ETH038 – Can You Hear Me Now? The RST Reporting System


Hello everybody and welcome back to the Everything Ham Radio Podcast! In this episode we are going to be talking about the RST Reporting System, the Moore County Amateur Radio Society and we are going to announce the winner of the Nanuk 904 case provided by

Tech Corner – RST Reporting System

History of the RST Reporting System

Many years ago, right around 1934 to be specific, an amateur radio operator by the name of Arthur W Braaten, W2BSR, made up the current reporting system that we use today. At the time there wasn’t a standardized system in place that amateurs could use to tell the transmitting station what their side of things sounded like. Of course, they could’ve just used the S-meters that was on their radio’s, if they had them that is. But that really doesn’t tell you a whole lot about how you sound.

There has been times in my limited conversations on the HF bands, where I could hear the other station just fine. They were clear and very understandable, but they barely moved the S meter on my radio. If I had told the other station that they were an S1-S3, they might take it that I was having a hard time hearing them. This is the way that it normally is on FM modes. If you have a low S meter reading on the receiving side, then you will probably be very noisy and hard to make out. However, Single Side Band(SSB) and High Frequency(HF) is an entirely different beast.

How Does it Work?

RST stands for Readability, Strength and Tone. Each part of the RST components go towards a different aspect of your transmission. In the example above, you may notice that we were only given a 59 report, what about the missing part of the system? In voice communications, you only use the first two parts, Readability and Strength. The last part, Tone, is only when you are using CW. It describes the Tone of the CW characters that you hear.

Let’s break it down a little further, shall we?


The “official” definition of Readability according to Wikipedia is:

A qualitative assessment of how easy or difficult it is to correctly copy the information being sent during the transmission.

When you are talking with CW, it refers to how easy or difficult it is to distinguish the characters of the message being received. In voice, it refers to how easy or difficult it is to understand what the transmitting station is saying.

The Readability is measured on a scale of 1 to 5:

RST Reporting System - Readability


The S in the RST Reporting System stands for Strength. Strength is the power of the signal coming in. This can be done simply by looking at the S meter on your radio and can be given by what the reading is. I have even heard people say “You are 59 plus 20 dB”. This comes from the signal being so strong that the S meter on the radio goes past S9. Quality HF receivers as calibrated in such a way that S9 is set to a signal of 50 microvolts with a change of 6dB per S unit. On VHF and above, receivers quality receivers are calibrated to that a S9 signal is 5 microvolts at the antenna connection. Both of these measurements require a 50 ohm antenna connection for best results

The Strength part of this system is measured on a scale of 1 to 9:

RST Reporting System - Strength


The T in the RST Reporting System stands for Tone. This part of the reporting system is only used when you are talking on CW or digital modes as it refers to the sounds of the tone itself.

Tone is measured on a scale of 1 to 9:

RST Reporting System - Tone

I have read a few articles that state there some people are trying to get the Tone part of the RST system changed to Q for Quality. There reasoning is that the Tone part is a limited feature being that it is only used in CW or Digital modes, whereas if it was changed to Quality, it could be used on voice as well to tell about the quality of your signal. My question is, isn’t that basically the same as the Readability part? What do yall think? Leave your comments below

QSL Reporting

If you have ever sent or received a QSL card, you probably know that there is a RST box that needs to be filled out on it. This box is a must to fill out, and really important that you fill it out correctly. In online log books, like Logbook of the World, I think that this is a mandatory field as well. I have heard of some people who just put down a 599 in the box and move on, especially during contests. I understand that if you are the one running the event or contest and you have a few thousand QSL cards to send out that you might get lazy and just put a 599 report on the card to save you some hassle. Or maybe when you log the QSO you don’t put it in right then, so later on you just have to guess.

