Contacter l'auteur / Contact the author

Recherche dans ce site / Search in this site

 

 

Radio amateur activities

Traffic and Codes

To understand the amateur radio "language" you have to learn the famous "Q-code" as well as the "radio" alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie...) and ITU entities codes (DXCC) as these abbreviations are regularly used on the air to speed up usual questions/answers or to display information on clusters.

You will find hereunder the complete Q-code from which has been excluded most codes used in the aviation and maritime traffics, the radio alphabet, the RST report, the SINPO code, some useful acronyms without to forget the Morse code.

Q-code (extract)

The Q-code was developed and instituted in 1912 in order to facilitate communication between maritime radio operators of different nationalities. This is for this reason that the Q-prefix has been excluded from callsigns. During QSO most comments are of course expressed using the full language, often in English when DXing or the native language of the contact when ragchewing in local QSOs. Contests are special cases because competitors try to contact as many people as possible with few exceptions about the code of practice. In such conditions, short sentences and codes are mandatory.

Of course, one of the most used acronym of the Q-code is QRZ ? Usually, you answer in giving directly your callsign to your correspondent.

Code

Meaning

QFE

What is the current atmospheric pressure ? The atmospheric pressure is ..... mbar (current value converted to runway level in a dry atmosphere)

QNE

What is the current atmospheric pressure ? The atmospheric pressure is ..... mbar (current value converted to sea level to compute the fligh level)

QNH

What is the current atmospheric pressure ? The atmospheric pressure is ..... mbar (current value converted to sea level in the standard atmosphere).

QRA

What is the name of your station ? The name of my station is ..... By extension the home, the family.

QRB

How far are you from my station ? I am ... km from you station

QRD

Where are you bound and where are you coming from? I am bound ... from ....

QRG

Will you tell me my exact frequency ? Your exact frequency is ... kHz.

QRH

Does my frequency vary ? Your frequency varies.

QRI

How is the tone of my transmission ? The tone of your transmission is ... (1-Good, 2-Variable, 3-Bad.)

QRJ

Are you receiving me badly ? I cannot receive you, your signal is too weak.

QRK

What is the intelligibility of my signals ? The intelligibility of your signals is ... (1-Bad, 2-Poor, 3-Fair, 4-Good, 5-Excellent.)

QRL

Are you busy ? I am busy, please do not interfere

QRM

Is my transmission being interfered with man-made interferences ? Your transmission is being interfered with ... (1-Nil, 2-Slightly, 3-Moderately, 4-Severely, 5-Extremely.)

QRN

Are you troubled by natural or static noise ? I am troubled by natural or static noise ... (1-5 as under QRM.)

QRO

Shall I increase power ? Inrease power. By extension Good, excellent

QRP

Shall I decrease power ? Decrease power. By extension an emitter of small power, the kids

QRQ

Shall I send faster ? Send faster (... WPM.)

QRR

Are you ready for automatic operation ? I am ready for automatic operation. Send at ... WPM.

QRS

Shall I send more slowly ? Send more slowly (... WPM.)

QRT

Shall I stop sending ? Stop sending.

QRU

Have you anything for me ? I have nothing for you.

QRV

Are you ready ? I am ready.

QRW

Shall I inform ... that you are calling ? Please inform ... that I am calling.

QRX

When will you call me again ? I will call you again at ... hours.

QRY

What is my turn ? Your turn is numbered ....

QRZ

Who is calling me ? You are being called by ....

QSA

What is the strength of my signals? The strength of your signals is ... (1-Scarcely perceptible, 2-Weak, 3-Fairly Good, 4-Good, 5-Very Good.)

QSB

Are my signals fading ? Your signals are fading.

SQD

Is my keying defective ? Your keying is defective.

SQG

Shall I send ... messages at a time ? Send ... messages at a time.

QSJ

What is the charge to be collected per word to ... including your international telegraph charge?  The charge to be collected per word is ... including my international telegraph charge.

QSK

Can you hear me between you signals and if so can I break in on your transmission ? I can hear you between my signals, break in on my transmission.

QSL

Can you acknowledge receipt ? I am acknowledging receipt.

QSM

Shall I repeat the last message which I sent you ? Repeat the last message.

QSN

Did you hear me on ... KHz ? I did hear you on ... kHz.

QSO

Can you communicate with ... direct or by relay ? I can communicate with ... direct (or by relay through ....)

QSP

Will you relay to ...? I will relay to ....

QSQ

Have you a doctor on board? (or is ... on board ?) I have a doctor on board (or ... is on board.)

QSU

Shall I send or reply on this frequency ? Send a series of Vs on this frequency.

QSV

Shall I send a series of Vs on this frequency ? Send a series of Vs on this frequency.

QSW

Will you send on this frequency ? I am going to send on this frequency.

QSY

Shall I change to another frequency ? Change to another frequency.

