Q signals

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KB4MNG, Aug 29, 2015.

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  1. VK5EEE

    VK5EEE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here is an easy format for CW QSO which we used to call a "Rubber Stamp" QSO... and for anyone starting out with going on air, it's a good formula, as you set the pace and the format, and are less likely to get unknown longer words and rag chew responses....

    First, call CQ at a speed you are comfortable with getting a reply at, or better, a speed a bit LESS than that: CQ CQ CQ DE VK5EEE VK5EEE VK5EEE CQ CQ CQ DE VK5EEE VK5EE VK5EEE PSE K

    The PSE K at the end is very useful, because if someone tuned in to you without hearing your CQ but only got your callsign, they will KNOW you were calling CQ, because only a CQ ends with "PSE K". Note: DURING a QSO if you want anyone to be able to break in and join in, send K at the end of your over, but otherwise send KN which means Go Ahead but No One Else. It's used less these days, but it serves a very useful purpose in Amateur Radio!

    Someone answers you, if you missed their call, send: QRZ? QRZ? DE VK5EEE VK5EEE PSE AGN K
    If they came back to you too fast send: QRZ? PSE QRS QRS K

    Assuming you have their call, your first over in a "Rubber Stamp" QSO would go like this:


    Why did I send W5BIB twice at the start? I don't have to, but it's a good idea, 1. the other station will know you got their call correctly, and they like to hear their callsign coming through so it won't matter if it is sent twice, if sent once they may not be sure if you got it and be less relaxed :) No need to send HOW DO YOU COPY? simply HW? is the standard. Do NOT send MY QTH IS ... as QTH already means "My location is...".

    When W5BIB answers, he's going to give you your report, his name, and his QTH. He may or may not add some more stuff like WX, RIG, ANT.
    Your SECOND over will go similar to this:


    Then all you need to do on the final final (third over) is dit dit :) or again if you like: 73 TU SU (Best wishes, thank you, see you).

    Don't send R if you did not receive. If you missed something come back with RST? or NAME? or QTH? Of course other options are GM, GA, GE, GN, GL, BCNU, 77, 88, 99 (99 = Get Lost!)...

    These types of "rubber stamp" QSO work very well across language barriers, and are less daunting to newcomers having first on-air QSOs. In Europe, due to language barriers, they are very common. In W/VK/G/ZL they'd be rare due to everyone speaking English, which makes it much harder for new comers to CW to get easy QSO without the other OM coming back with chat about his veggie patch, the price of mulch, what he ate for lunch, etc. :)
    N0NB, MM0HVU and W5BIB like this.
  2. N7ZAL

    N7ZAL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nice summary and the only thing a differ with is the ending of "SU." I've never done that myself and do use: SK

    In addition I do spell the state out repeat it, and the same for the handle. Foreign operators might not know those words well.

  3. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    In the merchant service, not all operators were hams. As a coastal station operator I learned that quickly !! (abt 2 days!) Most shipboard operators didn't even know what "73" meant. o_O Most comms with ships ended like this;
    ZGUF de WLO QSL NR4 CK146 BT NW NIL (QRU) TU See U (or SU)
    WLO de ZGUF RRR nil See U
    WLO/ dit dit
    ZGUF/ dit dit
    VK5EEE likes this.
  4. VK5EEE

    VK5EEE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes Bill you are right, I was actually being naughty inserting SU in there right at the end :) as it is almost ONLY used in practice in Amateur Radio by former marine OPs so actually, it should be "CU".

    I don't know though what you mean about spelling out "handle" in full? I can understand state, though I think that unnecessary in CW to spell out a state since in my experience foreign hams we too know if you send "WASHINGTON, DC" what comes after comma is a 2 letter state.

