What Are Those Strange Sounds, Anyway?

On the HamRadioHelpGroup, a new ham asked:

I was wondering if there are any .wav files out there that can help one identify different kinds of noise and interference. I get all kinds of crazy sounds of my radio. Some sound like they may be data, others sound like someone is broadcasting a truck engine. Any ideas?

Of course, answers were quickly proferred:

I believe I’ve written before about the Digital Modes Sample page, but the RFI Noise Identification page was a new one for me. The page has 20 or more .mp3 files of various types of noise in the following categories:

  • Household appliances and electrical equipment
  • Computers and related equipment
  • Transmitters and intentional RF emitters
  • Electric Utilities , BPL and industrial equipment
  • Miscellaneous Equipment

There are also a bunch of unidentified noises. Have a go and see if you can id them.


  1. Here’s yet another page to help one identify the sounds of digital modes: British Amateur Radio Teledata Group Sound Library (http://www.bartg.org.uk/Sound%20Files/soundlibrary.htm). I like this one because it focuses solely on amateur radio.

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