--- In email@example.com, "my_call_is_ac4m" <ac4m@...> wrote:
For years, I've been wondering why we bother with signal reports. Whether it's contests or casual QSO, rarely does anyone bother to give an accurate signal report on digital. It's more common on CW or SSB, but even there the number of "59" grossly exceeds what I think are realistic expectations of signal reports.
The only way, it seems, to get an accurate signal report is explicitly to ask for one. Otherwise, it's simply a meaningless box that people fill out because it makes an "official" QSO.
I've been on digital modes for 7 years now, and in that time I've seen far too many people get annoyed/angry when you tell them that their signal is, in fact, 591 because it's 400 Hz wide on PSK31, or that it's 339 fading in and out of the QSB. I used to give out accurate signal reports. In fact, sometimes I'd even send a little screen shot of your signal on my waterfall. But proper reports were "not appreciated," let alone supporting evidence, and I gave up.
So for most people I give out 599 unless you ask for a proper report, then I'm happy to oblige. Also, if I remember your call and know that you actually care about it then I will as well. Generally if I recognize an 070 or 30MDG member call I give a proper report, but there's so many of you now :) Otherwise, it's just a macro field.
I can understand this practice in contest or working a DXpedition,I can't understand why we give them out at all if nobody really cares - it's wasting air time on a practice that has been superseded by time and technology... a quaint old practice. On DXpeditions, it's especially egregious: everyone knows full well that almost nobody is actually 59 to a DXpedition, so why bother giving out 59? Who is kidding whom?
Personally, I like to know if I'm putting out a weak or crappy signal, but I've simply given up hope of finding out. Or my signal is always totally awesome, which I highly doubt. Sorry to all if that sounds cynical, but I don't see how swimming against this particular current improves my amateur radio experience - or yours for that matter. Maybe we're just seeing a general change and it's time to drop the obligatory signal report, just like we stopped having to wear ties to work.
73 de VE3OIJ