I have recently sent the following email to the Editor of the VHF Column in Radcom. Has anyone else noticed this when out on hills?
I have recently been getting back on 2m SSB. An early task was to construct a halo antenna for the car. This works well but I have been surprised at just how much noise one can hear driving round town. Although the level was worse than I would have expected, I was not surprised to hear some noise. What has really surprised me though is the level of noise I hear when out portable on hilltops.
A while ago I was on Shining Tor (IO83WG) and noticed that there was a pronounced peak in noise when I beamed towards Stockport/Manchester (over 14km away). Last night I was on a hill called Gun (IO83XD) and could not fail to notice the electrical noise when beaming towards Leek (again some kilometres away). This was not using some huge array either, in each case the antenna system was modest, as was the equipment.
Both these hills are some distance from habitation and I would have expected them to be “quiet”. It seems to me that weak signal DX is simply not possible anymore for the urban dweller and that even rurally based stations may be suffering (in some directions at least). This man made noise is surely the limiting factor on receive performance for most radio amateurs these days on 2m.