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Ever thought about Q Signals? – Ron K5HM

September 10th, 2018

In today’s amateur world, VHF/UHF repeater communications are commonplace but the use of Q signals in repeater communications is sadly diminished.

The use of “Q” signals is an amateur radio practice that goes back as early as 1915. When Morse code was the exclusive means of communicating, Q signals were a handy way of shortening common sentences into three letter groups.

Q signals have changed with time but are still widely used in voice communications as a kind of shorthand, especially on the HF bands. QSX originally meant, “Shall I change my spark frequency?” Now we use QSY instead.

In the world of repeaters, we don’t QRM people; we “double”. We don’t use QSB or QSA. Instead we say you have full quieting or white noise or bacon frying (ugh!). We rarely are at a QTH where we can QRT or QRV. We are usually at home, work or some other place. We no longer QRX, QSY or QRZ. In the D-star world, we use R2D2 to describe when a signal loses intelligibility.

Q codes are an important aspect of amateur communications. I use them liberally when there are non-hams visiting. It helps to create curiosity about ham radio. Usually, something like, “What the heck did you say?”

QSO’s on repeaters tend to have a lot more local and personal content. In order to revive the use of Q Signals on VHF/UHF, what we need is a set of Q codes more appropriate for this mode of communication.

Some Unique Q Signals for Repeater Use

QWK Going to work. Are you going to work?

QHO Are you headed for home? I’m headed for home.

QTF Is traffic is bad? Traffic is terrible!

QBQ Know a good BBQ place? I know a good BBQ place

QCF I am going for coffee. Are you going for coffee?

QGA I am stopping for gas. Are you stopping for gas?

QHG Did you just pass gas? Phew!

QBR I need a beer. Me too!

QHD Going to Home Depot (Lowes, Ace Hardware, Radio Shack)?

QLT Are you late? I am way late!

QTO Are you on the way to breakfast? QSL.

QNW No way! Way!

QDT Done that. Been there (Interchangeable with QBT)

QBT Been there. Done that (Another way to QDT).

QDW That Doesn’t Work. Yes it will.

QWW That Won’t Work! (QDW with emphasis).

QHF Going to the hamfest? I am/am not going.

QIX XYL is in the car. Don’t mention what I bought at the hamfest. QSL?

Reporting from the Dark Side,

Ron Litt. K5HM

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