Last weekend I went on a two-night backpacking trip in the Sipsey Wilderness Area with ten scouts and a couple of other adults. We had a great time, with two nights with sub-freezing temps. For me this was a milestone, the first backpacking I’ve done in years since knee and shoulder surgeries.
I had forgotten a couple of things – The first was just how many stars (and other objects) you can see from earth when you are far away from light pollution. Adding to the clarity we had clear, cold air overhead from the front that had just passed through. The second thing I hadn’t thought about in a while was how much lower the rf noise floor is away from my house and urban areas. I had my Elecraft KX-1 along, and threw an antenna up into a tree. I ended up not trying to make any contacts because a) It hurt to take my hands out of my gloves and b) there was a CW contest on, and I was not very confident that I could copy well enough. So I spent several hours just practicing copying CW, and made some real improvements. I was amazed by what I could hear! Just like realizing that there are so many stars you normally can’t see, there were an incredible number of signals out there.
I need to get out more often.