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We put together this brief micro-PSA about the hazards that common equipment found in any stage/prop shop, industrial facility, load-in scenario, or even on Main Street, USA (or any other country with an electrical grid) may pose to the clarity of your wireless microphone signal.
Often, when an end-user experiences interference on wireless microphones, they look for the source of the problem in the most logical place: within the equipment itself. Maybe, the frequencies aren’t coordinated correctly, they might ask. Maybe an antenna is unplugged, or another mic user has stolen into the facility and is stepping on the same frequency. But all too often the source of interference may not be immediately apparent, or even in the same building.
The purpose of this video is to demonstrate that interference to wireless audio systems is not limited to system malfunctions or other, competing wireless audio gear. Harmful energy can and does arise from any man-made device that uses electricity. And even, as we discussed in a post a few years ago, from mother nature herself.
Here we demonstrate the terror an arc-welder can wreak on the same spectrum used by wireless communication equipment. An arc-welder stores high voltage charges and passes them through an electrode tip which, functions both as an electrode and a combined flux/base metal wire which is continuously extruded. As electric current passes through the electrode tip, the electrons arc (or “spark”) between the tip and the surface metal under weld, which is connected to a ground, simultaneously emitting a miniature, white hot bolt of lightning and melting the flux + wire into a puddle of molten metal.
Besides arc-welders being dangerous and therefore cool, the welder at our laboratory also teaches a valuable lesson: interference is everywhere!