Ham Radio Abbreviations
Author: Frederick R. Vobbe, W8HDU
July 17, 2010
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The following is a copy of a sheet that I have carried around for years.

I'm the dumbest guy I know, and trying to remember this stuff on the spur of the moment has lead to many errors. So I have a small sheet that I keep nearby. Here it is...

RST or Readability/Strength/Tone System

1 - Unreadable
2 - Barely readable, few words distinguishable
3 - Readable with considerable difficulty
4 - Readable with practically no difficulty
5 - Perfectly readable
1 - Faint signals, barely perceptible
2 - Very weak signals
3 - Weak signals
4 - Fair signals
5 - Fairly good signals
6 - Good signals
7 - Moderately strong signals
8 - Strong signals
9 - Extremely strong signals
CW. (Not to be used with other modes)
1 - Sixty cycle AC or less, very rough and broad
2 - Very rough AC , very harsh and broad
3 - Rough AC tone, rectified but not filtered
4 - Rough AC note, some trace of filtering
5 - Filtered rectified AC but strongly ripple-modulated
6 - Filtered tone, definite trace of ripple modulation
7 - Near pure tone, trace of ripple modulation
8 - Near perfect tone, slight trace of modulation
9 - Perfect tone, no trace of ripple/modulation at all

PSK Reporting System

R1... 0% .... Undecipherable
R2 ... 20% ... Occasional words distinguishable
R3 ... 40% ... Very difficult, many missed characters
R4 ... 80% ... Not much difficulty, occasional missed characters
R5 ... 95%+ ... Perfectly Copy
S1 ... Barely perceptible trace
S3 ... Weak trace
S5 ... Moderate trace
S7 ... Strong trace
S9 ... Very Strong trace
Q1 ... Splatter over much of the spectrum
Q3 ... Multiple visible pairs
Q5 ... One easily visible pair
Q7 ... One barely visible pair
Q9 ... Clean signal - no visible unwanted sidebar pairs


Normally used on CW contact, they can be used on SSB and other modes depending on the circumstances. For example, if someone on a local repeater asks me if my name is "Fred", I don't say "QSL". I'll say "yes, you have it right", or "your correct". Answering "QSL" to a yes question constantly makes you look sort of .... odd.

