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.

 Abbvr.  Meaning
QRG Your exact frequency (or that of ______) is _________kHz.
Will you tell me my exact frequency (or that of __________)?
I am busy (or I am busy with _________). Are you busy?
Usually used to see if a frequency is busy.
Your transmission is being interfered with _________
(1. Nil; 2. Slightly; 3. Moderately; 4. Severely; 5. Extremely.)
Is my transmission being interfered with?
I am troubled by static _________. (1 to 5 as under QRM.)
Are you troubled by static?
Increase power. Shall I increase power?
Decrease power. Shall I decrease power?
Send faster (_________wpm). Shall I send faster?
Send more slowly (_________wpm). Shall I send more slowly?
Stop sending. Shall I stop sending?
I have nothing for you. Have you anything for me?
I am ready. Are you ready?
I will call you again at ______hours (on ______kHz).
When will you call me again? Minutes are usually implied rather than hours.
You are being called by _________ (on ______kHz).
Who is calling me?
Your signals are fading. Are my signals fading?
I can hear you between signals; break in on my transmission.
Can you hear me between your signals and if so can I break in on your transmission?
I am acknowledging receipt.
Can you acknowledge receipt (of a message or transmission)?
I can communicate with _________ direct (or relay through ______).
Can you communicate with ______ direct or by relay?
I will relay to ______. Will you relay to ______?
General call preceding a message addressed to all amateurs and ARRL members.
This is in effect “CQ ARRL.”
QSX I am listening to ______ on ______kHz. Will you listen to ______on ______kHz?
Change to transmission on another frequency (or on ______kHz).
Shall I change to transmission on another frequency (or on ______kHz)?
 QTC I have ______messages for you (or for ______).
How many messages have you to send?
My location is _________. What is your location?
The time is _________. What is the correct time?

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.

Voice Code Situation
Go ahead K Used after calling CQ, or at the end of a transmission, to indicate any station is invited to transmit.
Over AR Used after a call to a specific station, before the contact has been established.
  KN Used at the end of any transmission when only the specific station contacted is invited to answer.
Stand by or wait AS A temporary interruption of the contact.
Roger R Indicates a transmission has been received correctly and in full.
Clear SK End of contact. SK is sent before the final identification.
Leaving the air or closing the station CL Indicates that a station is going off the air, and will not listen or answer any further calls. CL is sent after the final identification.

There are two other codes often used by hams, that come to us from the old Western Union telegraph days:

"73" is Best Regards
"88" is Hugs and Kisses