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Radio Interference Irks Apley Court Residents

Signals from Campus Station WHRB Picked up by Telephones, Stereos, TVs

By Susan A. Chen

Eric B. Lundequist '97 keeps his stereo on a couch in front of his fireplace.

The couch, Lundequist says, is where his stereo picks up the least amount of interference from the Harvard WHRB transmitter located behind Apley Court.

Lundequist and other Apley Court residents say they often hear music from the transmitter on their answering machines, telephones and other electrical appliances.

"Whenever you want to watch TV, you end up getting weird music in the background," said Apley resident S. Greg Prakalapakorn '97.

"At night, if I don't shut off every electrical device, I hear it while I'm trying to sleep," Lundequist said.

The constant background music is irritating, many Apley Court residents say.

"It bothers me quite a lot, simply because it interferes with the telephone and the answering machine and the stereo, and those are things you use every day," said Vanessa L. Ryan '97.

And transmissions from WHRB, residents say, have led to some ridiculous situations.

"One time the radio was on, and we heard the phone ring inside the radio. We picked up the phone, and it was an actual phone call," Chyung said.

Chyung said he has to speak with his mouth close to the phone, otherwise he hears "a lot of music."

"When I was talking to a TF once, he told me, "Turn down your music,"' said Rami Thaet '97. I told him, 'I don't have any music on."'

WHRB officials say the interference is unavoidable, according to station engineer Jeremy A. Rassen '95.

Because of the difficulties students experience with the transmitter, Rassen said, WHRB plans to move it downtown before the end of this summer.

A major problem with relocating the transmitter, however, is the expense. Moving it will cost approximately $250,000, Rassen said.

"We've been doing fundraising, including on-the-air campaigns," Rassen said.

But until the transmitter is moved, Apley Court residents will have to continue tolerating the music.

Although they say the noise is troublesome, students interviewed say they have not called WHRB to complain.

"I've gotten more used to it. It was more annoying at the beginning of the year," Lundequist said. "I've kind of accepted it as the bad point in a nice room."

"I'm not sure it would be of avail to talk to the WHRB people," said Vanessa L. Ryan '97.

"It doesn't bother me enough to call," Thaet said. "I don't even have time to call my own parents."

Rassen, however, encourages students to contact WHRB with any problems. Callers will receive advice on how to handle disturbances.

"Power cords lying around suck up radio waves," Rassen said. "[People should] keep cords short."

Power cords can also be covered in tin foil and grounded to a metal object.

Students willing to spend money to ridthemselves of the music can buy ferrite cores,iron devices which absorb radio waves, at anyRadio Shack, according to Rassen. Wrapping powercords around these cores will reduce interferencefrom the transmitter.

Moving electrical devices around can also solvea lot of problems, Rassen said

Students willing to spend money to ridthemselves of the music can buy ferrite cores,iron devices which absorb radio waves, at anyRadio Shack, according to Rassen. Wrapping powercords around these cores will reduce interferencefrom the transmitter.

Moving electrical devices around can also solvea lot of problems, Rassen said

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