Ham Radio Lingo and Q Codes – A Quick Reference Guide

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If you want to use ham radio then you must learn ham radio lingo and ham radio Q codes. Perrty simple!

Ham radio has many fans around the world. It is because ham radio (or amateur radio) has many advantages.

First, it is fun talking to strangers from the other parts of the world, who have the same hobby. Second, it is especially useful during emergency situations. While other devices will lose their connectivity, ham radio will continue to work.

History has many examples of how a hurricane destroyed an entire utility network. However, people were able to call for help using ham radio. It was the only thing that continued to work.

You must have a license of a certain class (technician, general or extra) to use a ham radio. In order to get a license, you need to pass a difficult exam.

Ham radio also has a special code and jargon that only ham radio user’s use.


What is Q Code?

Q-code is a standardized set of three letters. Each code begins with the letter Q which is the reason for the name.

Why do you need this code? It is a working signal. This signal was initially developed for commercial radiotelegraph communication. It then “migrated” to amateur communication and ham radio users actively use it.
It is difficult to distinguish one Q-code from another. Operators put the prefix “INT”, or use some kind of suffix.

There are different codes and many of them have very narrow specifics. For example, codes in the QAA range – QNZ are involved in aviation, and QOA – QQZ codes are for marine use. QRA – QUZ codes are suitable for everything.

How are the Q codes used?

Radio amateurs use Q-codes in voice communication as abbreviated nouns, verbs, and adjectives. They use these to try to make phrases.

Ham Radio and Q Code

Ham radio adapted two sets of Q-codes. Therefore, these two sets are used only in amateur communication.

The first set “migrated” from the civilian ITU series from QRA to QUZ. You need to be careful with the first set of codes, because many may not fit the meaning.

A simple example: the code asks for the cost, and the amateur link is free. It means that you should not pay attention to this code.

The second set is QN signals. These signals are used only in ARRL NTS networks. The second set of codes is also not simple, because this set is not used in amateur radio.

Most Important Ham Radio Q Codes

QLE-What is your expected signal?

QNI– May I join the net?

QRA – What is the name (or call sign) of your station?

QRG– Will you tell me my exact frequency?

QRH – Does my frequency vary?

QRI – How is the tone of my transmission?

QRJ – How many voice contacts do you want to make?

QRK -What is the readability of my signals?

QRL – Are you busy?

QRM – Do you have interference from other stations?

QRN – Are you troubled by static?

QRO– Shall I increase power?

QRP – Shall I decrease power?

QRQ – Shall I send faster?

QRS– Shall I send more slowly?

QRT – Shall I cease or suspend operation?

QRU – Have you anything for me?

QRV – Are you ready?

QRX – When will you call me again?

QRZ – Who is calling me?

QSB – Are my signals fading?

QSD – Is my keying defective?

QSA – What is the strength of my signals?

QSK – Can you hear me between your signals?

QSL – Can you acknowledge receipt?

QSN – Did you hear me on ..kHz (or MHz)?

QSOCan you communicate with … direct or by relay?

QSP – Will you relay a message to …?

QSR – Do you want me to repeat my call?

QSS – What working frequency will you use?

QSU – Shall I send or reply on this frequency?

QSW – Will you send on this frequency?

QSX – Will you listen to … (call sign(s) on … kHz (or MHz))?

QSY – Shall I change to transmission on another frequency?

QSZ – Shall I send each word or group more than once?

QTA – Shall I cancel telegram (message) No. … as if it had not been sent?

QTC – How many telegrams (messages) have you to send?

QTH – What is your position in latitude and longitude (or according to any other indication)?

QTR – What is the correct time?

QTU – At what times are you operating?

QTX – Will you keep your station open for further communication with me until further notice (or until … hours)?

QUA – Have you news of … (call sign)?

QUC – What is the number of the last message you received from me?

QUD– Have you received the urgency signal sent by …?

QUE– Can you speak in … (language), – with interpreter if necessary; if so, on what frequencies?

QUF – Have you received the distress signal sent by … (call sign of mobile station)?

So, how can you answer? Normally. I mean if you got a code “QRH”, that means “Does my frequency vary?” you can answer like “Your frequency varies.”

Ham Radio Lingo

Have you ever heard how Ham radio operators use different terminology? It was the ham radio lingo.
Operators use ham radio language and understand each other perfectly.

If you want to become your ham opera operator in the environment or like to eavesdrop on other operators, here are the most popular ham lingo code.

73 – “Best Regards”

88 – “Hugs” and/or “Kisses”

ACSB – Amplitude Compandored Sideband modulation

AGC – “Automatic Gain Control”

Antenna Party – A long-standing tradition among hams

Barefoot – Refers to running your transmitter without an amplifier

AOS – “Acquisition of Signal” from a satellite

ARRL – American Radio Relay League

BFOBeat Frequency Oscillator

Bird – nickname for “satellite” or brand name of a high-end watt meter

Birdie – A signal produced within a radio by microprocessor or related circuitry

Boat Anchor – heavy, old radio

BPSK – Binary Phase Shift Keying

Brass Pounder – Refers to someone who sends telegraphy by old fashioned key

CBA – Call Book Address

CC&R’s – “Covenents, Conditions, and Restrictions”; an extensive set of rules drawn up by homeowner’s associations

CTCSS – Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System or a private line

DR – dear

DSW – Russian abbreviation for “goodbye”

DXLong distance

Eyeball – Face-to-face meeting

FBFine Business

Harmonic – 1. Children. 2. Secondary RF emission

Keyer – Electronic device for sending Morse Code semi-automatically

LOS – Loss of Signal

LSB – Lower Sideband

MPR – “Mass Produced Rig”; a radio which is produced in large quantities

MUFMaximum Useable Frequency

NB – Noise Blanker

NCSNet Control Station

NTS – National Traffic System

Paddles – Short for “Morse Code Key”

PEP“Peak Envelope Power”

PLPrivate Line

PM – Phase/ Pulse Modulation

PTTPush to Talk

QCWA – Quarter Century Wireless Club

QSL Manager – Amateur Radio operator

Rig – Radio

RST – Readability, Strength, Tone

RX – “receiver”/ “receive”

SWL – Shortwave Listener

TicketFCC License

Talk-Around – Simplex

UTC – “Coordinated Universal Time”means a single time reference to be used worldwide

VECVolunteer Exam Coordinator

WAC – Worked All Continents

WAN – Worked All Neighbors

WASWorked All States

WX – weather

XYL – ex-wife and YL – wife

YLYoung Lady

As you can see, ham radio Lingo and Q codes are not just for professionals but also for amateurs. Now you can not only listen but understand and use the secret language of ham radio users.

This is a very interesting practice that makes using the radio not only interesting but also secret.

Also Read:

1. How to Build a Ham Radio from Scratch – Ultimate Guide
2. Ham Radio Antenna Review and Buying Guide by Expert
3. Must Have Ham Radio Accessories – You Can’t Ignore Them
4. CB vs Ham Radio – What Is The Difference Between Them?
5. How to Make First Contact on Ham Radio

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