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RST (Readability, Strength, Tone)

Nov 4th 2013, 23:15


Joined: Nov 7th 2003, 10:54
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Would it be correct to say: An RST is a report about the quality and strength of transmitted signal to receiving stations (QTH). This RST report is based upon the operator's personal judgment about the quality (understandability) and strength (power) of the transmitted signal at the receiving station's location (QTH).

Now if S-meters come into play for RST reports are we assuming they calibrated for RST reports or maybe we don't care if the S-meter is calibrated?
Nov 5th 2013, 14:45


Super Moderator

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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You have an excellent question. You are correct; RST is based on the operator's judgement. The RST method of reporting received signals started long before there were signal strength meters on receivers. I have many very old receivers (ARC-5s, for example) that do not have an S meter. One could also be listening to a receiver with the AGC off (no S meter movement) and still give out an RST report.

S-meter calibrations vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. I believe it was Collins Radio that came up with S9 = 50 micro-volts of received signal and I have observed that most manufacturers shoot for that reference mark, but do not always hit it.

Bob Allison
ARRL Test Engineer
Sep 12th 2018, 23:07


Joined: Aug 19th 2010, 10:50
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Total Posts: 0
What is protocol for signal reception reporting?
Sep 14th 2018, 07:45


Super Moderator

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Total Posts: 0
The RST System-



2--Barely readable, occasional words distinguishable.

3--Readable with considerable difficulty.

4--Readable with practically no difficulty.

5--Perfectly readable.

Signal Strength

1--Faint signals, barely perceptible.

2--Very weak signals.

3--Weak signals.

4--Fair signals.

5--Fairly good signals.

6--Good signals.

7--Moderately strong signals.

8--Strong signals.

9--Extremely strong signals.

The page has additional information on reporting tone for CW.

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