I know many people have horribly noisy RF environments thanks to all the naff consumer electronics we stuff our houses with nowadays. Some people have to suffer semi-permanent S9 noise levels. Out on the hills, the difference is quite stunning. Yesterday on Uamh Bheag (pronounce sort of like “hoover beg”) local propagation on 60m was very, very strong and the summit is nice and remote which means the noise level was very, very low.
GB3WES was the strongest I’ve ever heard it, almost painfully loud. Louder than GB3ORK by a big margin. What amazed me was this was the first time I ever heard all the power level steps on the beacon transmission. 10W to (by my reckoning) 158uW in 9 steps and every single one was distinct in the FT-817’s standard SSB B/W. Even at that tiny output level, the signal was quite easy to copy above the wind noise etc. on the summit. At home I often hear GB3ORK or GB3RAL nearly as strong, GB3WES being the nearest is noticably weaker. The best I’ve heard at home is 5 steps and that’s when the S6 noise monster has gone away.
Propagation was different though, the normal distant powerhouses like Don G0RQL were 3 to 4 S-points down. Conditions changed remarkably through my activation with propagation being better overall after 13.15. In an S2S with INKy he said conditions on 40m were good for inter-G but following him to 7.128 revealed a few DL’s and no G stations heard.
Still I shall remember hearing all the steps for a long time, 5.2885MHz being very clean and quite. The same can’t be said for 5.3985MHz which suffered badly from adjacent channel clag from some stations the Sunday news net.