#10: The Phantom Speakers

The Question

Why is it my computer speakers pick up and play a Japanese (or perhps Chinese, I speak neither) radio station when nothing else is coming out of them? This happens even when my computer is off!

Evie can vouch for this, and if she says she can’t I’m not going to let her sleep till she vouches!

Comment by Micah — 9/30/2004 @ 8:02 pm

The Answer

Chalk it up to bad wiring. Or funky speakers. Or snarled cables.

Interestingly enough, there are a number of circumstances that can lead to computer speakers broadcasting radio frequencies. Often, if the power outlet that the speakers are plugged in to does not have a good ground, the radio frequencies can be transmitted along the power cord and the speaker is able to translate them into sound. Weird, yes. Also, if the speakers themselves aren’t grounded successfully, this can occur. Finally, if your cables behind your computer are coiled or snarled in just the right way, sometimes they can act as antennae. Of course, what exactly you are picking up is an interesting question. Your neighbors might be agents from overseas. No, really.

Try wrapping all the cables to and from the speakers in foil. If that doesn’t do the trick, try getting some ferrite rings to put around the wires. Or get new speakers.

Now Evie can sleep. I hope.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *