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Q Codes for Radio Communication

Q Codes

The "Q" code is a standardized collection of three-letter message encodings, also known as a brevity code, all of which start with the letter "Q".  Q codes are commonly used in voice communications as shorthand nouns, verbs, and adjectives making up phrases. Q codes can be used to confer information, or when followed by a "?" used to ask a question.

Initially developed for commercial radio-telegraph communication, these codes were later adopted by other radio services, such as marine, aviation, and amateur radio.>  The codes are broken down into 3 catagories for use in different radio services:

  •  QAA to QNZ      For Aviation use.
  •  QOA to QQZ     For the Maritime Services.
  •  QRA to QUZ      Used in all radio services.


Q Codes QRA-QUZ - All Radio Services

QHF     Going to the Hamfest
QRA     Name of your station
QRB     Distance from my station
QRD     Departing & destination Locations  
QRG     Exact frequency
QRH     Is my frequency varying?
QRI      Transmission Tone
QRJ      Is my transmission poor?
QRK     Can you understand me?
QRL     Frequency is busy
QRM     Man-made interference
QRN     Natural interference, i.e. static
QRO     Increase power
QRP     Decrease power
QRQ     Speed up transmission
QRR     Ready for automatic operation
QRS     Slow down transmission
QRT     Stop sending
QRU     Have you anything for me?
QRV     Ready
QRX     Call again
QRZ     Called by ________.
QSA     Signal strength
QSB     Fading of signal
QSD     Keying is defective
QSG     # of messages sent at one time.
QSJ      International telegraph charge.
QSK     Break-in
QSL     Acknowledge receipt
QSM     Repeat last message
QSN     I heard you
QSO     A conversation
QSP     Relay message
QSQ     Doctor on board
QST     General call to all stations
   QSU     Reply on this frequency
QSV     Series of Vs on this frequency
QSW     Send on this frequency
QSX     I am listening on ____ frequency
QSY     Change/shift frequency
QSZ     Send each word, or group X times.
QTA     Disregard message
QTB     Confirm word count
QTC     Traffic, # of messages
QTE     Location - true bearing (# of degrees)
QTG     2 dashes, 10 seconds each, followed by my call sign
QTH     Location
QTI      Location - true track (# of degrees)
QTJ     Speed (km/h)
QTL     Location - true heading (# of degrees)
QTN     Departure time
QTO     Departure confirmation
QTP     Entering dock/port
QTQ     Communicate using International Code of Signals
QTR     Exact time
QTS     Send call sign so it can be measured
QTU     Hours of station operation
QTV     Monitor frequency
QTX     Keep station open
QUA     News of _______.
QUB     Information concerning conditions: visibility, clouds, wind
QUC     Number of last message received
QUD     Confirmation of urgency signal
QUF     Confirmation of distress signal
QUG     Forced landing
QUH     Current barometric pressure



For a list of Q Codes (QAA to QNZ) used in aviation see our Guide of Aviation Q Codes.