Chaz Cone

The "Q" Code

    The Q Code came into being internationally in 1912 to overcome the language problems involved in communications by radio among ships and shore stations of all countries.  The original list of fifty three-character "Q" codes adopted by international agreement contain many which are still used by Ham operators.

    In addition to being language independent, they provide more compact communications (once learned) especially when communicating in Morse Code (the mode radio operators call "CW" (for "continuous wave")).  While not as popular today as in the past, CW is a very enjoyable mode that many Hams enjoy exclusively.

    For example in CW, you could say, "I'm located in Atlanta Georgia" but it's more compact to say, "QTH Atlanta GA".

    Or, "I'm having difficulty hearing you because of static" becomes simply "QRN".

    Or, "Can you confirm this transmission?" because "QSL?".

    If used with a question mark, the Q Code is a question; if not, a response.

    Here's the list of the most common Q Codes in use today by Ham operators:

      Q CodeMeaning
      QRMIs my transmission being interfered with?  Your transmission is being interfered with
      QRNAre you troubled by static?  I am troubled by static
      QROShall I increase power?  Increase power.
      QRPShall I decrease power?  Decrease power.
      QRQShall I send faster?  Send faster
      QRSShall I send more slowly?  Send more slowly
      QRTShall I stop sending?  Stop sending.
      QRVAre you ready?  I am ready.
      QRXStand by
      QRZWho is calling me? 
      QSBAre my signals fading?  Your signals are fading.
      QSLCan you acknowledge receipt?  I am acknowledging receipt.
      QSOA contact
      QSYShall I change to another frequency?  Change to another frequency.
      QTHWhat is your location?  My location is ___.