Morse Code Translator, Decoder, Alphabet

Phonetic Alphabet

A number of phonetic alphabets exist. The NATO version is most common and can be considered to be the “international” phonetic alphabet.

LetterCode wordPronunciation
AAlphaAL FAH
BBravoBRAH VOH
CCharlieCHAR LEE
DDeltaDELL TAH
EEchoECK OH
FFoxtrotFOKS TROT
GGolfGAHLF
HHotelHO TELL
IIndiaIN DEE AH
JJulietJEW LEE ETT
KKiloKEY LOH
LLimaLEE MAH
MMikeMIKE
NNovemberNO VEM BER
OOscarOSS CAH
PPapaPAH PAH
QQuebecKEH BECK
RRomeoROW ME OH
SSierraSEE AIR RAH
TTangoTANG GO
UUniformYOU NEE FORM
VVictorVIK TAH
WWhiskeyWISS KEY
XX-ray or
Xray
ECKS RAY
YYankeeYANG KEY
ZZuluZOO LOO
NumberCode wordPronunciation
0ZeroZE RO
1OneWUN
2TwoTOO
3ThreeTREE
4FourFOW ER
5FiveFIFE
6SixSIX
7SevenSEV EN
8EightAIT
9NineNIN ER

Morse Code

Morse code is a way to encode text through the generation of a carrier wave (CW). It is used to communicate over long distances or with low power (QRP).

You do not need to learn morse code to obtain a radio license or operate an amateur radio station anymore.

The code is composed of 5 elements:

  1. short mark, dot or ‘dit’ (·) — one unit long
  2. longer mark, dash or ‘dah’ (–) — three units long
  3. intra-character gap (between the dots and dashes within a character) — one unit long
  4. short gap (between letters) — three units long
  5. medium gap (between words) — seven units long

Morse Code

If you want a morse code Decoder, click here.

 

Q-Code

These codes were originally developed to shorten transmission times when using CW, but are frequently used in voice transmissions. (eg. I am going to go QRT, thanks for the QSO.)

The QRAQUZ code range includes phrases applicable to all services and is allocated to the International Telecommunications Union. NATO’s ACP 131(E), COMMUNICATIONS INSTRUCTIONS – OPERATING SIGNALS, March 1997, chapter 2 contains a full list of ‘Q’ codes. Other ‘Q’ code ranges are allocated specifically to aviation or maritime services; many of those codes have fallen into disuse as voice displaces CW in commercial operation.

The Q-code was originally instituted at the Radiotelegraph Convention held in London, 1912 and was intended for marine radiotelegraph use. The codes were based on an earlier list published by the British postmaster general’s office in 1908.[1] More information about the history and usage of Q-codes can be found here.

CodeMeaningSample use
Q Codes Commonly Used by Radio Amateurs
QRGExact frequencyHE TX ON QRG 14205 kHz
QRITone (T in the RST code)UR QRI IS 9
QRKIntelligibility (R in the RST code)UR QRK IS 5
QRLThis frequency is busy.Used almost exclusively with morse code, usually as a question (QRL? – is this frequency busy?) before transmitting on a new frequency
QRMMan-made interferenceANOTHER QSO UP 2 kHz CAUSING LOT OF QRM
QRNNatural interference, e.g. static crashesBAND NOISY TODAY LOT OF QRN
QROIncrease powerNEED QRO WHEN PROP POOR
QRPDecrease powerQRP TO 5 W (As a mode of operation, a QRP station is five watts or less, a QRPp station one watt or less)
QRQSend more quicklyTIME SHORT PSE QRQ
QRRTemporarily unavailable/away, please waitWILL BE QRR 30 MIN = THAT STN IS QRR NW
QRRRLand distressA non-standard call proposed by ARRL for land-based or railroad emergency traffic in situations where response from ships at sea (which listened for SOS) was neither needed nor desired.[2][3] Now deprecated.
QRSSend more slowlyPSE QRS NEW TO CW (QRS operation – a slower dot rate – is useful during weak-signal conditions; a QRSS mode uses an extremely low code rate on a channel less than 1Hz wide to allow reception under extreme QRP conditions)
QRTStop sendingENJOYED TALKING 2 U = MUST QRT FER DINNER NW
QRUHave you anything for me?QRU? ABOUT TO QRT
QRVI am readyWL U BE QRV IN UPCOMING CONTEST?
QRXWill call you againQRX @ 1500H
QRZYou are being called by ________.QRZ? UR VY WEAK (Only someone who has previously called should reply)
QSASignal strengthUR QSA IS 5
QSBFading of signalTHERE IS QSB ON UR SIG
QSDYour keying is defectiveQSD CK YR TX
QSKBreak-inI CAN HR U DURING MY SIGS PSE QSK
QSLI Acknowledge receiptQSL UR LAST TX = PSE QSL VIA BURO (i.e. please send me a card confirming this contact).
QSMRepeat last messageQRM DROWNED UR LAST MSG OUT = PSE QSM
QSNI heard youQSN YESTERDAY ON 7005 kHz
QSOA conversationTNX QSO 73
QSPRelayPSE QSP THIS MSG TO MY FRIEND
QSTGeneral call to all stationsQST: QRG ALLOCS HV CHGD
QSXI am listening on … frequencyQSX 14200 TO 14210 kHz
QSYShift to transmit on …LETS QSY UP 5 kHz
QTADisregard last messageQTA, DID NOT MEAN THAT
QTCTrafficSTN WID EMRG QTC PSE GA
QTHLocationQTH IS SOUTH PARK CO
QTRExact timeQTR IS 2000 Z

