Existing standard: RST System with our gratitude to Cebik W4RNL [SK] and to those who selflessly have preserved his website data. He advocated replacing the T with something more relevant, hence the RSN system below.
Readability Strength Noise: see RSTN for details
RS(T)N is a new signal reporting system used by some hams in place of the now outdated RST system.
R = Readability (scale: 1 to 5)
S = Signal Strength (scale: 1 to 9)
N = (Local) Noise Level (scale: 1 to 9)
R and S are the same as in the existing RS(T) system.
N is the current local noise level on the current frequency and bandwidth in the receiver
In voice and digital modes RSN is given as 3 digits, in CW it may either be given as 3 digit RSN or 4 digit RSTN, in which case the Tone is usually sent as N for 9 which also serves as an N for Noise to introduce and separate the 4th Noise level digit, e.g. RSTN 37N6 or RSN 376.
|R2||Barely readable, occasional words distinguishable||Poor|
|R3||Readable with considerable difficulty||Fair|
|R4||Readable with practically no difficulty||Good|
|S1||Faint signal, barely perceptible||QSA1: Barely perceptible|
|S2||Very weak signal||(QSA1/2)|
|S3||Weak signal||QSA2: Weak|
|S5||Fairly good signal||QSA3: Fairly good|
|S6||Good signal||(QSA 3/4)|
|S7||Moderately strong signal||QSA4: Good|
|S8||Strong signal||(QSA 4/5)|
|S9||Very strong signals||QSA5: Very Good|
|S should NOT be read directly from the “S-meter” as these are mostly only calibrated at S9.|
|N1||No noticeable noise||None|
|N2||Very slight noise|
|N4||Slight to moderate noise|
|N6||Moderately severe noise|
|N8||Very severe noise|
The usual suffixes can be appended to RS(T)N reports, as follows:
A : signal distorted by auroral propagation
C : chirp
K : key clicks
M : distorted by multipath propagation
S : distorted by scatter propagation
A Short “Q” Reporting System for Traffic Nets
Another proposed system is the Q report. It is more easy and meaningful in the context of amateur radio communications which typically contain fading between several S points, where a quick assessment needs to be made to save time (such as in QTC traffic nets) where the importance of readability is paramount. If time permits, additional signal strength and noise level can conveyed by expanding Q to 2 or 3 digits respectively.
If there is only one digit following the Q then this is Readability (QRK). E.g.: Q3 means R3 readable with difficulty.
Q1 = Not readable
Q2 = Readable at times
Q3 = Readable with difficulty
Q4 = Readable without difficulty
Q5 = Perfectly readable
If there are two digits following the Q, then the second is signal strength on a scale of 1-5:
Q_1 = No signal
Q_2 = Weak signal
Q_3 = Fair signal
Q_4 = Strong signal
Q_5 = Extremely strong signal
E.g. Q55 is the highest possible and means perfect copy and extremely strong signal. Q32 would mean readable with difficulty and weak signal.
If there are three digits following the Q, then the third is the noise level (QRN) at your receiver, 1-5:
Q_ _1 = No noise
Q_ _2 = Little noise
Q_ _3 = Average noise
Q_ _4 = Strong noise
Q_ _5 = Very strong noise
This is not QRM as from other stations, this is the background noise according to your filter setting and receiver, typically the noise from electromagnetic pollution in your area. When the Q and RST codes were invented we did not yet have the mass surveillance and control society full of consumer junk, there was only man made noise from other stations (QRM) and static (QRN).
Example: Q551 would be the best possible report. You cannot have Q555 realistically as that would mean perfectly readable, extremely strong signal and very strong noise.
Q345 would mean your signal is readable with difficulty, signal is strong, but noise is very (or extremely) strong.
Either RSN or Q system could be used. For traffic nets in particular the Q system is good as it saves time and can be reduced to one single digit.
For the RSN system on CW, operators could choose to give RSN, or, to avoid any confusion, RSTN as mentioned earlier above.
EXAMPLE CONVERSION TABLES BETWEEN Q SYSTEM AND RSTN SYSTEM
|Q2||R2||Readable at times|
|Q3||R3||Readable with difficulty|
|Q4||R4||Readable without difficulty|
|Q55||RST 599||Armchair copy, extremely strong signal|
|Q44||RST 479||Good readable, strong signal|
|Q33||RST 359||Readable with difficulty, moderate signal|
|Q22||RST 239||Readable at times, weak signal|
|Q11||RST 119||Not readable, barely perceptible signal|
|Q54||RST 579||Solid readable, strong signal|
|Q34||RST 379||Readable with difficulty, strong signal|
|Q43||RST 459||Good readable, moderate signal|
|Q551||RSN 591||Solid copy, extremely strong, no noise level|
|Q542||RSN 573||Solid copy, strong, low noise level|
|Q433||RSN 455||Good copy, moderate signal strength, moderate noise level|
|Q334||RSN 357||Difficult copy, moderate signal strength, high noise level|
|Q235||RSN 259||Readable at times, moderate signal, very high noise level (S9)|
- For those knowing the Q codes: Q is QRK, Q followed by 2 digits is QRK and QSA, Q followed by 3 digits is QRK, QSK, QRN all on a scale 1 to 5.
- QSA 1 through 5 equates with S1, 3, 5, 7, 9.
- QSA 4/5 would thus be S8.
- History of RSTN reporting system and adoption comments see http://vkcw.wikidot.com/rstn