Standard ITU Phonetics

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) phonetic alphabet is generally understood by hams in all countries. It is used when signing your call or passing information that must be spelled out. For example, K9IU should sign Kilo Nine India Uniform.


A - Alpha B - Bravo C - Charlie D - Delta
E - Echo F - Foxtrot G - Golf H - Hotel
I - India J - Juliet K - Kilo L - Lima
M - Mike N - November O - Oscar P - Papa
Q - Quebec R - Romeo S - Sierra T - Tango
U - Uniform V - Victor W - Whiskey X - X-Ray
Y - Yankee Z - Zulu    


RST Explained

RST stands for Readability, Signal Strength and Tone. On CW all three codes are used for a report such as 599 which means perfectly readable, extremely strong, and perfect tone. On phone only the first two codes are used or. A report might be 55 meaning perfectly readable, fairly good signals. In operation the signal strength is often taken from a reading on the S-meter.

2--Barely readable, occasional words distinguishable.
3--Readable with considerable difficulty.
4--Readable with practically no difficulty.
5--Perfectly readable.



Signal Strength
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.
1--Sixty cycle a.c or less, very rough and broad.
2--Very rough a.c., very harsh and broad.
3--Rough a.c. tone, rectified but not filtered.
4--Rough note, some trace of filtering.
5--Filtered rectified a.c. 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.

Q Signals Explained

Q signals are used primarily in CW and Rtty. They provide an abbreviated way of asking a question or making a statement. A Q signal followed by a question mark (?) asks a question. A Q signal without the ? answers the question or makes the statement. The following are Q signals commonly used by CW operators world wide.

QRA--What is the name of your station
QRG--What's my exact frequency
QRH--Does my frequency vary
QRI--How is my tone (1-3)
QRK--What is my signal intelligibility (1-5)
QRL--Are you busy
QRM--Is my transmission being interfered with
QRN--Are you troubled by static
QRO--Shall I increase transmitter power
QRP--Shall I decrease transmitter power
QRQ--Shall I send faster
QRS--Shall I send slower
QRT--Shall I stop sending
QRU--Have you anything for me (Answer in negative)
QRV--Are you ready
QRW--Shall I tell ______ you're calling him
QRX--When will you call again
QRZ--Who is calling me
QSA--What is my signal strength (1-5)
QSB--Are my signals fading


QSD--Is my keying defective
QSG--Shall I send ______ messages at a time
QSK--Can you work breakin
QSL--Can you acknowledge receipt
QSM--Shall I repeat the last message sent
QSO--Can you communicate with ______ direct
QSP--Will you relay to ______
QST--General call preceding a message addressed to all amateurs and ARRL memebers
QSV--Shall I send a series of V's
QSW--Will you transmit on ______
QSX--Will you listen for ______ on ______
QSY--Shall I change frequency
QSZ--Shall I send each word/group more than once (Answer, send twice or ______)
QTA--Shall I cancel number ______
QTB--Do you agree with my word count (Answer negative)
QTC--How many messages have you to send
QTH--What is your location
QTR--What is your time
QTV--Shall I stand guard for you ______
QTX--Will you keep your station open for further communication with me
QUA--Have you news of ______