The R-S-T System
When you receive (or give) a 5-9 report, the first number indicates readability, the second number indicates signal strength. Readability ranges from 1, unreadable, to 2, barely readable, to 3, readable with considerable difficulty, to 4, readable with practically no difficulty, to a 5, perfectly readable. The second number, signal strength, is the S meter reading from your transceiver. A 5-9 signal report is a respectable report. A stronger report would be given or received if your S meter reads over S-9. On the air, we would say "Your signal report is 5-9 plus 10."
I'll listen for you on 28.400 at 1700Z (1:00PM Eastern Time). If we do make contact, be prepared to QSY. One of the most popular contests is about to begin and the bands are very crowded and will be so until Sunday evening.
1966 FJ45 LWB Pickup
1985 BJ74 RHD
2006 UZJ100 with HDFT-E/H151F