Usually I hardly even turn on the radio in the summer. The static is just too much to handle. I live on the east coast of Florida and if there isn't a thunder storm over head there is one within 100 miles of the shore. Since I've gotten the new Flex radios however I find myself turning on the radio even now in the dog days.
This morning I was on 40M listening to a ZL1. He was working mostly US and Canada. He was perfectly Q5 and about s-4 to s-6. I can't remember a time when signals out of the pacific were this copyable this last in the season. I don't know whether to ascribe the conditions to the state of the sun, but my inclination is to ascribe it to the Flex system. The way the AGC works I think is the key. With my legacy radios the AGC was always engaged due to the static. With all my other radios the static owned the AGC even if I was running ultra super short delay. Because it was hardware involved and it affected multi stages you could never get the attack to not attack, so you were never operating at a DX quality gian setting. With the Flex on the other hand you always operate at best gain. In fact with the flex I don't use the short decay at all. I set it for the long decay and set the ambient band noise to "tollerable". With those settings I hear DX that in years past would have been simply "I know someone is under there somewhere but I can't tell who"! With the radio set to "tolerable" I can sit and listen for hours without the fatigue of the static. This means it has extended my radio enjoyment by months. This turns out to be no joke. I was listening to some of my 75M buddies the other night and all they could do was complain about how bad the static was. At my QTH the static was not bad at all. You could write that off to my locatoin except at least for some of the guys I am at most 150 miles.
This morning I was using the F3K and my 45ft 3 radial vertical. I'm still playing around with that antenna. Its remarkable how well it works. I'm sure I will become bored with it soon enough but in the mean time TMF!! (too much fun)
If you're interested in writing something interesting for this blog regarding your SDR experience let me know. I would like to include things like how your SDR contest station is set up, or your VHF station that uses SDR as the system center, feats of weak signal work or how well the SDR works in various challenging situations. If you are a foreign ham and would like to comment on the growth of SDR in your particular part of the world. Bring it on!
I reserve the right to publish or not, but I'm pretty open to documenting a wide variety of honest experiences from users, for readers to explore. The understanding of SDR in our hobby is so nascent, that I want the reader to be able to see the value of SDR through the eyes of YOUR experience and enthusiasm.