Charles Fulp k3ww at fast.net
Thu Jun 5 18:05:37 EDT 1997

One of my pet peeves.  The desire for "TRUE" signal reports.
My first problem is with the technical difficulty in producing a 
"true" signal report.  If all of our equipment is calibrated to an agreed
upon standard, and we all are using unity gain omnidirectional receiving
antennas, and QRM levels and filter losses are not a factor, then we can
give reports that are "true" to our accepted standards.  
Under actual contest conditions I am using attenuators, preamplifiers,
various filters with different losses, null and peak controls which
influence my meter readings, antennas with negative gain, antennas with
high gain.  I am working people 3 to 25 db down from the peak of my lobe, I
am listening at the wrong angle for some of the guys that answer, if I do
not flip the stack switch constantly.  

So what would different reports tell the guys answering me?  If 10 DL's in
a row answer me and I give reports from 2 to 9 and someone was listening to
the entire run, he could determine his relative strength among his
countrymen.  If a ZS calls in he will
be down a LOT because my antenna is pointed at 45 degrees, he learns
nothing from a "relative" report, and will never get an "honest report"  

Even if other factors influencing my S meter were eliminated, I might not
want guys to know how much I was struggling to hear guys they hear well or
don't  hear at all.  The automatic S9 also keeps me from psyching out
others, since the 599 is a given it can't be used either to depress or snow
the opposition.
Even after the contest, a little WASN'T EVERYONE LOUD, gamesmanship doesn't

Why keep RST ?  Why not?  Contests all have their own flavors.
Some like the CQWW are pure DX and rate events.  Even the zone is a given
in 995 out of 1000 QSOs (from the USA).  The contest is about getting the
calls (correctly) into the log and the most total Q's and Mults possible.

Although DXCC does not require a signal report for a valid QSO, some awards
do, and certificate hunters are a significant part of the canon fodder out
there.  So for worldwide events with broad general appeal, signal reports
still make sense to me.  A lot of casual operators expect to hear them.

For the more specialized contests, where most, if not all of the
participants are expected to be more knowledgable contesters, then more
demanding and esoteric exchanges may add to the feel of the event, and be
quite appropriate.  If I were designing an event for the contest community,
I would leave out RST.  If I were looking for the broadest appeal, I would
keep it simple and include RST.

73 Chas K3WW (if I'm not S9, check your equipment)(or your not in Europe)
k3ww at fast.net

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