R – Readability
S – Signal Strength
T – Tone
The first number in the RST report is the readability of the signal or how understandable a signal is. This ranges on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being ‘unreadable’ and 5 being ‘perfectly readable’. Factors which impact on readability include QRN (atmospheric noise, static crashes, QSB (fading), and QRM (man made noise, e.g. plasma TV noise).
The second number in the RST report is the strength of the signal. Remember, that the RST reporting system was created prior to introduction of S meters in transceivers. A signal strength of 1 is ‘faint signals, barely perceptible’, whilst a signal strength of 9 is an ‘extremely strong signal.’
FT-8 Signal Reports
With FT-8 your PC clock is very important. Please make sure you sync your PC clock with an time standard before operating FT-8. Useful programs like Dimension 4 that will do it for you or manually you can do it by following this link. But what would happen if your out at a POTA site away from the internet well if you had a little USB GPS device you can use a program like GPStime to sync your clock. If your looking at your receive window in WJST and see the “DT” column of is more than 0.3 +/- seconds off then your clock is in need a a resync. If there just one station that has a time offset of more than 0.3 off don’t bother trying to connect to that station since there clock is way off. Time over 1.0 seconds will show in red.
Signal strength is also import for picking up stations. With a minimum signal range between -21 dB and -24 dB anything below -19 dB would be a hard station to work. While a signal strength of 0 dB is a prefect level for an SSB signal.
On picking your transmit frequency in the water fall window try to find an clear frequency. You can shift you transmit frequency by using your mouse on the WSJT-X waterfall to select a spot to transmit by right-clicking or shift-left-clicking. Also make sure your check mark “Hold Tx Freq.” is checked so that it stays at that frequency. While your at it make sure “Auto Seq” and “Call 1st” are checked too. So that it will handle automatically replying to their responds and it will automatically respond to other station answering your CQ’s.