RST code

The RST code, in its original form, is intended for CW operation. On SSB, the final digit (tone) is normally omitted.

NumberR – ReadabilityS – StrengthT – Tone
RST Code Commonly Used by Radio Amateurs
1UnreadableFaint signal, barely perceptibleSixty cycle a.c or less, very rough and broad
2Barely readable, occasional words distinguishableVery WeakVery rough a.c., very harsh and broad
3Readable with considerable difficultyWeakRough a.c. tone, rectified but not filtered
4Readable with practically no difficultyFairRough note, some trace of filtering frequency
5Perfectly readableFairly GoodFiltered rectified a.c. but strongly ripple-modulated
6not usedGoodFiltered tone, definite trace of ripple modulation
7not usedModerately StrongNear pure tone, trace of ripple modulation
8not usedStrongNear perfect tone, slight trace of modulation
9not usedVery strong signalsPerfect tone, no trace of ripple or modulation of any kind

In CW operation, individual digits may be abbreviated by substituting as follows: 1 = A, 2 = U, 3 = V, 4 = 4, 5 = E, 6 = 6, 7 = B, 8 = D, 9 = N, 0 = T (for instance, RST 599 could be sent as 5NN – a shorter message in CW). These are referred to as “cut numbers” and are obtained by replacing all of the dashes in a CW digit with a single dash. Cut numbers are not suitable for transmitting data which already contains mixed alphanumerics, such as callsigns.[4]

RSQ code

Often used to describe reception and quality of digital modes such as PSK31

NumberR – ReadabilityS – StrengthV – Quality
RSQ Code Commonly Used by Radio Amateurs
10% copy – undecipherablebarely perceptible tracesplatter over much of the spectrum
220% copy -occasional words distinguishablenot usednot used
340% copy – readable with difficulty, many missed charactersWeak tracemultiple visible pairs
480% copy – Readable with no difficultynot usednot used
595%+ copy – Perfectly readableModerate traceOne easily visible pair
6not usednot usednot used
7not usedStrong TraceOne barely visible pair
8not usednot usednot used
9not usedVery strong traceClean signal – no visible unwanted sidebars

RSV code for SSTV transmissions

NumberR – ReadabilityS – StrengthV – Video
RSV Code Commonly Used by Radio Amateurs
1UnreadableFaint signal, barely perceptiblePicture unreadable
2Barely readableVery Weakpicture barely visible
3Readable with difficultyWeakReadable with flaws
4Readable with no difficultyFairVery good picture some flaws
5Perfectly readableFairly GoodPerfect picture no flaws
6not usedGoodnot used
7not usedModerately Strongnot used
8not usedStrongnot used
9not usedVery strong signalsnot used

In fast-scan amateur television (ATV), the signal-to-noise ratio is reported as one of:

P0 – all image detail lost
P1 – 3-8dB, barely legible
P2 – 8-20dB, definitely noisy
P3 – 20-35dB, somewhat noisy
P4 – 35-45dB, slightly noisy
P5 – 45dB+, no discernible noise[5]

CW Abbreviations

These abbreviations are commonly used in CW transmissions to shorten transmission times. Not all CW operators use all of them – most will use very few. As a general rule, most operators do not abbreviate unnecessarily, especially when communicating with an operator that they do not know or whose experience is unknown. In contest conditions, abbreviations are common as operators try to gain as many contacts as possible over the competition period.