Either way, as ham radio operators, our job is to pass information with the utmost accuracy during emergencies, so why should we be any different when there isn’t an emergency? One of the things that I have learned while being a 911 telecommunicator, is that if you don’t use it, you can, not have it when you need it. When I first started in this field over twelve years ago(wow, has it been that long), I learned a lot and generally used all that I learned on a regular basis. About four years after I started, I changed to a different dispatch and it was slower and was only fire, so some of my police things faded into the abyss of my mind. Now five years after that, I am back at a Sheriff’s Office and back to using those skill and am having to relearn some of them

What all this boils down to is this, and this applies to everything in life not just in amateur radio: Learn how to do something the correct way and always do it that way. If you do it in your everyday life the correct way, then when you are in a time of heightened emotions, such as an emergency, your training will take over.

My dad, KC5PWQ, always told me that “If something aint worth doing right, it aint worth doing at all!” So do like I did and take these words to heart and always do things the right way the first time. At the very least, it will save you have from having to do it over again because you did it wrong the first time.


To summarize what all we talked about in this post:

  • Readability – How well you can understand
  • Strength – How strong is the signal
  • Tone – How clear is the sound of the CW/Digital
  • Accurate Reporting – Do it the right way the first time

And lastly,

  • Your thoughts on changing Tone to Quality



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Amateur Radio Club Spotlight

Moore County ARS - RST

Moore County Amateur Radio Society



  • The third Thursday of every month (except December) at the Moore County Health Department, 705 Pinehurst Ave, Carthage, at 7:00p. Doors usually open just after 6:00p for people to come and ragchew. Occasionally meetings are held at other locations when special interests are addressed.


  • 147.240+ PL 91.5 tone – Carthage, NC


  • 2 meter net is Sunday and Wednesday evenings at 8:00 on 147.240 Repeater
  • The Sandhills 6 meter net is Monday evenings at 8:00 on 50.200 USB


  • Winter Field Day
  • Uwharrie Mountain Run
  • Southern Pines Springfest
  • Carthage Buggy Festival
  • Badin Bomber Crash 1944
  • American Radio Relay League Field Day
  • Moore County Fair
  • Sardine Festival
  • Uwharrie 100
  • Simulated Emergency Training
  • Christmas Luncheon


Upcoming Events


+ NRAU 10m Activity Contest 1700Z-1800Z, Oct 6 (CW) and

1800Z-1900Z, Oct 6 (SSB) and

1900Z-2000Z, Oct 6 (FM) and

2000Z-2100Z, Oct 6 (Dig)

+ SARL 80m QSO Party 1700Z-2000Z, Oct 6
+ NCCC RTTY Sprint 0145Z-0215Z, Oct 7
+ NCCC Sprint 0230Z-0300Z, Oct 7
+ Makrothen RTTY Contest 0000Z-0759Z, Oct 8 and

1600Z-2359Z, Oct 8 and

0800Z-1559Z, Oct 9

+ Oceania DX Contest, CW 0800Z, Oct 8 to 0800Z, Oct 9
+ Microwave Fall Sprint 0800 local – 1400 local, Oct 8
+ SKCC Weekend Sprintathon 1200Z, Oct 8 to 2400Z, Oct 9
+ Scandinavian Activity Contest, SSB 1200Z, Oct 8 to 1200Z, Oct 9
+ QRP ARCI Fall QSO Party 1200Z, Oct 8 to 2359Z, Oct 9
+ Pennsylvania QSO Party 1600Z, Oct 8 to 0500Z, Oct 9 and

1300Z-2200Z, Oct 9

+ Arizona QSO Party 1600Z, Oct 8 to 0600Z, Oct 9 and

1400Z-2359Z, Oct 9

+ FISTS Fall Unlimited Sprint 1700Z-2100Z, Oct 8
+ PODXS 070 Club 160m Great Pumpkin Sprint 2000Z, Oct 8 to 2000Z, Oct 9
+ North American SSB Sprint Contest 0000Z-0400Z, Oct 9
+ UBA ON Contest, CW 0600Z-0900Z, Oct 9
+ 10-10 Int. 10-10 Day Sprint 0001Z-2359Z, Oct 10
+ NAQCC CW Sprint 0030Z-0230Z, Oct 12
+ Phone Fray 0230Z-0300Z, Oct 12
+ CWops Mini-CWT Test 1300Z-1400Z, Oct 12 and

