR receiver (in a plastic case), with the base of the lamp (where the electronics are) about 7.5 inches (somebody asked about the distances).

This coupled a LOT of RFI directly into the SDR, visible on the waterfall. For best results when recording and having the light on I'd slip a 60W incandescent lamp in place of the CFL. The lamp is also about 16 inches above the operating table, and when listening to ANY portable radio on the table, if it was in the AM or Longwave band and using the built in loopstick antenna, got a LOT of RFI from the lamp (unless the lamp was off

So today I went down to Lowes (we have a Costco, but I don't have a card) and looked at their LED lamp offerings. As I expected they had a large variety of them, from a low cost 3 pack for ~$9.00 for 60W units to about $18.00 or so each (Sylvania). From what I read here I wanted to avoid the REALLY cheap ones as some reported them to be 'noisy'. Also, I wanted to put a 75W equivalent unit in the one over the operating position, and a pair of 100W equivalent units in the ceiling lamp. All three had CFLs, and if I walked around the radio room with a portable radio and the ceiling lamp on I could hear it's 'hash' anywhere in the room. . .

The ones I settled on were a brand I'd never heard of, "UtiliTech Pro" soft white, 75W for the bench and 2 100W ones for the ceiling. They were what I'd call "mid-priced", $8.98 for the 75W and $9.98 for the 100W ones.


75 W one draws 12W and gives 1100 Lumens. 100W one draws 16.5W and gives 1600 Lumens (the pair in the ceiling should then be 3200 Lumens if I calculated right).

How low is the RFI to my Radios?

75W one over the bench: NO trace from the lamp electronics visible in the SDR waterfall at all. With a portable radio on the bench-top, NO audible RFI. Put a portable radio up to the "bulb" part (light area) and with no station tuned in can't hear ANY RFI. Move the portable to the base area of the lamps there is SOME RFI, but I won't be putting the radio that close to the lamp, move it a couple inches away and the noise disappears.

100W ones in the ceiling lamp, NO audible RFI in the portable when walking around the room, RFI just barely perceptible right next to the light wall switch that turns the lamp on, again, audible IF I put the radio right up to the base of the lamps, not a likely real-world scenario!


Based on the sample of three that I bought and the almost non-existent RFI from them I'd consider the UtiliTech Pro lamps to be a good product and suitable for use in the radio room. I consider them good value for the ~$30.00 I spent for three."

I don't see these being sold here in Canada but I may be mistaken. If you have tested anything similar (other brands / models), please let me know and I will add it to Phil's helpful information.

http://ve7sl. blogspot. ca/2016/01/led-lights-in-shack. html
KO6BB's website can be found here, along with some of his homebrew equipment.

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