Topband: Why not add power class to SP TBDC exchange?

Milt Jensen n5ia at
Mon Dec 31 11:43:29 EST 2007

> > -------------- Original message -------------- 
> > From: Paul Kelley N1BUG <paul.kelley.n1bug at gmail. wrote:
> > If I had known they were QRP at the
> > time of the contact I would probably have given an RST report.
> >
> > I love the SP just the way it is, but I think this would be an
> > interesting addition.
> >
> > 73,
> > Paul N1BUG

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <mstangelo at>

> For the life of me I don't understand why contesters don't send the
> actual RST. The purpose of a QSO is to extablish 2 way communications
> and one way to verify this is to exchange some basic information.
> Exchanging RST will also help in studying propagation and antenna
> performance and is good feedback to QRP operators like me. Blindly
> sending RST 599 is just noise.
> I know ot will slow things down and make the operators really operate
> but the challenge will make contesting better in the long run...
> Mike N2MS


With the separate and distinct RX antenna systems most fellows use on
Topband, there is a SIGNIFICANT difference between performance of the TX and
RX systems.  Likewise, there are so many variables with QRN, QRM and QSB.
What I am getting at, is the signals as heard and displayed on an S-Meter
are skewed tremendously from the norm of other HF bands, and readability
depends on the moment to moment conditions.

More than 50% of all the Q's I have on 160 Meters do NOT register on the
S-Meter.  A DFQ signal with wall-to-wall speaker level audio many times will
NOT cause the S-Meter to wiggle.  At other times signals which register well
on the S-Meter have some dits and dahs obliterated by QRM or QRN.

My point is this.  ANY signal report, and in particulay ANY CONTEST signal
report has absolutely NO meaning with the exception of the "R".  Readability
is the ONLY parameter that matters.  Signal Strength has nothing to do with

SOOOOOO, what do you report?  509?  409?  309?  etc, etc, etc.  In the heat
of battle of rapid fire exchanges, and especially the Topband "battles",
there is no meaniful report inthe "S" of RST.  The only thing that counts is
if your contact station does NOT ask for a repeat.

There are too many variables.  Even with a true S-9 signal, the 20-30 OVER
S-9 static crashes take out parts of the other guy's transmission.  Are we
going to do reports of 379 QRN?  489 QRN?  or 399 QRM?   Do you have the
time to do this?  Even if you did, does it REALLY matter?

Blindly sending 599 is NOT just noise.  Under many of the prevailing
conditions which we operate under on Topband, the 599 is a leader into the
actual report of value; ie. the location.  This past Saturday night I found
it quite difficult to pick up the GS reports when the other operator replied
to me with nothing more that EN55.  Those that did not preface their report
with my callsign or with the simple 599 (in particular the GS's starting
with "E") were difficult to pull out of the static without the timing
anticipation given by a preceding callsign or RST.

YMMV and YOMV.  Just "Mis dos centavos".  de Milt, N5IA

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