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Amateur Radio Q - Signals

Q-signals are a system of radio shorthand as old as wireless and developed from even older telegraphy codes. Q-signals are a set of abbreviations for common information that save time and allow communication between operators who don’t speak a common language. Modern ham radio uses them extensively. 


The table below lists the most common Q-signals used by hams. While Q-signals were developed for use by Morse operators, their use is common on phone, as well. You will often hear, “QRZed?” as someone asks “Who is calling me?” or “I’m getting a little QRM” from an operator receiving some interference or “Let’s QSY to 146.55” as two operators change from a repeater frequency to a nearby simplex communications frequency.

 QLE    -  What is your expected signal?   The expected signal is low...



 QNI   -  May I join the net?     You may check in...



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

The name (or call sign) of my station is ...



 QRG  -  Your exact frequency (or that of ______) is _________kHz.
Will you tell me my exact frequency (or that of __________)?



 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   -  How many voice contacts do you want to make?

I want to make ... voice contacts.



 QRK   -  What is the readability of my signals (or those of ...)?

The readability of your signals (or those of ...) is ... (1 to 5).



 QRL    -  I am busy (or I am busy with _________).       Are you busy?
Usually used to see if a frequency is busy.



 QRM    -  Your transmission is being interfered with _________
(1. Nil; 2. Slightly; 3. Moderately; 4. Severely; 5. Extremely.)
Is my transmission being interfered with?



 QRN    -  I am troubled by static _________. (1 to 5 as under QRM.)
Are you troubled by static?



 QRO   -  Increase power. Shall I increase power?



 QRP    -  Decrease power. Shall I decrease power?



 QRQ   -  Send faster (_________wpm). Shall I send faster?



 QRS   -  Send more slowly (_________wpm).     Shall I send more slowly?



 QRT   -  Stop sending. Shall I stop sending?



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



 QRV   -  I am ready. Are you ready?



 QRW    -  Shall I inform ... that you are calling him on ... kHz (or MHz)?

Please inform ... that I am calling him on ... kHz (or MHz).



 QRX    -  I will call you again at ______hours (on ______kHz).    When will you call me again? 

Minutes are usually implied rather than hours.



 QRZ   -  You are being called by _________ (on ______kHz).     Who is calling me?




 QSA   -  What is the strength of my signals (or those of ... )?

The strength of your signals (or those of ...) is ... (1 to 5).



 QSB   -  Your signals are fading.            Are my signals fading?



 QSD   -  Is my keying defective?          Your keying is defective.




 QSG   -   Shall I send ... telegrams (messages) at a time?

Send ... telegrams (messages) at a time.



 QSK    -  I can hear you between signals; break in on my transmission. 

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



 QSL    -  I am acknowledging receipt. 

Can you acknowledge receipt (of a message or transmission)?



 QSM   -  Shall I repeat the last telegram (message) which I sent you, or some previous telegram (message)?

Repeat the last telegram (message) which you sent me (or telegram(s) (message(s)) numbers(s) ...).


 QSO   -  I can communicate with _________ direct (or relay through ______). 

Can you communicate with ______ direct or by relay?



 QSP   -  I will relay to ______.       Will you relay to ______?



 QST    -  General call preceding a message addressed to all amateurs and ARRL members. 

This is in effect “CQ ARRL.”



 QSX   -  I am listening to ______ on ______kHz. 

Will you listen to ______on ______kHz?



 QSY    -  Change to transmission on another frequency (or on ______kHz). Shall I change to transmission on another frequency (or on ______kHz)?



 QTC    -  I have ______messages for you (or for ______). 

How many messages have you to send?



 QTH    -  My location is _________.      What is your location?



 QTR    -  The time is _________.           What is the correct time?


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