*EDITORIAL* Slippery ‘Noise’ Floor

For me, one of the awesome things about living on acreage in a rural area is a very low ‘noise floor’ and this phenomena is the focus of this DA-RC editorial.

When the variables are comparable (i.e. TX power, antenna, etc.), this enables me to pull in the weakest-of-weak 27 MHz signals on what’s traditionally a very noisy band.


A ‘noise floor’ is basically the man-made noise which exists when certain local sources of noise (sometimes called ‘incidental noise’) have been eliminated.

Basically, the more man-made noise you can eliminate around your property, the lower your ‘noise floor’ will be.

This means the only noise you’re hearing is what I call ‘natural noise’.

In my experience, man-made or ‘incidental noise’ is fairly constant in any given location.

If anything, though, it surges at night when people are home from work; when lights, tvs, pcs and air con is switched on.

I liken it to white noise with an added gritty element.

The key, in my experience, is pinpointing where it’s coming from and, then, doing something about it by either:

  1. Confronting the source of man-made noise which is tough if it’s originating from your neighbours’ home or from something not owned or controlled by you (e.g. power lines);
  2. Making changes to your station (e.g. with ferrite beads, toroids, RF chokes, grounding, better quality cable, etc.) to protect its vulnerability to the noise; or
  3. Both.

Ensuring your ‘noise floor’ is as minimal as possible will make a massive difference to your hobby enjoyment; improving your ability to pull in weak signals and so make more contacts.

Too much man-made, or incidental noise, and any incoming signal beneath the ‘noise floor’ will be unnoticed.

73 de Darren, 43DA001