The International Q Code system is an abbreviated way to exchange a great deal of information with a simple code. This was initially used in Amateur Radio during Morse Code transmissions, so standard short codes could simplify the transfer of information.
The Q Code consists of three-letter groups with each group having a specific meaning. Each group begins with the letter Q. These codes were found on the inside cover of a 1965 ARRL Amateur Radio Station Log Book.
Amateur Radio Q Code List
Q Codes can be used in two ways. If the code is asked as a question, or on CW sent with a question mark following the code, then the code will represent a question. Each of the lines below that start with a Q: represent the question form of the code. Codes sent as a statement represent you trying to state the information you send, and are represented by the S: lines. So, QRG? means “What is my exact frequency in kilohertz?” And, “QRG 7250” means your frequency is 7250 kHz, or 7.25 MHz.
Q: Will you indicate my exact frequency in kiloHertz?
S: Your frequency is … kHz.
Q: Does my frequency vary?
S: Your frequency varies.
Q: How is the tone of my transmission?
S: The tone of your transmission is; 1. Good; 2. Variable; 3. Bad.
Q: Are you receiving me badly? Are my signals weak?
S: I cannot receive you. Your signals are too weak.
Q: What is the legibility of my signals (1 to 5)?
S: The legibility of your signals is … (1 to 5).
- QRL *
Q: Are you busy? I am busy (or busy with….).
S: Please do not interfere.
- QRM *
Q: Are you being interfered with?
S: I am being interfered with.
- QRN *
Q: Are you troubled by static?
S: I am troubled by static.
- QRO *
Q: Must I increase power?
S: Increase power.
- QRP *
Q: Must I decrease power?
S: Decrease power.
- QRQ *
Q: Must I send faster?
S: Send faster … (words per min.).
- QRS *
Q: Must I send more slowly?
S: Transmit more slowly … (w.p.m.).
- QRT *
Q: Must I stop transmission?
S: Stop transmission.
- QRU *
Q: Have you anything for me?
S: I have nothing for you.
- QRV *
Q: Are you ready?
S: I am ready.
Q: Must I advise … that you are calling him on … kc?
S: Please advise … that I am calling him on … kc.
- QRX *
Q: When will you call again?
S: I will call you again at … hours (on … kc.).
- QRZ *
Q: By whom am I being called?
S: You are being called by …
Q: What is the strength of my signals (1 to 5)?
S: The strength of your signals is … (1 to 5).
- QSB *
Q: Does the strength of my signals vary?
S: The strength of your signals varies.
Q: Is my keying correct? Are my signals distinct?
S: Your keying is incorrect; your signals are bad.
Q: Must I transmit … telegrams (or one telegram) at a time?
S: Transmit … telegrams (or one telegram) at a time.
- QSK *
Q: Shall I continue the transmission of all my traffic?
S: I can hear you between my signals. Continue: I shall interrupt you if necessary.
- QSL *
Q: Can you acknowledge receipt?
S: I am acknowledging receipt.
Q: Shall I repeat the last telegram I sent you?
S: Repeat the last telegram you sent me.
- QSO *
Q: Can you communicate with … directly (or through…)?
S: I can communicate with … direct (or through…).
Q: Will you relay to …?
S: I will relay to … free of charge.
Q: Shall I send a series of VVV….?
S: Send a series of VVV.
Q: Will you listen for … (call sign) on … kHz?
S: I am listening for … on … kHz.
- QSY *
Q: Shall I change to … kiloHertz without changing the type of wave?
S: Change to … kHz. without changing type of wave.
Q: Shall I send each word or group twice?
S: Send each word or group twice.
Q: Shall I cancel nr … as if it had not been sent?
S: Cancel nr … as if it had not been sent.
Q: Do you agree with my word count?
S: I do not agree with your word count; I shall repeat the first letter of each word and the first figure of each number.
Q: How many telegrams have you to send?
S: I have … telegrams for you or for ….
- QTH *
Q: What is your position (location)?
S: My position (location) is ….
Q: What is the exact time?
S: The exact time is ….
- QST *
S: General call preceeding a message address to all amateurs and A.R.R.L. Members. This is in effect “CQ ARRL”.
S: Official A.R.R.L. “land SOS.” A distress call for emergency use only.
* indicates commonly used Q Codes.