RF in the walls?

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RF in the walls?

Hi everyone!

Recently I have discovered that I am sensitive to EMF radiation, so I ordered the TF2 meter, and it has helped me tremendously. However, there is something I have just realized that confuses me. I was hoping you could help me figure it out.

I live in an apartment, top (5th) floor. Most problematic for me was the Electric field from the wall behind where I sit while I work. Therefore, I covered it entirely with aluminum foil as a proof of concept to see what will happen until I decide to go with the shielding paint. The effect on the electric field was huge - I got it down from at least 1000 V/m to around 30 with TF2 pressed directly on the wall.

However, the field RF value is still at least over 1.500 mW/m2 when I press TF2 directly on the surface while holding it, which I believe is even more than it was before I applied the aluminum foil to that wall. Moving the TF2 away from the surface to about 3 cm distance drops the value to around 0.900 mW/m2.

What is more strange is that the other (unshielded) side of that wall only shows readings of field 0.350 mW/m2 when pressed directly against the surface, and around 0.250 mW/m2 with 3 cm distance.

Here are some key points:
- The wall is grounded to a radiator pipe.
- The WiFi is turned off.
- There are antennas on the top of the building, but placing TF2 close to a ceiling doesn't show any extreme - values (they are around 0.200 mW/m2).
- No microwave.
- The cellphone was outside of the room.
- No smart-meters.
- This is the only wall that is currently shielded in the apartment. The other side of the wall is not.

I also did a little experiment on the building I live in. I went downstairs from the top floor and measured the RF while leaning TF2 against the walls, one floor at a time. The levels were progressively getting lower and lower, and when I reached the basement, it was flat zero.

My experience is shallow in this area, but my best guess is that the walls are conducting the RF field. I don't even know if that is possible, though. But why would the shielded wall produce the highest RF reading?

What do you think? Do you believe that shielding the entire room would drop those levels? Right now, I am worried that if I shielded the other walls as well that it would only boost the RF even more, and that wouldn't be very good. Then on the other hand, maybe shielding all the walls would exactly be the solution. I don't know.

One more thing!

Currently, I have a steel sit-stand desk in that room that I got from Ikea and even though it has a particleboard top, placing a TF2 on top of it produced HUGE field values of up to 3.000 mW/m2! The most active hotspots are where the steel touches the board. Could it be that the desk is acting as an antenna? Could it also be why the aluminum on the wall is producing such high readings?

I am looking forward to your thoughts!
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Re: RF in the walls?

I think the more curious question is what is creating this 1000 V/m electric field? This is an enormous field in my opinion. On my old Trifield meter it means the needle is basically pegged at max in the electric field setting.

I only see such fields on my meter if I place it directly on top of an AC line, charger, lamp, motor or similar.
If this field was present on the full wall, and not just on a specific spot, then it is even more strange.

I think you cannot analyze this further without figuring out what is producing this field. Is there something on the other side of the wall? Something IN the wall?

Btw. the specifications for the TF2 says the RF range is 20 MHz - 6 GHz. I don't have experience with this meter, but that range includes a lot of stuff, like FM transmissions. It's therefore not that easy to say what it is picking up.

You may want to get an additional meter with audio output, to narrow down the source. I would start with just a simple analog AM radio. An AM radio is an excellent way to figure our sources for near-field electric and magnetic fields. Just listen to what it sounds like, and maybe you can get a clue where it is coming from. I use a  < $10 Chinese radio from eBay. Choose a silent AM frequency, and then wave the radio in front of troublesome spots and listen to what you hear.

For RF detection something like the Esmog Spion, Acousticom, or the Cornet with audio (I have the Cornet ED85EX) could also help you. The Cornet is for 1 MHz to 8 GHz, but the supplied antenna makes it tuned to microwaves, and the audio really helps to understand what sort of signal it is picking up. The Esmog Spion is on my wish list, an all-round audio analyzer, but unfortunately it is quite expensive.
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Re: RF in the walls?

In reply to this post by CaptainProton
Here are some ideas about your observations.  I am not an expert, rather a student still learning, so if I have said something incorrect, I apologize in advance for misinformation.

When you say that the Electric field was the more problematic for you, does this mean that it registered very high, while other numbers (Magnetic) seemed to be OK  OR did you mean that this is the kind of EMF that was actually bothering you the most?

First thing about most of the RF meters (like TF2) is that you cannot be so close to a source when you perform a measure.  Those meters are meant to be used in the 'FAR FIELD', which for microwaves of about 4-8 inch wavelength is going to be something like 1-2ft.  Closer than that and you will get crazy numbers.   Also, the antenna in the TF2 is unidrectional (1 axis), so in order to get a proper measurement you will need to carefully aim it in each of the XYZ directions and figure a hypotenuse.  Normally these one-axis meters are for LOCATING sources rather than QUANTIFYING exposure.

Keep in mind that aluminum foil will reflect any RF already in the room back into the room.  Even if you did not bring any RF into the room, some might have come in from exterior or party wall on opposite side of the room.  I am not sure if when a signal bounces (after hitting shield) it is now part of the near field again so the numbers might be crazy.  Look around for GeoVital (the maker of the YShield paints) videos about why you need to shield all sides of the room or you might end up making the problem worse for yourself.

You may think you have turned off all RF devices, but they are sneaky.  Many modern laser printers have WIFI on them.  Did you turn off the bluetooth on all devices (phone, computers), got rid of Alexa, had no bluetooth-enabled hearing aids.  Many computers will attempt to connect to WIFI even when powered off, unless you specifically make a setting change.  Many phones in airplane mode might still allow near-field communication.  A cell phone out of the room, especially if it is moved more toward the interior of the house (away from windows) will actually be the first culprit suspected since it will use more power to try to communicate.  Or your neighbors' WIFI pollution coming into you living space.

Using the TF2 are you measuring 'AVERAGE' or 'PEAK'.  Measuring 'AVERAGE' is not helpful for EHS people.  You'll want to be measuring PEAK, because it is the impulsive peaks (that do not show up well in the average since they are so short) that do the damage.  The large number in center is the AvERAGE (not what you want); the smaller number in upper left is the PEAK (which is what you want to be looking at).  The .200 mW/m^2 value, if PEAK, is considered "HIGH", but if that value was AVERAGE, then I think it would be considered "EXTREME" exposure, according to international Building Biology exposure standards.

I hope your various solutions are working out for you.  We have a zero tolerance WIFI/Cellphone policy here at home and we can make this work, but it takes a lot of effort to get it established, though less effort to maintain it.