Additional Q Signals Needed for Repeater Use

In today’s amateur world, VHF/UHF repeater communications are commonplace but the use of Q signals in repeater communications is sadly diminished.

The use of “Q” signals is an amateur radio practice that goes back as early as 1915.  When Morse code was the exclusive means of communicating, Q signals were a handy way of shortening common sentences into three letter groups.

Q signals have changed with time but are still widely used in voice communications as a kind of shorthand, especially on the HF bands.  QSX originally meant, “Shall I change my spark frequency?”  Now we use QSY instead.

In the world of repeaters, we don’t QRM people; we “double”.  We don’t use QSB or QSA.  Instead we say you have full quieting or white noise or bacon frying (ugh!).  We rarely are at a QTH where we can QRT or QRV.  We are usually at home, work or some other place.  We no longer QRX, QSY or QRZ.  In the D-star world, we use R2D2  to describe when a signal loses intelligibility.

Q codes are an important aspect of amateur communications.  I use them liberally when there are non-hams visiting.  It helps to create curiosity about ham radio.  Usually, something like, “What the heck did you say?”

QSO’s on repeaters tend to have a lot more local and personal content, in order to revive the use of Q Signals on VHF/UHF, what we need is a set of Q codes more appropriate for this mode of communication.

Q Signals for Repeater Use:

QWK    Going to work.   Are you going to work?
QHO    Are you headed for home?  I’m headed for home.
QTF     Is traffic is bad? Traffic is terrible!
QBQ    Know a good BBQ place? I know a good BBQ place
QCF    I am going for coffee.  Are you going for coffee?
QGA    I am stopping for gas.  Are you stopping for gas?
QHG    Do you have gas?  Phew!
QBR    I need a beer.  Me too!
QHD    Going to Home Depot (Lowes, Ace Hardware, Radio Shack)?
QLT    Are you late?  I am way late!
QTO    Are you on the way to breakfast? QSL.
QNW    No way!   Way!
QDT    Done that. Been there (Interchangeable with QBT)
QBT    Been there. Done that (Another way to QDT).
QDW    That Doesn’t Work.  Yes it will.
QWW    That Won’t Work! (QDW with emphasis).
QHF    Going to the hamfest?  I am/am not going.
QIX    XYL is in the car. Don’t mention what I bought at the hamfest.  QSL?

Ron, K5HM

Ron Litt, K5HM, is a special contributor to and writes from Texas, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

9 Responses to “Additional Q Signals Needed for Repeater Use”

  • nb9a:

    Thanks for the laugh

  • Andy. NO6E:

    QCU: Some jerk just cut me off. Did some jerk just cut you off?

  • Matt - N0BOX:

    QQQ – If I wanted to decifer a bunch of codes, I’d TXT my kids!

  • Ron, K5HM:

    Thanks, I’ll add those to my list.

  • Peter KG5WY:


  • JIM, K4VBH:

    What about QFA (quit fooling around) and get busy! I’ve actually heard
    that well as QMA (kiss my armadillo)

  • Ralph WA2NTK:

    This is really just a joke right?? Take this crap back to 11 meters where it belongs. Most web sites you visit on repeater etiquitte po po the use of any Q signals on repeaters or HF. Ralph Amateur Extra the hard way licensed originally in 1960 when hams were real hams not appliance operators. If the shoe fits you own it, respectfully, 73 Ralph

  • Ron, K5HM:

    I’m sorry you feel that way Ralph. I was originally licensed in 1954 when real hams might have been even more real.

    My Elmer, who is also named Ralph, taught me few things when
    I was a Novice.
    1. Don’t lose your temper; its bad for one’s blood pressure.
    2. Life is too short to be taken seriously.

    I always liked that last one.

    73, Ron

  • Del aj4em:

    far be it from this new no-code Extra who’s rarely even used a repeater, much less an HF band, to tell the real hams what to do.

    But something I’ve read that made a lot of sense to me was, Q codes are for CW. Digital modes, sure, why not. When using phone, they make no sense. If you want to find out if some jerk just cut me off, the proper procedure is to speak in a normal tone across the microphone, “did a jerk just cut you off?”

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