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Message Format  Precedences  Handling Instructions  QN Signals  Q Signals  Abbreviations, Prosigns, Prowords

Every formal radiogram message originated and handled should contain the following component parts in the order given

I. Preamble

a. Number (begin with 1 each month or year)

b. Precedence (R, W, P or EMERGENCY)

c. Handling Instructions (optional, see text)

d. Station of Origin (first amateur handler)

e. Check (number of words/groups in text only)

f. Place of Origin (not necessarily location of station of origin.)

g. Time Filed (optional with originating station)

h. Date (must agree with date of time filed)

II. Address

As complete as possible, include zip code and telephone number.

III. Text

Limit to 25 words or less, if possible.

IV. Signature

CW: The prosign separates the parts of the address. separates the address from the text and the text from the signature. marks end of message; this is followed by B if there is another message to follow, by N if this is the only or last message. It is customary to copy the preamble, parts of the address, text and signature on separate lines.

RTTY: Same as CW procedure above, except (1) use extra space between parts of address, instead of ; (2) omit cw procedure sign to separate text from address and signature, using line spaces instead; (3) add a CFM line under the signature, consisting of all names, numerals and unusual works in the message in the order transmitted.

Packet/AMTOR BBS: Same format as shown in the cw message example above, except that the and prosigns may be omitted. Most AMTOR and Packet BBS software in use today allows formal message traffic to be sent with the "ST" command. Always avoid the use of spectrum-wasting multiple line feeds and indentations.

PHONE: Use prowords instead of prosigns, but it is not necessary to name each part of the message as you send it. For example, the above message would be sent on phone as follows: "Number one routine HX Golf W1AW eight Newington Connecticut one eight three zero zulu july one Donald Smith Figures one six four East Sixth Avenue North River City Missouri zero zero seven eight nine Telephone seven three three four nine six eight Break Happy birthday X-ray see you soon X-ray love Break Diana End of Message Over. "End of Message" is followed by "More" if there is another message to follow, "No More" if it is the only or last message. Speak clearly using VOX (or pause frequently on push-to-talk) so that the receiving station can get fills. Spell phonetically all difficult or unusual words--do not spell out common words. Do not use cw abbreviations or Q-signals in phone traffic handling.


The precedence will follow the message number. For example, on cw 207R or 207 EMERGENCY. On phone, "Two Zero Seven, Routine (or Emergency)."

Emergency--Any message having life and death urgency to any person or group of persons, which is transmitted by Amateur Radio in the absence of regular commercial facilities. This includes official messages of welfare agencies during emergencies requesting supplies, materials or instructions vital to relief of stricken populance in emergency areas. During normal times, it will be very rare. On cw, RTTY and other digital modes this designation will always be spelled out. When in doubt, do not use it.

Priority--Important messags having a specific time limit. Official messages not covered in the Emergency category. Press dispatches and other emergency-related traffic not of the utmost urgency. Notifications of death or injury in a disaster area, personal or official. Use the abbreviation P on cw.

Welfare--A message that is either a) an inquiry as to the health and welfare of an individual in the disaster area b) an advisory or reply from the disaster area that indicates all is well should carry this precedence, which is abbreviated W on cw. These messages are handled after Emergency and Priority traffic but before Routine.

Routine--Most traffic normal times will bear this designation. In disaster situations, traffic labeled Routine (R on cw) should be handled last, or not at all when circuits are busy with Emergency, Priority or Welfare traffic.

Handling Instructions (Optional)

HXA--(Followed by number) Collect landline delivery authorized by addressee within....miles. (If no number, authorization is unlimited.)

HXB--(Followed by number) Cancel message if not delivered within....hours of filing time; service originating station.

HXC--Report date and time of delivery (TOD) to originating station.

HXD--Report to originating station the identity of station from which received, plus date and time. Report identity of station to which relayed, plus date and time, or if delivered report date, time and method of delivery.

