What Are Q-Codes

The international Q-codes are a collection of abbreviations that was created to simplify Morse code communications.

Each individual code is comprised of three letters always prefixed with a “Q” hence the name of “Q-codes”.
The codes are structured in such a way so that it may be used as either a question or an answer (or statement).

The Amateur radio Q-Codes are only a small subset of the full international Q-code set which includes codes for nautical and aeronautical purposes.
These additional codes are not included as they are beyond the scope of this article.

Amateur radio informal Q-code

Quite often Q-codes are used by amateurs in an informal manner, the original meaning being slightly altered. Scroll down for the original version of the Q-codes.

Q Code Formal meaning
QRA Name
QRB Distance
QRG Frequency
QRK Intelligibility
QRL Busy
QRM Interference
QRN Noise
QRO High power
QRP Low power
QRQ High speed CW
QRS Low speed CW
QRSS Very low speed CW
QRT Shut down the station
QRV Ready
QRX Stand by
QRZ? Who is calling me?
QSB Fading
QSD Defective keying
QSK Break in
QSL Confirmation or card to confirm contact
QSO Radio contact
QSY Change frequency
QTC Message
QTH Location
QTR Time

International Q-Codes

The original set of Q codes are listed below.

Code Used as a question Used as an answer or statement
QRA What is the name (or callsign) of your station? The name (or callsign) of my station is …
QRB How far are you from my station? The distance between our stations is … nautical miles (or km)
QRG Will you tell me my exact frequency (or that of …)? Your exact frequency (or that of … ) is … kHz (or MHz)
QRH Does my frequency vary? Your frequency varies
QRI How is the tone of my transmission? The tone of your transmission is (1: good, 2: variable 3: bad)
QRK What is the readability of my signals (or those of …)? The readability of your signals (or those of …) is … (1: bad … 5: excellent)
QRL Are you busy? I am busy. (or I am busy with … ) Please do not interfere
QRM Do you have interference? I have interference
QRN Are you troubled by static noise? I am troubled by static noise
QRO Shall I increase transmit power? Please increase transmit power
QRP Shall I decrease transmit power? Please decrease transmit power
QRQ Shall I send faster? Please send faster (… words per minute)
QRS Shall I send more slowly? Please send more slowly (… words per minute)
QRT Shall I cease or suspend operation? I am suspending operation
QRU Have you anything for me? I have nothing for you
QRV Are you ready? I am ready
QRX Shall I standby? / When will you call me again? Please standby. / I will call you again at … (hours) on … kHz (or MHz)
QRZ Who is calling me? You are being called by …
QSA What is the strength of my signals (or those of … )? The strength of your signals (or those of …) is … (1: very weak .. 5: very strong).
QSB Are my signals fading? Your signals are fading
QSD Is my keying defective? Your keying is defective
QSK Can you hear me between your signals (while transmitting), and if so can I break in on your transmission? I can hear you between my signals (while transmitting); 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, or some previous message? Repeat the last message which you sent me
QSN Did you hear me (or …) on … kHz (or MHz)? I did hear you (or …) on … kHz (or MHz)
QSO Can you communicate with … direct or by relay? I can communicate with … direct (or by relay through …)
QSP Will you relay a message to …? I will relay a message to … .
QSS What working frequency will you use? I will use … kHz (or MHz)
QSU Shall I send or reply on this frequency (or on … kHz (or MHz))? Please send or reply on this frequency (or on … kHz (or MHz)).
QSV Shall I send a series of "V" on this frequency? Please send a series of "V" on this frequency
QSX Will you listen to … on … kHz (or MHz)? I am listening to … on … kHz (or MHz).
QSY Shall I change transmission frequency (to … kHz (or MHz))? Please change transmission frequency (to … kHz (or MHz)).
QSZ Shall I send each word or group more than once? Send each word or group twice (or … times).
QTC How many telegrams (messages) have you to send? I have … telegrams (messages) for you (or for …).
QTH What is your position in latitude and longitude (or according to any other indication)? My position is … latitude, … longitude
QTR What is the correct time? The correct time is … hours
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