Topband: Received Signal Strengths

Tom W8JI w8ji at
Sat Jan 9 10:38:59 EST 2016

> Typically, on 160M, I leave the preamp off for my beverages. The received
> noise floor for my N/S beverage (on CW) is usually S2 - 3 and for my 
> phased
> EU beverages is S0 to S1. I have found the signal strengths of the 
> received
> stations to be 1 to 2 S units down on the beverage and equal or stronger 
> on
> the beverage if I turn the preamp on - with usually a rise in the noise
> floor by a 1 or 2 S units. Interestingly, on 80M CW, I usually use the
> beverage preamp. The signal often comes up 3 - 4 S units and the noise 
> only
> 1 to 2 S units. I often drop in some attenuation to make the noise floor
> "just" go away.
 If the signal comes up 3-4 S units and the noise 1-2 S units, the meter is 
nonlinear. This is typical for many receivers. Some are as little as 1 dB 
per S unit down low on the scale.  Most meters (it was years ago I looked) 
were 3 to 5 dB per S unit up at the high scale end.

The entire idea of S readings is for many uncontrollable reasons...... 

There have been various campaigns over the years to correct reports, but 
none can ever mean anything.

It is silly getting all worked up because we **think** S meters and S 
reports are like precision dial calipers, when they are really like marks on 
a rubber band. 

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