1900Z-2000Z, Oct 12 and

0300Z-0400Z, Oct 13

+ RSGB 80m Club Sprint, CW 1900Z-2000Z, Oct 12
+ NCCC RTTY Sprint 0145Z-0215Z, Oct 14
+ NCCC Sprint 0230Z-0300Z, Oct 14
+ MCG Autumn Sprint 1500Z-1900Z, Oct 14
+ JARTS WW RTTY Contest 0000Z, Oct 15 to 2400Z, Oct 16
+ 10-10 Int. Fall Contest, CW 0001Z, Oct 15 to 2359Z, Oct 16
+ Iowa QSO Party 1400Z-2300Z, Oct 15
+ New York QSO Party 1400Z, Oct 15 to 0200Z, Oct 16
+ Worked All Germany Contest 1500Z, Oct 15 to 1459Z, Oct 16
+ South Dakota QSO Party 1800Z, Oct 15 to 1800Z, Oct 16
+ Feld Hell Sprint 2000Z-2359Z, Oct 15
+ Asia-Pacific Fall Sprint, CW 0000Z-0200Z, Oct 16
+ UBA ON Contest, 2m 0600Z-1000Z, Oct 16
+ Illinois QSO Party 1700Z, Oct 16 to 0100Z, Oct 17
+ RSGB RoLo CW 1900Z-2030Z, Oct 16
+ Run for the Bacon QRP Contest 0100Z-0300Z, Oct 17
+ ARRL School Club Roundup 1300Z, Oct 17 to 2359Z, Oct 21
+ Telephone Pioneers QSO Party 1900Z, Oct 17 to 0300Z, Oct 18
+ Phone Fray 0230Z-0300Z, Oct 19
+ CWops Mini-CWT Test 1300Z-1400Z, Oct 19 and

1900Z-2000Z, Oct 19 and

0300Z-0400Z, Oct 20


*Information taken from the WA7BNM Contest Calendar











Information taken from the ARRL Hamfest Calendar



ARRL Foundation Invites Scholarship Applications for 2017-18 Academic Year


The ARRL Foundation will begin accepting scholarship applications on October 1 from eligible radio amateurs planning to pursue post-secondary education in the 2017-2018 academic year. Completed applications must be received by January 31, 2017. Individuals and clubs support many of the more than 80 scholarships, ranging from $500 to $5,000, that are awarded annually. Applicants for all scholarships must be active radio amateurs and must complete and submit the online application.

“The ARRL Foundation Board of Directors is very pleased to be entrusted with managing this program. The scholarship program is a wonderful way to encourage students to continue their Amateur Radio activities while assisting them with the costs of their higher education,” says ARRL Foundation Secretary and ARRL Development Manager Lauren Clarke, KB1YDD. “All ARRL Foundation scholarships are made possible by individuals or clubs, and we are grateful for their support.”

The Foundation reported that 81 radio amateurs were the recipients of 2016-2017 academic year scholarships it administers. Awards totaled $120,150.

Students planning to apply for 2017-18 academic year awards should first carefully review the eligibility requirements and scholarship descriptions. Although only one application per applicant is required, applicants may ask to be considered for as many of the scholarships for which they are eligible (some scholarships have geographic criteria or other requirements). Check off only the scholarships for which you would like to be considered. In addition to completing the online application, applicants must submit a PDF of their academic transcript from their most recently completed school year.

Applications are due on January 31, 2017, by 11:59 PM ET. Applications without accompanying transcripts will not be considered. Awards winners typically are notified in mid-May by USPS mail and e-mail.

Established in 1973 as an independent and separate IRS 501(c)(3) organization, the ARRL Foundation manages grant and scholarship programs to support the Amateur Radio community. All grants and scholarships are funded entirely by the generous contributions of radio amateurs, clubs and friends. Individuals, groups or clubs wishing to establish an ARRL Foundation Scholarship Fund should visitthe ARRL Foundation website.

For more information about ARRL Foundation scholarships, e-mail the ARRL Foundation ( or call 860-594-0348.

