Q Signals

Q Signals
QUESTION FILE 25 (1 question)


These abbreviated three letter “Q” Codes were evolved by old-time telegraphy operators as a shorthand means for exchanging information about working conditions being experienced over the circuit in use. The 10 Q Codes listed here are only a few of the total list but are the most common ones actually heard on the air.

You will be tested on only 10 of the 40 or so Q Code messages that are used in amateur radio communication. You will need to memorize these Q Codes before your course starts.

Many can be used as a query, if followed by a question mark, e. g. QRM? QTH? or as an answer to a query or as a statement of fact with no question mark, e.g. QTH Auckland, QTH San Francisco etc.

All Q codes may be used while operating CW and some are used during phone transmissions.

QRL? Means “Are you busy” [25.6] Commonly means “is the frequency in use?”

QRM Means “Your transmission is being interfered with” [25.1]

QRN Means “I am troubled by static” [25.2]

QRP? Means “Shall I decrease transmitter power?” [25.7]
Without the query means “I am running low power”

QRQ Means “Please send faster” [25.10]

QRS Means “Please send slower” [25.3]
With a query could mean “shall I (or we) send slower?”

QRZ? Means “Who is calling me?” [25.4]
Commonly means “who is on this frequency?” if you were unable to copy a callsign

QSB As part of a signal report means “your signals are fading” [25.8]

QSY? Means “Shall I change to transmission on another frequency?” [25.9]
Without the query means “I am going to change frequency/up 5 (kHZ)/ to 28.459 etc.”

QTH? Means “What is your location?” [25.5]
Without the query “QTH Melbourne” means “my location is Melbourne”

A more comprehensive list of amateur radio Q Codes is shown below:

Q-Signal/Code Meaning
QRA [name]
QRA? The name of my station is [name].
What is your station name?
QRG [freq]
QRG? Your exact frequency is [freq].
What is my exact frequency?
QRH? Your frequency varies.
Does my frequency vary?
QRI [tone]
QRI? The tone of your transmission is [tone].
How is the tone of my transmission?
QRK [readability]
QRK? The readability of your transmission is [readability].
How is the readability of my transmission?
QRL? I am busy (or, the frequency is in use).
Are you busy? (or, is the frequency in use?)
QRM? Your transmission is being interfered with.
Is my transmission being interfered with?
QRN? I am troubled by static.
Are you troubled by static?
QRO? Increase your transmitting power.
Shall I increase my transmitting power?
QRP? Decrease your transmitting power.
Shall I decrease my transmitting power?
QRQ? Send faster.
Shall I send faster?
QRS? Send slower.
Shall I send slower?
QRT? Stop sending.
Shall I stop sending?
QRU? I have nothing for you.
Do you have anything for me?
QRV? I am ready.
Are you ready?
QRW? Please inform … that I am calling him.
Shall I tell … that you’re calling him?
QRX [time/freq]
QRX? I will call again at …
When will you call again?
QRZ? I am calling you.
Who is calling me?
QSA [signal]
QSA? Your signal strength is [signal].
What is my signal strength?
QSB? Your signals are fading.
Are my signals fading?
QSD? Your keying is defective.
Is my keying defective?
QSG [number]
QSG [number]? Send [number] messages at a time.
Shall I send [number] messages at a time?
QSK? I can work break-in.
Can you work break-in?
QSL? I acknowledge receipt.
Can you acknowledge receipt?
QSM? Repeat the last message sent.
Shall I repeat the last message sent?
QSO? I can communicate with … direct.
Can you communicate with … direct?
QSP? I will relay to …
Can you relay to … ?
QSV? I will send a series of V’s.
Shall I send a series of V’s?
QSW [freq]
QSW [freq]? I will transmit on [freq].
Will you transmit on [freq]?
QSX? I will listen for … on [freq].
Will you listen for … on [freq]?
QSY [freq]
QSY [freq]? I will change frequency (to [freq]).
Will you change frequency (to [freq])?
QSZ [number]
QSZ [number]? Send each word/group twice (or [number] times).
Shall I send each word/group twice (or [number] times).
QTA [number]
QTA [number]? Cancel number [number].
Shall I cancel number [number]?
QTB? I do not agree with your word count.
Do you agree with my word count?
QTC [number]
QTC? I have [number] messages to send.
How many messages have you to send?
QTH? My location is …
What is your location?
QTR? My time is …
What is your time?
QTV? Stand guard for me.
Shall I stand guard for you?
QTX? I will keep my station open for further communication with you.
Will you keep your station open for further communication with me?
QUA? I have news regarding …
Have you news regarding … ?
The R-S-T System or reporting radio signals:

1 – Unreadable
2 – Barely readable
3 – Readable w/ difficulty
4 – Readable w/ little difficulty
5 – Perfectly readable

Signal Strength:
1 – Faint
2 – Very weak
3 – Weak
4 – Fair
5 – Fairly good
6 – Good
7 – Moderately strong
8 – Strong
9 – Extremely strong

Tone (CW only):
1 – Sixty cycle AC or less, very rough and broad
2 – Very rough AC, very harsh and broad
3 – Rough AC tone, rectified but not filtered
4 – Rough note, some trace of filtering
5 – Filtered, rectified AC, but strongly ripple-modulated
6 – Filtered tone, definite trace of ripple modulation
7 – Near pure tone, trace of ripple modulation
8 – Near perfect tone, slight trace of modulation
9 – Perfect tone, no trace of ripple, or modulation of any kind

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