Amateur Radio Terms

The terms and Q-signals can be quite confusing for Scouts. We’ve listed the common ones here. You might also want to download and print out the Radio Scouting Quick Reference Card for use by Scouts on the air. You can find it at this link 



Amateur television. Sometimes called Fast Scan TV. Same as commercial TV.

CQ Jamboree or CQ JOTA

A request for any other JOTA station to answer my call.


A mode for sending messages by Morse Code.


Frequency modulation


Slang for amateur radio operator.


To record details of the contacts made for future reference. The log includes call signs, time, frequency, names, etc.


A group of stations who meet “on the air” at a specified time for a specific purpose.


A digital form of communications as in teletype but more reliable. Requires a computer, an interface box, and a radio transceiver.

QSL Card

A written acknowledgment that a contact has been made by amateur radio between the two parties. QSL cards are usually of the postcard variety.


Radio teletype.


A prearranged meeting “on the air” at a preset time and frequency.


The room where the amateur operator has his radio.


Single side band. A form of voice communications.


Slow Scan TV. A single frame shown like a still picture. Example: WX photo from satellite.


Terminal node controller. The interface in packet between the computer and the transceiver.


A transmitter and receiver in a single box.




Young lady (girlfriend)


Best wishes


Love and kisses

Q Signals

The “Q” Code was originally developed as a way of sending shorthand messages in Morse Code. However, it is still used by operators for voice communications. Some of those in common use are listed below.

QRA What is your call sign.

QRM I have interference (manmade).

QRN I am receiving static (atmospheric noise).

QRT I am closing station.

QRX Please wait.

QRZ Who is calling me?

QSB Your signal is fading.

QSL I acknowledge your contact.

QSO Are you in contact with__________?

QSY Change frequency to__________.

QTH My location is__________.

Phonetic Alphabet

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