QSZ

Shall I send each word or group more than once ? Send each word or group twice (or ... times.)

QTA

Shall I cancel message number ...? Cancel message number ...

QTB

Do you agree with my counting of words ? I do not agree with your counting of words. I will repeat the first letter or digit of each word or group.

QTC

How many messages have you to send ? I have ... messages for you.

QTE

What is my true bearing from you ? Your true bearing from me is ... degrees.

QTG

Will you send two dashes of 10 seconds each followed by your call sign ? I am going to send two dashes of 10 seconds each followed by my call sign.

QTH

What is your location ? My location is ....

QTI

What is your true track ? My true track is ... degrees.

QTJ

What is your speed ? My speed is ... km/h.

QTL

What is your true heading ? My true heading is ... degrees.

QTN

At what time did you depart from ...? I departed from ... at ... hours.

QTO

Have you left dock (or port) ? I have left dock (or port).

QTP

Are you going to enter dock (or port) ? I am going to enter dock (or port.)

QTQ

Can you communicate with my station by means of the International Code of Signals ? I am going to communicate with your station by means of the International Code of Signals.

QTR

What is the correct time ? The time is ...

QTS

Will you send your call sign for ... minutes so that your frequency can be measured ? I will send my call sign for ... minutes so that my frequency may be measured.

QTU

What are the hours during which your station is open ? My station is open from ... hours to ... hours.

QTV

Shall I stand guard for you on the frequency of ... kHz ? Stand guard for me on the frequency of ... kHz.

QTX

Will you keep your station open for further communication with me ? I will keep my station open for further communication with you.

QUA

Have you news of ...? I have news of ...

QUB

Can you give me information concerning visibility, height of clouds, direction and velocity of ground wind at ...? Here is the information you requested...

QUC

What is the number of the last message you received from me ? The number of the last message I received from you is ...

QUD

Have you received the urgency signal sent by ...? I have received the urgency signal sent by ...

QUE

Have you received the distress signal sent by ...? I have received the distress signal sent by ...

QUG

Will you be forced to land ? I am forced to land immediately.

QUH

Will you give me the present barometric pressure ? The present barometric pressure is ... (units).

The radio alphabet

If the radio alphabet is respected by most users of the spectrum (radio amateurs, militaries or pilots), in Russia, when operators are ragchewing in local QSO and speak russian, many characters are translated using national words (e.g. Anton for A, Igor for I, Sergei for S, Yvan for Y, etc) what does not always simplify communications with foreign amateurs. Hopefully, as soon as they work DX these amateurs use the standard alphabet defined by ITU.

When working conditions become difficult, when there are QRM or during pileups, there are some chances that your contact misunderstands some characters of your callsign. In this case, "Kilo" is sometimes replaced with "Kilowatt", "Quebec" with "Queen", "November" with "Nancy", "Oscar" with "Ocean", "Sierra" with "Sugar", "Uniform" with "United", "X-ray" with "Xilophon", up to remplace "/MM" with "stroke Mikey Mouse" or a suffix like "WC" with "World Champion" ! In France, some amateurs replace the number "Un" (one) with "Unité" (unit). As long as these "customizations" make your call easier to remember, I should say go with it but know that you are in violation with the edicted rules.

Character

Code

Character

Code

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

K

L

M

N

Alpha

Bravo

Charlie

Delta

Echo

Foxtrot

Golf

Hotel

India

Juliet

Kilo

Lima

Mike

November

O

P

Q

R

S

T

U

V

W

X

Y

Z

9

/

Oscar

Papa

Quebec

Romeo

Sierra

Tango

Uniform

Victor

Whisky

X-ray

Yankee

Zulu

Niner

stroke

The RST report

Characteristics of a signal, its readability, strength and optionaly its tone if you work in Morse code are transmitted using the RST code. The signal strength is usually based on the receiver S-meter reading, where readability and tone are subjective values. 

Each step of the signal strength double of intensity, beginning at 0.2 mV to end at 50 mV. Over 9 on the S-meter, the strength is given in dB, e.g. 59+10. 

In CW, the tone can be followed with a letter : X stands for cristal tone, C stands for chirp tone and K stands for clicks. The number 9 is often replaced with the letter "N" (for nine) and 0 by T. So "599" gives "5NN". 

In SSB, if you clearly heard the message give 59, if the signal is very weak and if you have to request the repetition or to guess words give 43 or so. Give 31 if you are not sure to have well understood, and in this case you could not confirm by QSL. Avoid to systematically give 59 or 599 if you do not understand all words or have asked your contact to repeat ten times his callsign ! 

At last, instead of giving a 59++ report if your contact is booming, do not hesitate to give him the real signal strength with dB (e.g. 59+20 dB), all the more if the station is DXing.

