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Partial discharge (PD) monitoring has been the subject of significant research in recent years, which has given rise to a range of well-established PD detection and measurement techniques, such as acoustic and RF, on which condition monitoring systems for highvoltage equipment have been based. This paper presents a novel approach to partial discharge monitoring by using a low-cost, low-power RF detector. The detector employs a frequency-based technique that can distinguish between multiple partial discharge events and other impulsive noise sources within a substation, tracking defect severity over time and providing information pertaining to plant health. The detector is designed to operate as part of a wireless condition monitoring network, removing the need for additional wiring to be installed into substations whilst still gaining the benefits of the RF technique. This novel approach to PD detection not only provides a low-cost solution to on-line partial discharge monitoring, but also presents a means to deploy wide-scale RF monitoring without the associated costs of wide-band monitoring systems.