The Telegraph Office

by Neal McEwen, K5RW

[email protected]

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Q Signals - 1909

taken verbatim from

Wireless Telegraph Operators
Working Installations licensed by
His Majesty's Postmaster-General
Revised Edition
October 1909


The following list of abbreviations has been prepared for the use of British ships and coast stations licensed by the Postmaster-General on the lines of proposals made at the International Conference at Berlin in 1906. They may be used in communication between British coast stations and British ships or between British coast stations and foreign ships equipped with Marconi apparatus, but not at present between British coast stations and other foreign ships, or between British ships and foreign coast stations.

In the use of these abbreviations, the signal employed should be repeated three times.

The addition of the mark of interrogation ..--.. indicates that the sentence is being put as a question.

Thus ---

"QRA QRA QRA Campania", indicates "I am the Campania."

"QRA QRA QRA ..--.." indicates "What ship or coast station is that ?"

Example of the use of this table between two stations A and B which have established communications:-

A. QRA QRA QRA ..--..  (What ship is that ?)

B. Campania.

A. QRG QRG QRG ..--.. (What line do you belong to ?)

B. Cunard. QRZ QRZ QRZ (Your signals are weak).

A. would then increase power and make QRK QRK QRK ..--.. (How are signals ?)

B. QRV QRV QRV (All right now).
Signal. Signification --- without interrogative sign. Signification when followed by interrogative sign.
QRA Here the _______ What ship or coast station is that ?
QRB My distance is _______ What is your distance ?
QRC My bearing is _________ What is your bearing ?
QRD I am bound for _________ Where are you bound for ? 
QRF I am bound from _________ Where are you bound from ?
QRG I belong to the ______ line  What line do you belong to ?
QRH My wave-length is _____ metres What is your wave-length in metres ?
QRJ I have _____  words to transmit  How many words have you to transmit ?
QRK Signals are satisfactory How are signals ?
QRL I am receiving badly,  please send 20 - for adjustment Are you receiving badly ? Shall I send 20 ...- for adjustment ?
QRM I am being interfered with Are you being interfered with ?
QRN Atmospherics are very strong  Are atmospherics strong ?
QRO Increase your power Shall I increase power ? 
QRP Decrease your power Shall I decrease power ?
QRQ Transmit faster Shall I transmit faster ?
QRS Transmit slower Shall I transmit slower ?
QRT Stop transmitting Shall I stop transmitting ?
QRU I have nothing for you Have you anything for me ?
QRV All right now, everything is in order Is everything in order ?
QRW Engaged.  Please do not interfere Are you busy ?
QRX Stand by.   I will call you when required Shall I stand by ?
QRY Your turn will be number _____ When will be my turn ?
QRZ Your signals are weak Are my signals weak ?
QSA Your signals are strong  Are my signals strong ?
QSB Your spark is bad Is my spark bad ?
QSC Your spacing is bad  Is my spacing bad ?
QSD My time is ______ What is your time ?
QSF Transmission will be in alternate order ----------------
QSG Transmission will be in series of 5 messages ----------------
QSH Transmission will be in series of 10 messages ----------------
QSJ Please give me your rate to ___________ Do you want my rate to __________

In addition to these signals, which, it will be observed, are uniform in construction, the following signals of the international telegraph code may be used in these communications:--
..--..    Repeat sign (as well as mark of interrogation)
...-.    Understood.
.-...    Wait.

For more information, visit the Telegraph Office home page

Neal McEwen, [email protected]