This afternoon I grabbed my ATS-4 to hop on 20 meters and do some operating. My ATS-4 had 5-6 bars lit on the S meter display, which translates to NOISY, but not sure what the corresponding S reading is. I wish I had my FT-817 so I could have looked at a regular S meter. I tuned around and heard some signals, some were copyable, but it was just too noisy to really operate. This is obviously not the first time the noise was just too high to operate. I was, by the way, in the backyard with one of my end fed wires in a tree. I pulled the wire out of the tree and strung it across the ground and the S indication dropped from 5-6 bars down to 1-2 bars!!! So, I decided to FINALLY change one of my tuners to allow switching between two different wires.
Most of my tuners are very small and compact to throw it in a pack and go into the woods. I have one large tuner with a real capacitor and added a switch and a second terminal for the “low noise” wire which lays across the ground. I guess the only downside to this arrangement is having to flip the switch going between transmit and receive. But, if I can knock down the noise by two thirds, it is more than worth the hassle. Since I mostly operate on 20 meters, I only have to cut a single wire.