Having just recently come back to ham radio after a 50 year absence... I find the conditions on the bands somewhat abysmal. Or, maybe it's just my antennas, or lack thereof. 20 was always my favorite band back in the day, so I built a simple 20M "bobtail curtain", and hung it in some trees. Folks have reported good things about this antenna at about 20 ft above ground with screens on the ground under the vertical sections. Until a couple of months ago all I had for receiving was an old WW2 Navy RBC. I blamed the receiver. Then, during a momentary lapse of judgment, I bought a new factory made KX3. Oh boy... I'm back in the game now! NOT ! The KX3 receives no better than it's 70 year old neighbor. In fact I can hear CW on 20M in the middle of the day with the 75 year old RBC that I cannot hear on the KX3. How can this be? I had come by an old Cushcraft R-7 vertical in the meantime, so I tried that. Not much difference on receive. The noise is somewhat lower when switching to the vertical. I dug out my trusty AEA antenna analyzer and noticed some weird readings across the bands, but the vertical would at least resonate somewhere within each band albeit, a little higher SWR than I would like. I can't really measure the Bobtail curtian, as it is center-fed against ground, no coax. The analyzer likes to see a coaxial feed. Funny thing is, both antennas perform across the bands equally well, or poorly, whichever way you want to look at it. I figured sitting on top of a hill at 1300+ ft elevation would help... not so. I only hear one or two QSO's on any given day or night. And, they were so "down in the noise" that I haven't bothered to call anyone. I figured I would wait until I move next month (10-12-15), by then, maybe band condx would improve and I could get an antenna on the roof or hang an inverted V in a tree, at least. That, and the fact that I will be sitting on coastal plain about 2 miles from the north Atlantic @ 50 ft ASL, may improve my chances somewhat. I think I may have an old 30 foot "push-up" laying around. I may attach it to the house tomorrow, to get the vertical a little higher and see if that helps. PS: as an example, it is now 11:00PM CDT. I just tuned thru 80, 40 & 20 and heard exactly 1 QSO on 80 (SSB no CW at all ) that was down in the S3 noise. 10MHZ is quiet, but WWV is barely readable... 15MHZ is quiet and WWV is non existant.