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Amateur radio RST codes

This activity introduces the concept of amateur radio RST Codes and provides practice in their use.

Introduction

Readability, Signal strength and Tone (RST) reports are an important part of Amateur Radio. They are two or three-digit codes read over the air which indicate how clear, strong and pure your signal is. The tone report digit is only required for a CW (Morse code) contact. A good report like 59 means that others can hear you perfectly. A bad report like 31 might mean it is time to give up and try again another day when conditions are better. RST reports are recorded for each contact in the operator’s log book.

RST code chart

Preparation

Hand out copies of the RST chart shown above. Set up your SARC radio station and choose an active band.

Activity

Tune in to weak and strong stations using your SARC radio gear. Students take it in turns to pretend to give on-air signal reports using real call signs and names, like this:

"VK3YSP, this is VK3FOWL". You are readability 5 strength 9, Joe".

Homework

Use RST codes at home or with your mates: "I'm reading you 5 and 9 dad!"