AbbreviationMeaningAbbreviationMeaning
CW Abbreviations
AAAll AfterOBOld Boy
ABAll BeforeOCOld Chap
ABTAboutOMOld Man
ADEEAddresseeOPOperator
ADRAddressOPROperator
AGNAgainOTOld Timer
AMAmplitude ModulationPBLPreamble
ANTAntennaPKGPackage
BCIBroadcast InterferencePSEPlease
BCLBroadcast listenerPTPoint
BCNUBe seeing youPWRPower
BKBreak inPXPress
BNBetween, BeenRReceived, Are
BTSeparationRCRagchew
BTRBetterRCDReceived
BugSemi automatic keyRCVRReceiver
CYes, CorrectREFRefer to
CFMConfirm, I confirmRFIRadio Frequency Interference
CKCheckRIGStation Equipment
CKTCircuitRPTRepeat, Report
CLClosing Station, CallRTTYRadioteletype
CLBKCallbookRSTReadability Strength Tone
CLDCalledRXReceive, receiver
CLGCallingSASESelf addressed stamped envelope
CNTCantSEDSaid
CONDXConditionsSEZSays
CQCalling any stationSGDSigned
CUSee youSIGSignature, Signal
CULSee you laterSINEPersonal initials or nickname
CUMComeSKEDSchedule
CWContinuous WaveSRISorry
DAdaySSSweepstakes
DEFrom, From thisSSBSingle Sideband
DIFFDifferenceSTNStation
DLD & DLVDDeliveredSUMSome
DNDownSVCService
DRDeliveredTZero
DXDistanceTFCTraffic
ELElementTMWTomorrow
ESAndTKS & TNXThanks
FBFine businessTR & TXTransmit
FERForT/RTransmit/Receive
FMFrequency Modulation, FromTRIXTricks
GAGo ahead, Good afternoonTTThat
GBGoodbye, God BlessTTSThat is
GDGoodTUThank you
GEGood EveningTVITelevision interference
GESSGuessTXTransmitter, Transmit
GGGoingTXTtext
GMGood MorningUYou
GNGood NightURYou’re Your
GNDGroundURSYours
GUDGoodVFBVery Fine Business
GVGiveVFOVariable Frequency Oscillator
HHError sendingVYVery
HI HILaughterWWatts
HRHearWAWord After
HVHaveWDWord
HWHow, Copy?WDSWords
IMIRepeat, say againWKDWorked
LNGlongWKGWorking
LTRLaterWPMWords per minute
LVGLeavingWRDWord
MA & MILLSMilliamperesWXWeather
MSGMessageTXVRTransceiver
NNo, NineXMTRTransmitter
NCSNet Control StationXTLCrystal
NDNothing DoingXYL, YFWife
NMNo MoreYLYoung Lady
NRNumberYRYear
NWNow, Resume transmission73Best Regards

In 1859, Western Union standardized on the “92 code”, a series of telegraphic abbreviations in which numbers (originally 1 to 92) were assigned meanings.[6] (dead link, archive) These were later included as part of the “Philips Code”, a series of abbreviations first published in 1879 by Walter Phillips of the Associated Press for use in the telegraphic transmission of press dispatches.[7]

While most of the codes have fallen into disuse, the form 19 and 31 train orders remained in railroad use long beyond the end of landline telegraphy, the use of ’30’ at the end of a news wire story was continued through the teletypewriter era and the ’73’ and ’88’ greetings remain in use in amateur radiotelegraphy.

AbbreviationMeaningAbbreviationMeaning
Western Union codes
1Wait a minute.25Busy on another wire.
2Very Important.26Put on ground wire.
3What time is it?27Priority, very important.
4Where shall I go ahead?28Do you get my writing?.
5Have you business for me?29Private, deliver in sealed envelope.
6I am ready.30No more – the end.
7Are you ready?31Form 31 (permissive) train order.
8Close your key, stop breaking.32I understand that I am to ….
9Priority business. Wire Chief’s call.33The answer is paid.
10Keep this circuit closed.34Message for all officers.
12Do you understand?35You may use my signal to answer this.
13I understand.37Inform all interested.
14What is the weather?39Important, with priority on through wire.
15For you and others to copy.44Answer promptly by wire.
17Lightning here.55Important.
18What’s the trouble?73Best Regards.
19Form 19 (absolute) train order.77I have a message for you.
21Stop for meal.88Love and kisses.
22Wire test.91Superintendent’s signal.
23All stations copy.92Deliver Promptly.
24Repeat this back.134Who is at the key?

Two non-standard codes, rarely-used, were coined within the amateur radiotelegraph service. The Young Ladies Radio League (YLRL) organized in 1939 and quickly coined ’33’ as “Love sealed with mutual respect and friendship between one YL and another YL”.[8] More recently, ’72’ has been used in QRP operation to signify a ’73’ sent with reduced transmitter power.

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