    When you say handle you mean your name, but I understand how you mean spelling names out in full? Because your name is your name and is always sent as such. Though many of us prefer a shorter version for CW/ham radio, for example I prefer to be called LOU so that's what I send in CW. Your name BILL is already short for William, so you wouldn't shorten BILL and surely wouldn't spell out WILLIAM in full? For any foreigner any name in CW is just letters anyway, and the shorter the better for them.
  5. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    As an afterthought,...
    Merchant shipping operators never used the "RST" system for signal reports.
    It was always QSA (1-5) and/or QRK (1-5):)

    dit dit
  6. VK5EEE

    VK5EEE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, and if you think about it, the RST system is too complicated. T is almost always 9. If it isn't 9, you can send QRI2 (your tone is variable) or QRI3 (your tone is bad), otherwise QRI1 (your tone is good) is most always the case anyway. If the signal is drifting, QRH. As to the Readability R and QRK are the exact same, but S and QSA, the Amateur is 1 to 9, and QSA is 1-5. S is not supposed to be given by what the needle says, but by what the signal sounds like, this is very clear from the descriptions of each S1 to S9. Nor is there really and "S9 plus". QSA5 is "S9+" basically Extremely Strong Signal, and QSA 1 barely perceptible, 2 weak, 3 fair, 4 good, 5 very good. With QSB a normal thing, Amateur S points are too difficult to give accurate, hence you are 55/57 QSB. QSA is much easier to remember and work out immediately: you can always give someone QSA 2/3. SO I'd even advocate an "Amateur" optional alternative system to RST, which would be Qxy whereby x is QRK and y is QSA. So if I want to send someone QRK4 QSA3 I can send Q43 rather than sending QRK4 QSA3 or RST 569/579. It's easier and faster to work out, I have to think less on a scale of 5 than 9!
    MM0HVU and W5BIB like this.
  7. KB1CKT

    KB1CKT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I used to send S based upon S meter, it was close enough; but on my new setup, complete with an RF gain, I usually don't have any S meter movement.

    I agree, the 1-9 really is overkill--either they are weak, moderate or strong. I guess that could easily be padded to 5 levels, just like R; but Tone probably should be an alpha. P for perfect, K for click, C for chirp, and D for drift. I have no ear for how to give a 1-9 scale for how good the tone is ("SRI OM UR TONE SOUNDS LIKE A TRIANGLE WAVE, UR RST 551"???).
    MM0HVU likes this.
  8. N7ZAL

    N7ZAL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I wasn't sure and thought it might have been a "VK" thing. :)

    I meant I send "name here is Bill, Bill, Bill." Repeating the name 3 times.

    Many do just send the state abbreviation, but I send the name of the entire state because I have had confused hams in the past mistake the abbreviation for the wrong state. It was standard OP here many years ago and I figure since the call areas are no longer sacred it makes sense...to me.

    Washington could be confused with DC if copy is difficult. Sure most foreign hams do know most states but I just try to err on the side of caution. However today with quick look ups via the internet it may not even be needed...but depends on the country I guess.

    We have ND, NC, NH, NJ, NY, NH, for example if if conditions are rough it might be easier to copy if the entire state is sent.

    Anyway, no big deal and I just offered what I do. :)

    A lot of the procedure I use is because I go back a while when QRM and general noise was a problem, filters not tight, etc...not so much today. Even today some foreign names are unique are unique to me.
    VK5EEE likes this.
  9. VK5EEE

    VK5EEE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thinking about it again, I would often prefer people did spell out the state in full. It is often a stressful part of the QSO trying to catch the 2 letters down in the QRM/QSB/QRN. I think your way of doing it is best, unless conditions are good or in a contest, but the rest of the world spell out QTH, or we used to... and usually three times ADELAIDE ADELAIDE ADELAIDE... where was the rush of today? But now when QSO with US hams I've taken (and others too) to sending ADL, SYD, MEL etc, as if we're under pressure to abbreviate, though perhaps also the assumption is U.S. hams know Ameristralia well enough after Oprah's visit? :) Better not start wondering things outside the direct topic area or I'll be wondering why we have such low power limits and low antenna restrictions in this wide open country with distant neighbours, none of who have this restriction, or why we pay $50+ yearly for licenses when it's free in England etc!
    MM0HVU likes this.
  10. W7UUU

    W7UUU Super Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I do frequently want to send "QLF???" but I refrain :)


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