High-end transceivers apparently come equipped with a water-fall display - something to do with improved spectrum visibility. This is supposed to lead to potentially higher QSO count and rate.

What is a waterfall display?


1 Answer 1


A waterfall display is a graphical representation of the signals across a frequency range, generally color-coded to indicate signal amplitude or strength, displayed over time.

Sample waterfall display
image source: ARRL and K2NCC

Pictured in the image above is a number of signal traces. Since the above was taken across a frequency range where PSK31 is used, the signals are very narrow (only a few tens of Hz wide each), but it could easily cover a much larger frequency range "zoomed out" and still look basically the same. Here, black and dark blue is basically background noise, and bright white represents a very strong signal. We can also see that the station around 2450 Hz into the receiver passband appears to have insufficient sideband suppression (notice the additional, weaker signals centered on the main signal frequency).

Having an overview of all signals across a portion of the spectrum allows you to quickly and easily determine whether there are any strong signals, which usually indicates stations that would be easy for you to make contact with. Not having to scan across the band to locate any station that might happen to be transmitting at the exact moment you pass over its frequency but rather being able to locate stations transmitting while you are working another station, means that you can immediately jump to the frequency when you are done with the previous station.


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