Ham Radio Codes & Abbreviations

Details of the key codes and abbreviations used within amateur radio.

Codes & abbreviations includes:
Summary     Abbreviations     RST code     Q code     Phonetic alphabet    

There is a variety of codes and abbreviations that are used within the field of amateur radio or ham radio.

These ham radio abbreviations and codes enable information to be transmitted quickly and efficiently with the minimum chance of errors resulting from them being misinterpreted.

There are several sets of codes and abbreviations that are in common use.

  • Abbreviations:   There are very many abbreviations that are used within amateur radio, when using audio transmissions from AM to SSB, FM and digitised audio modes. The greatest use is within Morse of CW contacts where these abbreviations enable messages to be sent very much faster. Access a list of Amateur radio abbreviations
  • RST signal reporting:   The RST code - readability, strength and tone code was developed to give a consistent signal reporting system for use when making contacts of all types. It is particularly useful because it gives the transmitting station an indication of how signals are being received, and therefore how the contact should be conducted. Access a list of Amateur radio abbreviations
  • Q code:   The Ham radio Q code is a subset of a very much larger set of codes that is used by a variety of radio services from maritime, to aeronautical and much more. Access a list of Amateur radio Q codes
  • Phonetic alphabet:   The phonetic alphabet or radio phonetic alphabet is used to spell out words in a way that the letters can be understood. With letters like 'P' and 'B' sounding similar, it is very easy over a radio channel to misunderstand them. The use of the phonetic alphabet overcomes this problem. Access a list of Radio phonetic alphabet

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