Q-Signals & Prosigns
Q-signals are a system of radio shorthand as old as wireless and developed from even older telegraphy codes. Q-signals are a set of abbreviations for common information that save time and allow communication between operators who don’t speak a common language. Below is a list of the most common ones used by Hams.
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) recommends "the use of miscellaneous abbreviations and signals for radiocommunications in the maritime mobile service" and provides a complete list of Q-signals in their Recommendation M.1172, Miscellaneous Abbreviations And Signals To Be Used For Radiocommunications In The Maritime Mobile Service, available at http://www.itu.int/rec/R-REC-M.1172-0-199510-I/en.
Prosigns are used primarily in sending Morse code, or CW. They consist of two letters sent together as a single character and, when written, indicated by an overbar. Like Q-signals, they are used to greatly shorten and speed the transmission of common words and phrases. Some prosigns have also been adopted in digital text messages.
There are two other codes often used by hams, that come to us from the old Western Union telegraph days: