CB radio users have their own lingo, including RST code, ten codes, Q-code, phonetic alphabet and slang. RST-code is used by amateur radio operators, shortwave listeners, and other radio hobbyists to exchange information about the quality of a radio signal being received. The code is a three digit number, with one digit each for conveying an assessment of the signal’s readability, strength, and tone. The code was developed in the early 20th century and was in wide-spread use by 1912.

NATO phonetic alphabet, more formally the international radiotelephony spelling alphabet , is the most widely used spelling alphabet. Though often called ” phonetic alphabets “, spelling alphabets have no connection to phonetic transcription systems like the International Phonetic Alphabet. Instead, the NATO alphabet assigns code words to the letters of the English alphabet acrophonically (Alfa for A, Bravo for B, etc.) so that critical combinations of letters (and numbers) can be pronounced and understood by those who transmit and receive voice messages by radio or telephone regardless of their native language, especially when the safety of navigation or persons is essential. The paramount reason is to ensure intelligibility of voice signals over radio links.

Q-code is a standardized collection of three-letter message encodings, all starting with the letter “Q”, initially developed for commercial radiotelegraph communication, and later adopted by other radio services, especially amateur radio. Although Q codes were created when radio used Morse code exclusively, they continued to be employed after the introduction of voice transmissions. To avoid confusion, transmitter call signs have often been limited to restrict ones starting with “Q” or having an embedded three-letter Q sequence. The codes in the range QAA-QNZ are reserved for aeronautical use; QOA-QOZ for maritime use, and QRA-QUZ for all services.

Ten(10)-codes, properly known as ten signals, are code words used to represent common phrases in voice communication, particularly by law enforcement and in Citizen’s Band (CB) radio transmissions. The codes, developed in 1937 and expanded in 1974 by the Association of Public Safety Communication Officials (APCO), allow for brevity and standardization of message traffic. They have historically been widely used by law enforcement officers in North America, although some departments have controversially attempted to prohibit their use.

CB slang (commonly called “CB Talk”) are terms that those operating CB radio used mainly during the CB craze of the 1970s and 1980s. Some of these slang terms are still in use with their original meanings, others not used at all and some have changed meaning.


When transmitting or receiving, it is very useful to be able to give and receive useful and consistent signal reports.

It helps to guide how to conduct the contact. To achieve this, a system known as the RST

reporting system is normally used.

As the name indicates, the RST reporting system is based around three numbers.

One is for Readability (R), one is for Strength (S), and one is for Tone (T). The tone is only used for Morse code transmissions.

The meanings for the different numbers are given in the table below:

Readability (S)

1 Unreadable
2 Barely readable
3 Readable with difficulty
4 Readable with little difficulty
5 Perfectly readable

Strength (S)

S1 Barely detectable
2 Very weak signals
3 Weak signals
4 Fair signals
5 Fairly good signals
6 Good signals
7 Moderately strong signals
8 Strong signals
9 Very strong signals


T1 Extremely rough note
2 Very rough note
3 Rough note
4 Fairly rough note
5 Note modulated with strong ripple
6 Modulated note
7 Near DC note but with smooth ripple
8 Near DC note but with trace of ripple
9 Pure DC note

Phonetic alphabet

A Alpha (AL fah)
B Bravo (BRAH voh)
C Charlie (CHAR lee *or* SHAR lee)
D Delta (DELL tah)
E Echo (ECK oh)
F Foxtrot (FOKS trot)
G Golf (GOLF)
H Hotel (hoh TELL)
I India (IN dee ah)
J Juliett (JEW lee ETT) (NOTE SPELLING: 2 T’s)
K Kilo (KEY loh)
L Lima (LEE mah)
M Mike (MIKE)
N November (no VEM ber)
O Oscar (OSS cah)
P Papa (pah PAH)
Q Quebec (keh BECK)
R Romeo (ROW me oh)
S Sierra (see AIR rah)
T Tango (TANG go)
U Uniform (YOU nee form *or* OO nee form)
V Victor (VIK tah)
W Whiskey (WISS key)
X Xray (ECKS ray)
Y Yankee (YANG kee)
Z Zulu (ZOO loo)


QHF : Are you going to the Hamfeast? I am going to the Ham
QRA : What is the name of your station? The name of my stati
QRB : How far are you from my station? I am km from yo
QRD : Where are you bound and where are you coming from?
QRG : Will you tell me my exact frequency? Your exact freque
QRH : Does my frequency vary? Your frequency varies.
QRI : How is the tone of my transmission? The tone of your tr
QRJ : Are you receiving me badly? I cannot receive you, your
QRK : What is the intelligibility of my signals? The intelligibility
QRL : Are you busy? I am busy, please do not interfere
QRM : Is my transmission being interfered with? Your transmis
QRN :Are you troubled by static? I am troubled by static
QRO : Shall I increase power? Increase power.
QRP : Shall I decrease power? Decrease power.
QRQ : Shall I send faster? Send faster ( WPM.)
QRR : Are you ready for automatic operation? I am ready for a
QRS : Shall I send more slowly? Send more slowly ( WPM
QRT : Shall I stop sending? Stop sending.
QRU : Have you anything for me? I have nothing for you.
QRV : Are you ready? I am ready.
QRW : Shall I inform that you are calling? Please inform
QRX : When will you call me again? I will call you again at
QRY : What is my turn? Your turn is numbered .
QRZ : Who is calling me? You are being called by