More than 200 US Stations Signed Up for Scouting’s Jamboree on the Air


So far, 219 US stations have registered to take part in Scouting’s 2016 Jamboree on the Air (JOTA), which will take place October 14-16. Registration remains open for the 59th annual event. Last year, 400 US stations registered. JOTA officials are asking JOTA 2016 participants not only to register for this year’s event, but to follow up with a post-JOTA report.

“We expect to have several thousand stations around the world signed up by JOTA weekend,” JOTA Coordinator Jim Wilson, K5ND, said in a JOTA-JOTI (Jamboree on the Internet) update. “Make sure you register your station.” Designated Scouting frequencies are on the “Guidelines for Amateur Radio Operators“ page. “Twenty meters is probably the go-to band during the daytime. Try moving off the calling frequency and spreading out while making those QSOs.” Wilson said that in addition to the DX spotting websites, there’s a Scout station spotting cluster.

He also suggested taking advantage of other communication modes, including the dedicated D-Star Scouting reflector 033A, as well as DMR, IRLP with topic channel 9091, and Echolink, with conference node JOTA-365. Doug Crompton, WA3DSP, and Elliott Liggett, W7QED, have set up Allstar node 41760 for JOTA/Scouting conversations, Wilson added. In addition to social media,ScoutLink is an excellent way to connect to Scouts around the world with only an Internet connection, he said.

“Dave Edwards, KD2E, and Andy O’Brien, K3UK, have developed a Scout scheduling page,” Wilson said. “You can use this to post your frequency and to pick up on other stations as well.”

More than 1 million Scouts in 150+ countries — at nearly 18,000 stations — are expected to take part in JOTA 2016, engaging with other Scouts to talk about Amateur Radio and their Scouting experiences. “JOTA is about conversations across town and around the world, rather than about contacts,” Wilson said.

Further Reading:


“Cows Over the World” DXpedition May Be at an End


[UPDATED 2016-09-30 @ 1505 UTC] The one-man “Cows Over the World” DXpedition has ended — prematurely, abruptly, and on a sad note. Tom Callas, KC0W, reported that a theft this week in Kiribati has left him with nothing. He toldThe Daily DX that his Cows DXpedition is “permanently QRT.”

“Everything I own was stolen on 28 September from here in Kiribati,” Callas posted on his page. “They took all the radios, computers, amplifiers, antennas, coax, everything. They even took my clothing and shoes. I have literallynothing left. I type this with tears in my eyes.”

The “Cows Over the World” DXpedition got under way last spring, when the Minnesota DXer fired up as KH8/KC0W from American Samoa. Other stops followed. After a short hiatus, Callas had announced plans last week to resume with his T30COW operation from Western Kiribati, but he said his intended “Top 25 Most Wanted” DXpeditions would not happen. He has been financing the round-robin DXpedition on his own. Callas was awaiting permission to operate from Tokelau and Nauru. All call signs in the all-CW DXpedition tour have included a “COW” suffix.Callas has told The Daily DX that “all logs” for his T30COW operation have been uploaded to ClubLog. He also expressed his appreciation on his profile page.

“I have read the many supportive comments posted on both QRZ and eHam. A heartfelt thanks. Some guys have asked about financially donating to my plight. This is very generous, but I respectfully and humbly decline. Us people from the Midwest are like that. Either too proud (or too dumb) to accept money without actually working for it. Please donate your time helping a kid learn Morse code if you want to “donate” anything at all.

“My bank wired me funds so I can now eat again (literally). No joke, they even stole all my food. I have cancelled all future DXing activity until I return back to the USA and purchase new equipment. Gud DX es Long Live CW from here in Western Kiribati, where it’s always 5NN (except for when local ‘QRM’ makes you go QRT really quick).”

In addition to T30COW, his Cows DXpedition has also included operations as 5W0COW, T2COW, and YJ0COW. Announced plans of operating from the Solomons, Tokelau, Bangladesh and other locations now are off the table.

In the past, Callas has operated from St Helena Island (ZD7X), Cambodia (XU7XXX), Haiti (HH5/KC0W), and Martinique (TO0O), and he has handed out more than 100,000 contacts overall, including those logged from his Pacific operations.



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73 de Curtis, K5CLM

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