I had to smile when I read your message. Our situations are so similar.
About a month ago, I came back to radio after a 15 year break. As then, I live 
in an apartment in downtown Manhattan, four blocks north of the World Trade 
Center. (The antenna from 1 World Trade looms clearly above.) For about 20 
years I operated with an end-fed random wire - cut to no electrical length - 
that ran up seven stories to the roof of the building. (Gotta' love antenna 
tuners!) EVERY apartment antenna is a compromise, but it worked. Made my fair 
share of contacts, with the obvious limitations.
Then a month ago I dragged the trusty TS-830 out of the basement locker, set up 
a new antenna - now an open loop going around the outside of four windows. I 
was stunned at the noise level and dearth of signals. At first I thought the 
830 had gone from years of lack of use. Several tests indicated it was working 
OK. Since I operated out of this apartment for two decades, I knew it could be 
done. I'd been pining over the KX3 for several months and, undaunted by the 
conditions, bought the kit and got it together with few hiccups. (Thanks Craig 
for getting back to me in all of 15 minutes with the answer to a question.) 
Even with the dramatically better receiver, still heavy noise and little 
activity. As you, I have yet to make a contact on the KX3. With a make-shift 
wire/counterpoise antenna, I've taken it to one open area; same thing. Oh, and 
on CW. I'll keep trying other locations.
Deep urban operating requires: realistic expectations, ingenuity, and patience. 
I think the next few years are going to test those qualities big time. But I 
have faith!
Bob, KA2TQVKX3 #9842

Original message:
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2017 09:33:41 -07009842
From: Mike Parkes <mspma...@gmail.com>
To: elecr...@mailman.qth.netwith 
Subject: [Elecraft] Is it my KX3/antenna or is it lousy band condx?
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"

Okay I am reaching our to the Elecraft enthusiasts here for some feedback
if anyone cares to chime in.
I am just getting back on the air after years away from the hobby, so I am
not that familiar with band conditions in general. It looks like the
sunspot cycle is heading for the cellar (if it isn't already there).

Recently bought a KX3 and a Buddistick vertical (like, 2 weeks ago). Love
the KX3 it is a great radio... however... so far my efforts to hear much of
anything, much less make a contact with someone, has been frustrating to
say the least. I live in an apartment and am surrounded by power lines for
one thing. The background noise level on 40 is pretty bad varies but is
s7-9 mostly. I  took my setup to a nearby park and the bands were
definitely quieter. So the local manmade noise level is an issue (and one
reason I chose the KX3 was the hope that its rcvr and filtering could help
with that.)

Have yet to make a single contact, so I am just wondering if I just
happened to choose a really lousy period of solar conditions for HF? Or is
the base loaded vertical a joke?

I would love to be able to find another ham even close by just to try and
get some sort of an HF QSO even if it is with someone down the block.
...I can tune down to the AM broadcast band and was able to hear some local
AM stations. :)

Mike AB7RU

(On a side note the tuner in the KX3 is great!. That thing was able to get
a match for 80 meters on the Buddistick which was showing something like
25:1 swr. The KX3 tuner clicked and rattled for a while and found a match
to <2:1. Not sure how much actual RF is going out, probably not much... but
I was amazed it could tune to that high an SWR.)

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