QSA : What is the strength of my signals? The strength of you
QSB : Are my signals fading? Your signals are fading.
QSD : Is my keying defective? Your keying is defective.
QSG : Shall I send messages at a time? Send messa
QSJ : What is the charge to be collected per word to inclu
QSK : Can you hear me between your signals and if so can I b
QSL : Can you acknowledge receipt? I am acknowledging rec
QSM : Shall I repeate the last message which I sent you? Rep
QSN : Did you hear me on kHz? I did hear you on kH
QSO : Can you communicate with direct or by relay? I can
QSP : Will you relay to ? I will relay to .
QSQ : Have you a doctor on board? (or is on board?) I ha
QST : Message to all radio Amateurs (also USA ham magazin
QSU : Shall I send or reply on this frequency? Send a series o
QSV : Shall I send a series of Vs on this frequency? Send a se
QSW : Will you send on this frequency? I am going to send on
QSY : Shall I change to another frequency? Change to anothe
QSZ : Shall I send each word or group more than once? Send
QTA : Shall I cancel message number ? Cancel message
QTB : Do you agree with my counting of words? I do not agree
QTC : How many messages have you to send? I have me
QTE : What is my true bearing from you? Your true bearing fro
QTG : Will you send two dashes of 10 seconds each followed
QTH : What is your location? My location is .
QTI : What is your true track? My true track is degrees.
QTJ : What is your speed? My speed is km/h.
QTL : What is your true heading? My true heading is degr
QTN : At what time did you depart from ? I departed from _
QTO : Have you left dock (or port)? I have left dock (or port).
QTP : Are you going to enter dock (or port)? I am going to ent
QTQ : Can you communicate with my station by means of the
QTR : What is the correct time? The time is
QTS : Will you send your call sign for minutes so that your
QTU : What are the hours during which your station is open?
QTV : Shall I stand guard for you on the frequency of kHz
QTX : Will you keep your station open for further communicati
QUA : Have you news of ? I have news of .
QUB : Can you give me information concerning visibility, heigh
QUC : What is the number of the last message you received fr
QUD : Have you received the urgency signal sent by ? I ha
QUF : Have you received the distress signal sent by ? I ha
QUG : Will you be forced to land? I am forced to land immediat
QUH : Will you give me the present barometric pressure? The


10-1 Receiving poorly
10-2 Receiving well
10-3 Stop transmitting
10-4 Message received
10-5 Relay message to
10-6 Busy, please stand by
10-7 Out of service, leaving the air
10-8 In service, subject to call
10-9 Repeat message
10-10 Transmission completed, standing by
10-11 Talking too rapidly
10-12 Visitors present
10-13 Advise Weather/Road conditions
10-16 Make pick up at
10-17 Urgent business
10-18 Anything for us?
10-19 Nothing for you, return to base
10-20 My location is
10-21 Call by telephone
10-22 Report in person to
10-23 Stand by
10-24 Completed last assignment
10-25 Can you contact
10-26 Disregard last information
10-27 I am moving to channel
10-28 Identify your station
10-29 Time is up for contact
10-30 Does not conform to FCC rules
10-32 I will give you a radio check
10-33 Emergency Traffic
10-34 Trouble at this station
10-35 Confidential information
10-36 Correct time is
10-37 Wrecker needed at
10-38 Ambulance needed at
10-39 Your message delivered
10-41 Please turn to channel
10-42 Traffic accident at
10-43 Traffic tie up at
10-44 I have a message for you
10-45 All units within range please report
10-50 Break channel
10-60 What is next message number?
10-62 Unable to copy, use phone
10-63 Net directed to
10-64 Net clear
10-65 Awaiting your next message/assignment
10-67 All units comply
10-70 Fire at
10-71 Proceed with transmission in sequence
10-77 Negative contact
10-81 Reserve hotel room for
10-82 Reserve room for
10-84 My telephone number is
10-85 My address is
10-91 Talk closer to the microphone
10-93 Check my frequency on this channel
10-94 Please give me a long count (1-10)
10-99 Mission completed, all units secure
10-100 Toilet stop
10-200 Police needed at

DX Code of Conduct

I will listen, and listen, and then listen again before calling

I will only call if I can copy the DX station properly.

I will not trust the cluster and will be sure of the DX station’s call sign before calling.

I will not interfere with the DX station nor anyone calling and will never tune up on the DX frequency or in the QSX slot.

I will wait for the DX station to end a contact before I call.

I will always send my full call sign.

I will call and then listen for a reasonable interval. I will not call continuously.

I will not transmit when the DX operator calls another call sign, not mine.

I will not transmit when the DX operator queries a call sign not like mine.

I will not transmit when the DX station requests geographic other areas than mine.

When the DX operator calls me, I will not repeat my call sign unless I think he has copied it incorrectly.

I will be thankful if and when I do make a contact.

I will respect my fellow hams and conduct myself so as to earn their respect.

1. I will listen, and listen and then listen again before calling.

This seems so obvious but it is the most vital thing to do. Careful listening rather than rushing to transmit will get the DX into your log. You must listen to find out whether the DX is working split and if so, where is he listening? Then you need to listen to the calling stations in order to determine what the DX station is doing. For example, he may be working gradually up or down the pile-up frequency range – and you need to find the best spot to call. And it may be time to ask yourself: “Do I really need to work this bit of DX, right now? Can I wait a while for the pile-up to subside?”

2. I will only call if I can copy the DX station properly.

You also need to listen carefully to determine how well you can hear the DX station to be sure you will hear his reply to your call and to avoid causing interference by

transmitting at the wrong time. It is extremely frustrating for a DX station to return a call to a station that is unable to hear him, thereby causing incessant QRM.

3. I will not trust the Cluster and will be sure of the DX station’s callsign before calling.

Cluster spots often show the wrong call sign. Before you log a station, you should hear the station’s callsign on the air – don’t trust spotting networks. The DX operator should send his call sign at regular intervals. Unfortunately, not all operators do this!

4. I will not interfere with the DX station or anyone calling and will never tune up on the DX frequency or in the QSX slot.

Sadly, this covers a multitude of operators, employing poor operating practices. We are frequently afflicted with “Policemen,” people who repeatedly jump in to tell callers that “the DX is listening up” – often adding a gratuitous insult. The rule is quite simple: never, evertransmit on the DX frequency for any purpose whatsoever.

5. I will wait for the DX station to end a contact before calling..

If you transmit before a QSO is over, you are likely to interfere with the exchange of information, lengthening the QSO and slowing the process. It may seem clever to “nip in” as the previous contact is ending but many DX stations don’t like it, as such operating may break the pattern of the operator, which is what helps everyone to know when to transmit.

6. I will always send my full call sign.

This is essential for CW and SSB, because incomplete calls lead to an extra transmission, slowing the operator’s progress with the pileup. If the operator is

responding to partial call signs, it may appear that you should call with only several letters. Generally, this is not the case. Always use your full call sign.

7. I will call and then listen for a reasonable interval. I will not call continuously.

Continuous calling is selfish and arrogant. With a computer or memory keyer, it is easy to send continuously. Unfortunately, it prevents you from listening and knowing what is taking place. In addition, it raises the QRM floor greatly, making life difficult for the DX station and everyone else.

8. I will not transmit when the DX operator calls another callsign, not mine.

Perhaps this is intuitively obvious, but it is a common occurrence. If it is clear that the station is not calling you, do not transmit.

9. I will not transmit when the DX Operator queries a call sign, not like mine.

In life outside amateur radio it would simply be considered rude to answer when someone else is asked a question! How do you know if the station is calling you? Perhaps the DX operator has a partial version of your call. Is it me? “The timing is right!” Yes, the timing may seem right, but it may also be “right” for many other stations. If the DX is actually calling you and hears nothing, he will call you again. Then you can call. Only one letter from your call sign is NOT enough, however. Calling when not being addressed raises the floor level of QRM and slows progress dramatically.

10. I will not transmit when the DX operator calls other geographic areas, than mine.

You must recognise and accept that when an operator is calling for a specific geographic area (e.g. NA for North America, AS for Asia ), you must not call until the operator’s instructions change. Even if his choice appears incorrect, you must follow his instructions. The DX operator is in control. Here’s an important point: If a DX operator is working, some area, perhaps North America , and he fails to say so between QSOs, do not begin calling immediately. Call only when it is clear that the operator’s instructions have changed. To do otherwise is impolite and simply slows the process.

11. When the DX operator calls me, I will not repeat my callsign unless I think he has copied it incorrectly.

If you repeat your call sign, the DX station may think that he has your call sign wrong. He might then listen very carefully – again – thus slowing the process. A DX operator will generally log what he has if you say nothing further.

12. I will be thankful if and when I do make a contact.

There should certainly be a pride of accomplishment when you get a QSO with a guy in a far-away entity. But before you start basking in the glow of accomplishment, think about the help you received from your partners, perhaps Mr. Icom, Mr. Alpha, and Mr. Force 12. If your ego still feels a need to take ALL the credit, try again. But this time turn off your amplifier and connect your rig barefoot to a dipole. If you get through the pile up this time, then YOU, as the operator, can take more of the credit.

You should also acknowledge that you would not have had the contact without the skill of the operator at the other end who undoubtedly made sacrifices to be there for you. So be thankful for all this help you received.

13. I will respect my fellow hams and conduct myself so as to earn their respect.

Respect is about behaving well toward others. DXing is very competitive. If you operate otherwise, you may acquire a bad reputation. DXing will be the most fun for everyone if we all behave with politeness, mutual respect and even a bit of humility!

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