I'm on vacation this week so I get to actually listen until the grey line passes over my head. Usually I'm OTD (out the door) before that happens. The low bands have not been in the best of shape, at least at my QTH. Usually by now the static has pretty much subsided and my band noise settles down to -124 dBm or so on 40M and -118 dBm or so on 80M. Last night listening to FT5GA on 80 my band noise was hovering around -95dBm making copy miserable. I could hear him and I could see him on skimmer but it was so iffy that I decided it wasn't worth adding to the QRM to make an ESP contact.
This morning I was up on 40 and my band noise had settled down into the -121dBm range but signals were very weak. JA1NUT a perennial presence on 40 was Q5 but I had to add filtering to copy him.
I saw ZL7/N7OU on Chatham Is. spotted on the cluster on 80M and tuned down there to have a listen. Nothing. I listened for a good hour and heard him start to build I finally worked him about 15 minutes after sunrise and he continued to build for half an hour after that. My band noise was -110dBm plus static on 80 and N7OU was -108dBm Not many were hearing him because there was no pileup at all in fact I spent most of the time listening to him call CQ and making occasional single contacts as the grey line flew west.
I switched down to 160 to hear VK3ZL and the band noise on 160 was -117dBm and he was a good 6dB out of the noise and easy copy. 9M2AX just came up on the cluster, but its a little before 8 am here and that one is a pipe dream, and ZL7/N7OU has finally succumbed to the sun, I can just barely hear coherence when my band noise momentarily drops below -115dBm.
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.