HXE--Delivering station get reply from addresses, originate message back.

HXF--(Followed by number) Hold delivery until....(date).

HXG--Delivery by mail or landline toll call not required. If toll or other expense involved, cancel message and service originating station.

For further information on traffic handling, consult the Public Service Communications Manual or the ARRL Operating Manual, both published by ARRL.

ARRL QN Signals for CW Net Use

QNA*--Answer in prearranged order.

QNB*--Act as relay Between ______ and ______.

QNC--All net stations Copy. I have a message for all net stations.

QND*--Net is Directed (controlled by net control station).

QNE*--Entire net stand by.

QNF--Net is Free (not controlled).

QNG--Take over as net control station.

QNH--Your net frequency is High.

QNI--Net stations report In.*. I am reporting into the net. (Follow with a list or traffic or QRU).

QNJ--Can you copy me? Can you copy ______?

QNK*--Transmit message for ______ to ______.

QNL--Your net frequency is Low.

QNM*--You are QRMing the net. Stand by.

QNN--Net control station is ______. What station has net control?

QNO--Station is leaving the net.

QNP--Unable to copy you. Unable to copy ______.

QNQ*--Move frequency to ______ and wait for ______ to finish handling traffic. Then send him traffic for ______.

QNR--Answer ______ and Receive traffic.

QNS*--Following Stations are in the net. *(Follow with list.) Request list of stations in the net.

QNT--I request permission to leave the net for ______ minutes.

QNU*--The net has traffic for you. Stand by.

QNV*--Establish contact with ______ on this frequency. If successful, move to ______ and send him traffic for ______.

QNW--How do I route messages for ______ ?

QNX--You are excused from the net.* Request to be excused from the net.

QNY*--Shift to another frequency (or to ______ kHz) to clear traffic with ______.

QNZ--Zero beat your signal with mine.

* For use only by the Net Control Station.

Notes on Use of QN Signals

The QN signals listed above are special ARRL signals for use in amateur cw nets only. They are not for use in casual amateur conversation. Other meanings that may be used in other services do not apply. Do not use QN signals on phone nets. Say it with words. QN signals need not be followed by a question mark, even though the meaning may be interrogatory.

International Q Signals

A Q signal followed by a ? asks a question. A Q signal without the ? answers the question affirmatively, unless otherwise indicated.

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 ______?

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 ______?

Abbreviations, Prosigns, Prowords

CW--Phone (meaning or purpose)

--(Separation between parts of address or signature.)

AA--All after (use to get fills).

AB--An before (used to get fills).

ADEE--Addressee (name of person to whom message addressed).

--Address (second part of message).

AR--End of message (end of record copy).

ARL--(Used with "check," indicates use of ARRL numbered message in text).

--Stand by; wait.

B--More (another message to follow).

BK--Break; break me; break-in (interrupt transmission on cw. Quick check on phone).

BT--Separation (break) between address and text; between text and signature.

C--Correct; yes.

CFM--Confirm. (Check me on this).


DE--From; this is (preceding identification).

HH--(Error in sending. Transmission continues with last word correctly sent.)

HX--(Handling instructions. Optional part of preamble.) Initial(s). Single letter(s) to follow.

--Repeat; I say again. (Difficult or unusual words or groups.)

K--Go ahead; over; reply expected. (Invitation to transmit .)

KN--Specific station answer only.

N--Negative, incorrect; no more. (No more messages to follow.)

NR--Number. (Message follows.)

PBL--Preamble (first part of message)

N/A--Read back. (Repeat as received.)

R--Roger; point. (Received; decimal point.)

SIG--Signed; signature (last part of message.)

--Out; clear (end of communications, no reply expected.)

TU--Thank you.

WA--Word after (used to get fills.)

WB--Word before (used to get fills.)

N/A--Speak slower.

N/A--Speak faster.

N/A--There is no CW equivalent.

FSD-218 (1/04)