  • Q-Sig / Message
  • QRA: What is the name of your station?
    The name of my station is ___.
  • QRB: How far are you from my station?
    I am ____ km from you station
  • QRD: Where are you bound and where are you coming from?
    I am bound ___ from ___.
  • QRG: Will you tell me my exact frequency?
    Your exact frequency is ___ kHz.
  • QRH: Does my frequency vary?
    Your frequency varies.
  • QRI: How is the tone of my transmission?
    The tone of your transmission is ___ (see CW RST)
  • QRJ: Are you receiving me badly?
    I cannot receive you, your signal is too weak.
  • QRK: What is the intelligibility of my signals?
    The intelligibility of your signals is ___ (see CW RST)
  • QRL: Are you busy?
    I am busy, please do not interfere
  • QRM Is my transmission being interfered with?
    Your transmission is being interfered with ___ (see CW RST)
  • QRN: Are you troubled by static?
    I am troubled by static ___ (1-5 as under QRM.)
  • QRO: Shall I increase power?
    Increase power.
  • QRP: Shall I decrease power?
    Decrease power.
  • QRQ: Shall I send faster?
    Send faster (___ WPM.)
  • QRR: Are you ready for automatic operation?
    I am ready. Send at ___ WPM.
  • QRS: Shall I send more slowly?
    Send more slowly (___ WPM.)
  • QRT: Shall I stop sending?
    Stop sending.
  • QRU: Have you anything for me?
    I have nothing for you.
  • QRV: Are you ready?
    I am ready.
  • QRW: Shall I inform ___ that you are calling?
    Please inform ___ that I am calling.
  • QRX: When will you call me again?
    I will call you again at ___ hours.
  • QRY: What is my turn?
    Your turn is numbered ___.
  • QRZ: Who is calling me?
    You are being called by ___.
  • QSA: What is the strength of my signals?
    The strength of your signals is ___ (1-Hardly perceptible, 2-Weak, 3-Fairly Good, 4-Good, 5-Very Good.)
  • QSB: Are my signals fading?
    Your signals are fading.
  • QSD: Is my keying defective?
    Your keying is defective.
  • QSG: Shall I send ___ messages at a time?
    Send ___ messages at a time.
  • QSJ: What is the charge to be collected per word to ___ including your international telegraph charge?
    The charge to be collected per word is ___ including my international telegraph charge.
  • QSK: Can you hear me between you signals and if so can I break in on your transmission?
    I can hear you between my signals, break in on my transmission.
  • QSL: Can you acknowledge receipt?
    I am acknowledging receipt.
  • QSM: Shall I repeat the last message which I sent you?
    Repeat the last message.
  • QSN: Did you hear me on ___ kHz?
    I did hear you on ___ kHz.
  • QSO: Can you communicate with ___ direct or by relay?
    I can communicate with ___ direct (or by relay through ___.)
  • QSP: Will you relay to ___?
    I will relay to ___.
  • Q-Sig / Message
  • QSQ: Have you a doctor on board? (or is ___ on board?)
    I have a doctor on board (or ___ is on board.)
  • QSU: Shall I send or reply on this frequency?
    Send a series of Vs on this frequency.
  • QSV: Shall I send a series of Vs on this frequency?
    Send a series of Vs on this frequency.
  • QSW: Will you send on this frequency?
    I am going to send on this frequency.
  • QSY: Shall I change to another frequency?
    Change to another frequency.
  • QSZ: Shall I send each word or group more than once?
    Send each word or group twice (or ___ times.)
  • QTA: Shall I cancel message number ___?
    Cancel message number ___.
  • QTB: Do you agree with my counting of words?
    I do not agree with your counting of words.
    I will repeat the first letter or digit of each word or group.
  • QTC: How many messages have you to send?
    I have ___ messages for you.
  • QTE: What is my true bearing from you?
    Your true bearing from me is ___ degrees.
  • QTG: Will you send two dashes of 10 seconds each followed by your call sign?
    I am going to send two dashes of 10 seconds each followed by my call sign.
  • QTH: What is your location?
    My location is ___.
  • QTI: What is your true track?
    My true track is ___ degrees.
  • QTJ: What is your speed?
    My speed is ___ km/h.
  • QTL: What is your true heading?
    My true heading is ___ degrees.
  • QTN: At what time did you depart from ___?
    I departed from ___ at ___ hours.
  • QTO: Have you left dock (or port)?
    I have left dock (or port).
  • QTP: Are you going to enter dock (or port)?
    I am going to enter dock (or port.)
  • QTQ: Can you communicate with my station by means of the International Code of Signals?
    I am going to communicate with your station by means of the International Code of Signals.
  • QTR: What is the correct time?
    The correct time is ___.
  • QTS: Will you send your call sign for ___ minutes so that your frequency can be measured?
    I will send my call sign for ___ minutes so that my frequency may be measured.
  • QTU: What are the hours during which your station is open?
    My station is open from ___ hours to ___ hours.
  • QTV: Shall I stand guard for you on the frequency of ___ kHz?
    Stand guard for me on the frequency of ___ kHz.
  • QTX: Will you keep your station open for further communication with me?
    I will keep my station open for further communication with you.
  • QUA: Have you news of ___?
    I have news of ___.
  • QUB: Can you give me information concerning visibility, height of clouds, direction and velocity of ground wind at ___?
    Here is the information you requested...
  • QUC: What is the number of the last message you received from me?
    The number of the last message I received from you is ___.
  • QUD: Have you received the urgency signal sent by ___?
    I have received the urgency signal sent by ___.
  • QUF: Have you received the distress signal sent by ___?
    I have received the distress signal sent by ___.
  • QUG: Will you be forced to land?
    I am forced to land immediately.
  • QUH: Will you give me the present barometric pressure?
    The present barometric pressure is ___ (units).

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