Saturday, March 23, 2013


One of the things I had the most difficulty with when studying for the Amateur Radio tests was the Q-codes. There are a ton of them, and they don't really make a whole lot of sense. I have come to know what a few of them were since I started getting on the air, but there are others that are still a big mystery to me... But for now, here's the ones that I've decoded, I'll periodically edit this post to include more.

Q-codes are simply a 3 letter code, starting with Q, that means something. In my opinion, the most important two Q's are:

QSO- Essentially, this is a contact made with someone.
QSL- Usually this is a person either confirming contact, or wishing you to confirm contact.

I suspect these codes are more common in CW or digital than voice, but I do hear them in voice.

Wikipedia contains a huge list, I'm going to include what I think are the ones that are most important, or included on one of the tests. I recommend if/when you start CW transmissions, keep a printed copy of a more complete list, such as the Wikipedia entry, nearby.

In addition to these, I'm going to add a few common messages that Hams also use.

73- This basically means something to the effect "Best Wishes".
88- Love and Kisses.
YL- Young Lady- Used to indicate just about any woman involved with Amateur Radio.
XYL- This is typically a reference to the wife of a Ham.

Code Question Answer or Statement
QRL Are you busy? I am busy. (or I am busy with ... ) Please do not interfere.
QRM Do you have interference? I have interference.
QRP Shall I decrease power? Decrease power.
QRQ Shall I send faster? Send faster (... wpm)
QRS Shall I send more slowly? Send more slowly (... wpm)
QRV Are you ready? I am ready.
QSK Can you hear me between your signals? I can hear you between my signals.
QSL Can you acknowledge receipt? I am acknowledging receipt.
QSO Can you communicate with ... direct or by relay? I can communicate with ... direct (or by relay through ...).
QSY Shall I change to transmission on another frequency? Change to transmission on another frequency (or on ... kHz (or MHz)).

1 comment:

  1. I agree. They are confusing. I wonder how they originated and if there's some meaning behind them? It's much easier to memorize something that has some kind of logic. I wonder if anyone has come up with an easy way to remember them if there is no logical basis to the letters.