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Writing Reception Reports

Many ham radio operators started out in the hobby as shortwave listeners, so you may already be familiar with the components of writing a reception report, but in case you’re not, here’s some tips:

To make things easier, we’ve created a Reception Report form, downloadable as a fillable PDF or basic print version:

Click here to download and print WSSM's Reception Report form.

Click here to download an editable Reception Report form.

WSSM Reception Report Form

Tips for writing quality reception reports:

For most international shortwave stations like the Voice of America, Radio Romania International, Radio Prague, Radio Slovakia International, and others, a point of contact (such as a General Manager), isn’t necessary, since they typically have departments that are dedicated to handling reception reports and listener correspondence.

Time and Date

For reports to international broadcasters, always use Universal Time Coordinated (or UTC), in the standard 24-hour format, and be careful that the date also aligns with UTC. For example, if its 8:00 PM, August 24th locally, it may be 0000 UTC, August 25th.

It’s acceptable to use local time of the station if the station you listened to is within your time zone. Otherwise, always use UTC.

Reception Details

The “SINPO” (Strength, Interference, Noise, Propagation, Overall) rating format of reporting reception quality is commonly used, although a more detailed narrative is also welcome. In amateur radio terminology, signal strength is what it shows on the S meter, if one is equipped), Interference is QRM, Noise is band noise, which is what hams call QRN, Propagation is fading, or QSB, and Overall is the overall assessment.

Formats like SINPO are not usually recognized by domestic stations, so when sending reports to them, it’s best to also include a written description about signal quality, fading, interference from other stations, etc.

Include Return Postage

Return postage is always appreciated, and in some cases, required. Uncancelled postage stamps (valid in the station’s own country) are effective. A good source for stamps for other countries is William Plum DX Supplies. If it’s a stateside report, send a self-addressed-stamped envelope. International Reply Coupons (or IRCs) are also accepted around the world, but they are no longer available in U.S. post offices, so you’d have to find an international source. In most cases, it’s okay to send one or two US Dollar bills.

Listening and Taking Notes

A common question is “How long should I listen?” Obviously, propagation can affect this, but most stations require 30 minutes to an hour.

Take notes about the content that you are listening to, but you don’t have to be exhaustive and capture every word. Many stations are more interested in what you think about the content than what you heard. They know what they’re transmitting! Just include enough information so they can verify that it was indeed their station that you were listening to and in some cases, align it with the time and date that you heard it.

For domestic Mediumwave (AM), FM, tropical band or other shortwave broadcasts meant for a local audience, try to address your report to a contact person (usually a General Manager or Chief Engineer). This information is available in publications such as the World Radio Television Handbook, which is published annually, or online searches.

Be sure to note any local advertising (commercials) if present. Why? Many stations stream on the Internet, and the station needs to know that you’re listening over the air, rather than listening to a stream. At least in the U.S., ads over internet streams are often different than those broadcast over the air, and in some cases, there are no ads played on the stream.

Helpful shortwave listening resources:

  • - an online source for news, frequencies, schedules, and other information related to the hobby of shortwave listening.

Shortwave broadcast schedules and frequencies can also be found on individual broadcaster’s websites. Check out the links below for more info. 

 International Broadcasters

Below you'll find QSL information and links to some of the most popular International Broadcasters. For current schedules and frequencies, check out Primetime Shortwave's weekly update, or listen to Glenn Hauser's World of Radio program.

Radio Prague

Polish Radio

Deutsche Welle
Radio France International

BBC World Service

Scandinavian Weekend Radio
Radio Romania International

Radio Sweden

BBC Radio 5 Live

Voice of Turkey

Vatican Radio

Radio Slovakia International

Asia, Africa, & the Pacific
Radio Australia

PCJ Media

Channel Africa

Radio New Zealand International

KBS World Radio

Voice of Vietnam

NHK Radio Japan

Radio Kuwait

All India Radio

Radio Taiwan

CRI English

Voice of America


WRMI Shortwave

EWTN Catholic Radio


Prime Time Shortwave


Radio Habana Cuba

Since you're here, you may also be interested in: QSLing


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