Topband: Stew Beef

Don Kirk wd8dsb at
Fri Jan 8 10:24:59 EST 2016

Especially on 160 meters I don't think the S in RST has a lot of scientific
value since there is no real numerical standard as it relates to true
signal strength.  In my own mind I have come up with a standard in which
the S is directly related to the S meter reading on my radio (so I don't
have to guess on what S value I should assign to a signal), but on 160
meters when my noise floor is typically S 6.2, that only leaves me with the
ability to send a 6, 7, 8, or 9 for the S value (sometimes I will send a
value of 5 for the S value when the the signal is right at my noise
floor).  Others might consider a value of 9 for when a persons signal is 30
dB over S9.  So no matter what a person sends you for the S value, what
does it really mean, not much (regardless if you are in a contest or not on
160 meters).

Contests have a lot of value regarding improvement in technology to handle
nearby strong signals, improve or maintain operator proficiency under
difficult conditions, motivation to improve your stations efficiency
(including the ability to multi-task), justification of spectrum (increase
activity on our bands which often are under utilized), provides an event to
look forward to and often social interaction, etc.

I would have no problem getting rid of RST reports in contests as they
really are meaningless (based on my above comments), but I have come to
find contests (especially on 160 meters) a great way to evaluate and
improve my station and my own skills.  I often go back to the reverse
beacon network after a contest to compare my signal with other nearby
stations to see how well the signal level from my station stacks up.

Don (wd8dsb)

On Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 9:12 AM, Rob Atkinson <ranchorobbo at> wrote:

> I completely agree with Don on this.  the incessant and utterly
> meaningless "599" or "59" because it is programmed in and the operator
> too lazy to think about a real signal report makes the minimal value
> of contests sink to zero.
> They have become nothing more than a vehicle to keep the ham radio
> economy running and the "play" part, after consumer hams have done the
> plugging.
> 73
> Rob
> K5UJ
> <<<But that brings up a problem with most contesters these days, the fact
> that
> your RST is likely to be "599" regardless, even when the other op can just
> barely dig you out of the noise.  Same with contests on other bands, both
> phone
> and CW.  That nonsensical practice has eliminated what was erstwhile
> perhaps
> the most useful function of contesting, and IMHO, diminishes the
> worthiness of
> contests altogether.  Back when the signal report was a real part of the
> exchange and contesters tended to exchange honest reports, a major contest
> could be an opportunity to determine how well your station got out, and
> into
> what localities you put the best and worst signal strength, providing some
> insight to improvements you might wish make to your transmitter and antenna
> system. >>>
> _________________
> Topband Reflector Archives -

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