Here is the RST code :

Readability (R)

Signal strength (S)

Tone (T)

5 = Cleary readable
4 = Readable without difficulties
3 = Readable with difficulties

2 = Hardly readable
1 = Not readable

9 = Booming, very strong

8 = Strong signal

7 = Rather strong

6 = Good signal

5 = ...

4 = ...

3 = Weak signal

2 = Very weak signal

1 = Hardly audible

9 = Perfect

8 = Nearly perfect

7 = Quasi pure

6 = Trace of purring

5 = CC nearly well filtered

4 = Stable straight current

3 = Unstable straight current

2 = Alternate musical current

1 = Raw alternate current

The SINPO code

The SINPO code is used to define the quality of signals that you receive. It is mainly used by listeners (SWL) when they address their QSL to radios broadcasting on LW. It is however more and more often replaced with the RST report. Most broadcast stations emitting locally through all a continent arrive usually 55555, in excellent receive conditions with a signal over 59+20 dB, contrary to some remote stations located 10000 km away that can arrive at your antenna 33232 only (RS 56). 

Note that when you send a receive report to a broadcast station, in addition to your SINPO report, always add a comment about the emission listened (time, content, etc). 

Here is the SINPO code :

Signal

5 = Very strong

4 = Strong

3 = Moderate

2 = Weak

1 = Unusable

Interference (Man-made noise)

5 = Clear

4 = Light

3 = Moderate

2 = Heavy

1 = Severe

 Noise (Natural, static,QRM)

5 = None

4 = Light

3 = Moderate

2 = Strong

1 = Severe

Propagation (QSB)

5 = No fading
4 = Light fading
3 = Moderate fading
2 = Deep fading
1 = Unusable

Overall quality

5 = Excellent
4 = Good
3 = Moderate
2 = Poor
1 = Unusable

Useful acronyms and terms

In the course of a QSO, many operators are used to speak using acronyms, mainly in CW to fasten the QSO, or even neologisms. When working between close friends you easily understand what means your correspondent, but when working an unknown amateur, this special vocabulary can surprise you. So better to know the most used of these terms. Here there are : 

ATV

Amateur Television

SSTV

Slow Scan TeleVision

Break

Can I participate in the QSO ?

STN

Station

Big gun

Big antenna (very efficient)

SWL

Shortwaves listener

Booming

Very strong signal (over S9)

Traffic

The callsign

CQ

General call (I seek you)

TVI

TV related parasit

CQ DX

Call to another continent

TX

Transmitter

CW

Continuous wave or code work

VY

Very, much

DXCC

World countries as defined by ITU

WPX

The suffix of a callsign

DXing

Working a DX station

WX

The weather

DX

Other continent (other state in the USA!)

YL

Young Lady

FB

Fine business, very good

XYL

OM's wife

HI!

Hi (laughing, joking)

44

Happy celebration

OM

Old Man (licensed amateur)

51

Good DX

OT

Old Timer (> 20 years of practice)

55

Many QSO

Roger

Well received

73

Friendly !, The Best !

RTX

Transceiver (RX/TX)

88

Kisses

RX

Receiver

99

Leave the QRG

SHACK

Room where stands your station 

105

Good health

SRI

Sorry

144

The bed

SSB

Single Side Band (LSB, USB)

600 ohms

Telephone

Morse code

Today, thanks to the WRC 2003 conference, the Morse code (CW) is no more mandatory to get the amateur radio license. However, many amateurs (and some professionals working in the field) continue working with it, and not only OT but the young generation as well.

If you are interested in learning this code, know that many radio clubs or individuals can help you in providing audio tapes or training programs to run on your computer. Some clubs also give CW trainings to novices once a week or once a month depending on the size of the club. Alternately, you can learn the code at home at the rate of 15 minutes each day during a few months. At the end you will know the Morse code at 5 wpm if not faster.

Several programs are also available for free on the Internet (in this case to download from my website) : UFT and Kock CW Trainer to name two well-known methods. You can also get an on-line translation on Morse Translator or Traducteur de Morse for the French-speaking community. Name at last one commercial product, very complete and easy to use : NuMorse Pro.

Here is the list of the main characters used to communicate in CW using the Morse code :

Character

Code

Character

Code

Character

Code

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

K

L

M

N

O

P

. _

_...

_._.

_..

.

.._.

_ _.

....

..

._ _ _

_._

._..

_ _

_.

_ _ _

._ _.

Q

R

S

T

U

V

W

X

Y

Z

 

/

@

- (dash)

?

_ _._

._.

...

_

.._

..._

._ _

_.._

_._ _

_ _..

 

_.._.

._ _._.

_...._

.._ _..

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

0

. (dot)

error

start transmit

end transmit

._ _ _ _

.._ _ _

..._ _

...._

.....

_....

_ _...

_ _ _..

_ _ _ _.

_ _ _ _ _

._._._

........

_._._

._._.

 

Back to Menu


Back to:

HOME

Copyright & FAQ