Radio enthusiasts worry about interference from LED streetlights

 LED streetlight
LED streetlight (WTVG)
Published: Feb. 13, 2020 at 3:40 PM EST
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As the City of Toledo replaces its street lights with LEDs, some are wondering if the sound emitted from the devices will interfere with radio communications.

"The Universe is full of noise," Mike Kehr, an instructor for amateur radio licensing, said. "When you turn the radio on and hear that it has sound and there's no signal there, that's the noise of the universe."

The noise that the amateur radio community is concerned about is LED lights.

"The prices have come down enough that we can use them in applications like lighting our parking lots and our streets," says Kehr.

However, Kehr says the lights make a lot of electrical radio noise and, "That noise can rise to the level of actual interference."

So 13abc asked the city about the quality of the LED lights that are being installed.

"These are the lights that Maumee is using right now, I believe Detroit as well," says Abby Arnold, the Deputy Chief of Staff for the City of Toledo. "These are General Electric lights. They are all well tested so they meet all the clearances. They're safe lights going in."

13abc also asked Toledo Edison about the LED lights that are being installed. A spokesman tells us they have had no problems reported so far in dozens of other cities where the same types of LED lights line the streets.