Some time ago I heard a CQ from a DX station with a severe chirp to his CW note. He was calling “CQ NA” and wanted to know in which state his contacts were located, evidently working toward his W.A.S.
I called and exchanged 599 reports with him and told him I was in Texas. After sending his report of 599 (and he was quite strong), I sent “chirp” - but I did it with hesitation. In some cases, we’ve come to expect inflated signal reports and refrain from anything that could be misconstrued as criticism.
Does “good manners” trump honesty?
To find out, I hung around a bit in order to see what signal reports others gave him. Six out of 10 mentioned his chirp in some way, either by saying so directly or implying a problem with the signal report they gave…”595″ or “591″ were both given. The other four gave “599″ with no mention of a problem.
Personally, I – as with most other callers – prefer to give an honest report. After all, I’d want to know if I were putting out such a signal so that I could do something about it. However, I can see one scenario that might call for leaving it at a “599″ – that would be if the DX was in a very poor country and was likely making the best of what he had available.