Posts Tagged ‘High Voltage’


I was recording at Breiðamerkurjökull when the weather forecast suddenly changed. It was nothing special, except that I had to row a kayak with another one in tow with a lot of recording equipment about 8 km on Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon before the weather would hit the area.
It fit, as soon as I got to land on the other side of the lagoon at midnight the fool weather arrived, so I just managed to pack all the equipment in the car and on the trailer before everything got wet. It was around two in the morning when I was able to leave. But I didn’t go far. I decided to sleep in the car near the high voltage power line (Byggðalína) on Breiðamerkursandi, south of highway no.1.
The next day it was dry, but still very windy. In fact, I could barely see Öræfjajökull glacier through a sandstorm. I decided not to be on the road with the trailer and the kayaks, but to wait until later in the day when it would calm down.
I could not sit idly by, but recorded in several places close to me. Including the high voltage line with all available equipment I had. With Omni & Cardioid microphones as well as Geophone and hydrophone which I use as a contact mic.
The result was quite amusing. By the time this happened, the strongest wind had subsided. But that moment a moisture was in the air, which caused a sizzle noise from the power line, which added a different sound and gave the recording a clearer picture of the recording location.
The recording below starts with the audible sound (microphone). Then slowly the contact mics are added . In the end and microphones faded out and you will only hear the sound from the contact mics (geophone and the hydrophone)
Because the microphone are located close to the ground in grass under the electricity pylons you will hear lot of „gray noise“ when the wind wipe the grass.
If you keep your attention Whimbrel are also audible.
So I explain the name of this blog, „Byggðalína“ is a name of high-voltage line that connects all the main settlements around Iceland. „Breiðamerkursandur“ is a name of a broad sandy wasteland south of Jökulsárlón Glacier lagoon.

  (mp3 265kps / 46Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices MixPre6
Mics: MKH8020/8040 & LOM geophone & Aquarian H2a
Pix: Conon EOS-R

Weather: Gust up to 20m/s. Clear sky, ca. 14C°
Location: 64.028360, -16.265129

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Iceland’s electricity is produced almost entirely from renewable energy sources: hydroelectric (70%) and geothermal (30%). Less than 0.2% of electricity generated came from fossil fuels (in this case, fuel oil). In 2012 there was no wind power installed in Iceland. Electricity production increased by 24 MWh/person from 2005 to 2008, an increase of 83%.
According to Statistics Iceland the total electricity consumption was 7,958 GWh in 2002, 11,480 GWh in 2007, and 17,068 GWh in 2012. The aluminum industry in Iceland used 71% of produced electricity in 2011.
The electricity supply and consumption were equal in 2008: 53.1 MWh per inhabitant when the European union (EU15) average was 7.4 MWh. Iceland’s consumption of electricity was seven times higher than EU 15 average in 2008. The domestic electricity supply promotes use of electricity.
The Icelandic electricity market is geographically isolated. The market was closed for competition prior to 1 July 2003. Almost all electricity was supplied by Landsvirkjun and sold through regional distribution companies. Landsvirkjun had a monopoly position on investment in generation. Full market opening began in 2006 e.g. with the opportunity to switch supplier. Contracts for large scale energy users were in general long term, up to 30 years with options for extension.
Landsvirkjun, the largest electricity producer, had 76% annual production in 2007.The majority of the electricity is used in industry, mainly aluminium smelters and producers of ferroalloy. Landsvirkjun does not participate directly in the retail market for households and smaller businesses. In the retail market the main companies are RARIK, Orkuveita Reykjavíkur and Hitaveita Suðurnesja.The last two have also entered into the market for energy intensive users. The households heated with electricity, not many, receive subsidies to make their heating costs comparable to hot water heating. (Wikipedia) .
The following recording was recorded at Skóey island in Hornarfjörður fjord under a powerline “Byggðalína”. It is a 132kV powerline which connects all the regional and local electrical grids together and stabilizes the whole electrical grid in Iceland. The structure is in most parts over thirty years old and for the last several years it has been quite overloaded.
The recording was in 24bit/48Khz. Behind the aggressive electrical sound is a typical calm, quiet wetland soundscape with rumbling background noise from the ocean shore not far away and traffic.
When the recording is inspected in specrogram it shows the sparks fill the whole frequency spectrum of noise, or up to 24Khz (see picture). It would have been interesting to record this sparking sound at 192kHz because the whole microphone frequency range is up to 50Khz. That is not all, because the air is massively loaded with EMF/radiowaves, from 50Hz up to several hundred kHz. The strong radio signals travel long distances and make it almost impossible to record clean spaceweather signals with VLF receiver without human electrical noise pollution.

(mp3 256kbps / 55Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser MKH8020/8040 (Parallel AB40)
Pix: Canon Eos M

Location: 64.311677, -15.322010
Weather: Calm, Cloudy, drizzle rain. Temp: ca. 9°C

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