Ham Radio Q Signals

Q signals are a common framework of Ham radio communication abbreviations that quickly provide terminology for useful procedural airwaves activity.

QRG     This is used to ask another operator “What is the exact frequency you are using?

QRL     Asked to find out if a frequency is busy.   You can remember this one because “R” is for Receive and “L” is for Listen.   Just think, “Is it OK to receive and I’m listening for traffic.”

QRM     This is generally used when either you or your contact are experiencing interference.  I remember this signal by thinking “Real Mess”.  After stating QRM you also provide a 1 through 5 number indicating the severity of the interference – 1 is less and 5 is extreme.   “It’s QRM at 3”.

QRN     Used to communicate a problem with static.  I remember the RN as “Really bad Noise”.   Once again it is a 1-5 scale.

QRO     Release more output.  Increase the power of the transmission.

QRP     Reduce power.  Dial it down.

QRQ     This signal is for speeding up data and CW (Morse Code) transmissions.  Speed it up.  Q is for quick.

QRS     Same as above but the S is for “Slow”.   Reduce speed of transmission.

QRT     Stop.  Don’t send.  Stop sending.

QRU     The U is for “You”.   I   have nothing to communicate to you or for you at this time.

QRV     I remember the V in this as “Vacation”.   Like…are you Ready?  Although it has nothing to do with vacation just think of something you would like to do and ask, “QRV?  Are you Ready?”

QRX     This is a scheduling code.   When are you or I available at the next time and frequency for another communication?

QRZ     Indication of someone calling me or I them.   “Callsign” QRZ available at such and such a frequency.”

QSB   “Signal fading”.   Remember this one with Signal Barely audible.

QSK     When two contacts are transmitting and someone else wants to break in this is used to communicate, “Yes I hear you.  Break in.”

QSL     This one acknowledges receipt of the transmission and information or whatever is sent.   It communicates that I have received what you have sent and asks if you have received what I have sent.

QSO     Open or direct communication is indicated or asked.   “Can you reach directly or via relay with so and so (callsign)?”

QSP     This is Relay only.

QST     The main Q Signal used for a transmission to all amateur radio operators.  Usually used before transmission on a Net.   Used to convey group information.

QSX     Easily remembered by the word “SeX”.  It doesn’t mean that but you have to remember these however you can.   It means, “I am listening to so and so (callsign) on such and such a frequency”.

QSY     Switch frequencies or “Let’s meet on a different frequency at (specify)”.

QTC     Defines a specific or number of messages that I have for you or you have for me that are waiting and ready to deliver.

QTH     Location.   “I am located (here, there, at this frequency) and where are you?”

QTR     Time.  “The current time is?”  “What is the correct time?”

Ham Radio Go Bag


Ham Radio Go Bag by Max Cooper provides relevant information on creating an individualized emergency communications kit for ham radio operators that is: Mobile, simple, relatively small, lightweight and effective. There are two main groups that this book will appeal towards. 1. Those who are preppers and/or survivalists looking to increase their ability to effectively communicate during a crisis. The information provided in this book will be one component of their overall plan. The radio items discussed may be incorporated into a traditional “go bag,” “bug out bag,” or to create a separate communications go bag. 2. Those new to amateur radio who are looking to obtain information on creating a stand-alone ham radio go bag. These individuals may not be as concerned with the “hobby” aspect of amateur radio or capabilities outside of emergency communications. These individuals also may not identify themselves as preppers or survivalists.