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Amateur radio Q Codes

Imagine that you have set up your portable amateur radio station in a National Park while on a family camping trip. In the evening the 15m band opens up with stations from all over the world. You find a clear frequency and call "CQ WWFF" for the World Wide Flora and Fauna award. A few calls suddenly turn into a dog pile as you are spotted on the DX Cluster. You efficiently handle the situation and sound like a pro by using amateur radio Q-codes.

Introduction

The Q-codes are all three letter codes starting with a Q to make them more distinctive. Operators use Q-codes during QSOs (on-air contacts) to report on the band conditions and their operating situation.

Q-code chart

Note: Interference is generally caused by other stations or electrical equipment. Noise is natural and is caused by the sun or electrical storms. Fading is environmental and is caused by daily changes in the ionosphere.

Preparation

  1. A copy of the Q-code table should be printed out and provided to each student. It is also available in our booklet.

Activity

  1. Use Q-codes in a question: Ask students to respond to the following questions. Their response is shown in brackets:
    1. Ask me if there is interference on your signal. (Is there QRM?)
    2. Ask me if there is noise on your signal. (Is there QRN?)
    3. Ask me if you can use low power. (Can I go QRP?)
    4. Ask me if you can go off and clear. (Can I go QRT?)
    5. Ask me if I am ready to operate. (Are you QRV?)
    6. Ask me to stand by. (Can you QRX?)
    7. Ask me who is calling you. (QRZ?)
    8. Ask me to change frequency to 7090. (Can I QSY 7090?)
    9. Ask me if there is any fading on your signal. (Is there QSB?)
    10. Ask me if I received you OK. (QSL?)
    11. Ask me if I would like to have a contact. (Can we QSO?)
    12. Ask me where I am located. (What is your QTH?)
  2. Use Q-codes in a statement: Ask students to make the following statements. Their statements are shown in brackets:
    1. Tell me there is interference on my signal. (There is QRM)
    2. Tell me there is noise on my signal. (There is QRN)
    3. Tell me you will use low power. (I am going QRP)
    4. Tell me you will go off and clear. (I am going QRT)
    5. Tell me you are ready to operate. (I am QRV)
    6. Tell me you are standing by. (I will QRX)
    7. Tell me your will change frequency to 7090. (I am QSY 7090)
    8. Tell me there fading on my signal. (There is QSB)
    9. Tell me you received me OK. (QSL)
    10. Tell me to contact you. (We can QSO)
    11. Tell me where you are located. (My QTH is ...)

Boy and girl operating a transceiver Boy and girl operating a transceiver

Homework

Practice Q-codes at home or with your friends. You can say: "QRX mum, I'm coming." or "I'm going QRT (to bed) now." or "QSL (I heard you)."