International Phonetic Code, International
Morse Code, Q codes, etc.
INTERNATIONAL PHONETIC ALPHABET
The phonetic alphabet shown is
that promulgated by the ICAO and subsequently adopted by many other
international organizations. Note that these are basically English
words as English is the default international language for aeronautics,
shipping, and for military use. The spellings for Juliett and
Alfa are concessions to non-English speakers in order to facilitate standardized
pronunciation. Having said that, it remains true that there is
considerable variation in pronunciation just as there are within English itself;
but at least two actual mispronunciations are common: "kwebec"
instead of "kebec" and "gulf" instead of "golf"
INTERNATIONAL MORSE CODE
This code has fallen out of
general use for communications with the advent of newer technologies but is
still used by amateur radio operators and is as well still employed for the
identification of aero and marine beacons and other radio navigation facilities.
Additionally it is often used by automated station identification systems in the
land fixed and mobile services. For example the Morse code renditions of
the official call signs of sites in the NS TMR may be heard transmitted from
time to time if you listen in conventional mode. These are not heard in
In this table special character
letters are omitted for the time being.
COMMON PROCEDURAL WORDS AND
EXPRESSIONS USED IN RADIO
These could be considered parts of codes
but are more commonly thought of as individual items rather than parts of a
CW indicates it is used in radiotelegraphy.
W indicates a sort of shorthand in written expression. V indicates used by
This list is only of a few common
expressions and excludes all technical terms and abbreviations.
||"Calling all stations"*
|| "from" or "this is"
(this is only used with CW)
||Weather (Wx is not spoken as such, it is just
a written abbreviation; same with the next 3)
||transmission ended and waiting for reply.
||transmission ended and not expecting a reply.
||Safety traffic not of a higher level.
* In amateur radio it implies calling anyone who wants to
**sent as one character, not three letters:
Q Codes Commonly Used by
Three letter Q codes
were at one time common in radiotelegraphy, especially in the
maritime service and in meterorology. Here are some still
used in amateur radio morse code usage and in some cases used as
spoken expressions. For more explanation as well as more
complete lists search Q codes in Google.
||Answer or Statement
||Will you tell me my
exact frequency (or that of ...)?
||Your exact frequency
(or that of ... ) is ... kHz (or MHz).
||How is the tone of
||The tone of your
transmission is (1. Good; 2. Variable; 3. Bad)
||What is the
readability of my signals (or those of ...)?
||The readability of
your signals (or those of ...) is ... (1 to 5).
||Are you busy?
||I am busy. (or I am
busy with ... ) Please do not interfere.
||Are you being
||I am being
||Are you troubled by
||I am troubled by
||Shall I increase
||Shall I decrease
||Shall I send faster?
||Send faster (...
||Shall I send slower?
||Send slower (...
||Shall I stop
||Have you anything
||I have nothing for
||Are you ready?
||I am ready.
||Will you call me
||I will call you
again at ... (hours) on ... kHz (or MHz)
||Who is calling me?
||You are being called
by ... on ... kHz (or MHz)
||What is the strength
of my signals (or those of ... )?
||The strength of your
signals (or those of ...) is ... (1 to 5).
||Are my signals
||Your signals are
||Is my keying
||Your keying is
||Can you hear me
between your signals?
||I can hear you
between my signals.
||Can you acknowledge
||I am acknowledging
||Shall I repeat the
last telegram (message) which I sent you, or some
previous telegram (message)?
||Repeat the last
telegram (message) which you sent me (or telegram(s) (message(s))
||Did you hear me (or
... (call sign)) on .. kHz (or MHz)?
||I did hear you (or
... (call sign)) on ... kHz (or MHz).
||Can you communicate
with ... direct or by relay?
||I can communicate
with ... direct (or by relay through ...).
||Will you listen to
... (call sign(s) on ... kHz (or MHz))?
||I am listening to
... (call sign(s) on ... kHz (or MHz))
||Shall I change to
transmission on another frequency?
transmission on another frequency (or on ... kHz (or
||Shall I cancel
telegram (message) No. ... as if it had not been sent?
(message) No. ... as if it had not been sent.
||How many telegrams
(messages) have you to send?
||I have ... telegrams
(messages) for you (or for ...).
||What is your
position in latitude and longitude (or according to any
||My position is ...
||What is the correct
||The correct time is
Ten codes are used in the land-based
radio services including emergency services, government and business, as well as
in the CB personal use band. These vary considerably from agency to
agency; however some are almost consistent in usage such as 10-4 and 10-20.
Some users think of them as a sort of private jargon or code that helps to keep
meanings of transmissions secret or secure but this is in general not true at
all. Many of the 10-codes are well known, and most others
are of little consequence if outsiders overhear and understand them.
The main purpose of 10 codes was originally to reduce time on the air used in
expressing common phrases. The ``Ten`` prefix supposedly comes from the
original user agency, the tenth precinct in an American police department.
The prefix is a device to force users to not say the important part first before
the intended listener has their ears tuned in to the transmission.
For a good explanation of all this and a more complete chart, go to this
The use of Ten codes has become so
common that there is now a problem in that various agencies have developed their
own versions so that in interagency operations there may be dangerous
consequences or at least confusion and chaos. In
addition it can fairly be said that in most cases it would nowadays be better
and clearer and perhaps even shorter to use plain language.
The NS Dept of Corrections is notorious for saying things in the 10 code when
they could much more easily and just as clearly say it in regular English.
Here are some of the more common
ones in use in the Maritimes but this list does not pertain to any particular
agency. Organizations might think of these as secret codes that
others are not supposed to know but the reality is that they are for the most
part easily discernible by any listener and as well widely published, and in
fact are intended not for secrecy but for clarity on the radio.
Note that in Nova Scotia all or most
police forces use the 10-code, as does the provincial government. The
provincial ambulance service uses plain language for the most part.
- 10-1 - Receiving poorly
- 10-2 - Receiving well
- 10-4 - Message received
- 10-6 - Busy
- 10-7 - Becoming unavailable
(not the end of shift)
Sometimes also in slang refers to a death.
- 10-8 - In service and
available In NS provincial government use
also signifies coming on shift.
- 10-9 - Please repeat message
- 10-10 - Negative
- 10-11 - roadside check
- 10-12 - non-officers present (ie:
watch what you say and how)
- 10-17 - enroute
- 10-19 - Return (often refers
to station) [no longer heard in the Halifax area]
- 10-21 - Telephone i.e.
Call by telephone
- 10-26 - ETA or time enroute or
- 10-27 - drivers licence
- 10-28 - vehicle registration
- 10-29 - criminal records check
- 10-30 - Caution. may be
followed by a letter indicating type, such as S for a
suicide risk, V for violence, E for Escape, M for
mental health issues.
- 10-33 - Emergency situation or
- 10-35 - Ending shift (for the
- 10-36 - Beginning shift (for
the day) (not used by NS provincial government)