Codes…

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Hello everybody and welcome back to my blog! Today we will be talking about on the air codes. As amateur radio operators we are not allowed to use codes on the air like police use, even tough they at not suppose to anymore either. If you have ever listened to a police frequency on your scanner or radio, or used a CB in the past or even watched a program on TV, you have heard of the dreaded 10 codes, or even things like signal codes. Several years ago after 9/11,the NIMS system came onto being and one of the things that were put into place was that everyone is supposed to use plain language. Many have argued in the law enforcement community that the use of plain language is or can be an officer safety issue. In some ways I can see that, however since there is and never has been a standardized 10 code system put in place, one jurisdictions 10 codes could be totally different from another agencies. One agencies 10-57 may mean lunch break and another mean bomb threat. So. To cut down on potential miscommunication possibilities, NIMS just went to plain language in an effort to make inter-agency communication standardize.

Even though we can not use 10 codes in amateur radio there is a code system that we can use. Most of it is used primarily on CW but there is some that use some of them on voice as well. This system are called Q codes. How well do you know the q codes? I recently saw a quiz that tested your knowledge of q codes. I took it and didn’t do all that great. I could blame it on my age, but I don’t think that would work because I am only 36. So, how about that I don’t use CW very much… OK, I never do CW, yea that could work. I think I’ll go with that excuse.

How is your Q Code knowledge? Take the quiz and see for yourself. Quiz is hosted by amateurradio.com, check them out! So how did you do? If you are anything like me, you need a little cheat sheet or some kind of reference. Well you are in luck. Check out Rig Reference! This site is your one stop shop for reference material on ham radio equipment. They were also kind enough to make up a PDF file that you can use to help you remember several things about the hobby; everything from Q codes, to RST reports, to a whole page of CW short cut words. Here is the reference guide.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today and please come back! Also, please share my blog with your friends, Like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter, Google+ and/or LinkedIn. Until next time…

73 de Curtis, K5CLM

 

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  • Rich W2VU

    Hi Curtis,
    Interesting post, but not quite accurate. There is no rule against using 10-codes on the ham bands. It simply “isn’t done,” mostly because of negative associations with CB. The prohibition in the rules on “codes and ciphers” applies to any code (10, Q or otherwise) whose purpose is to obscure the meaning of the communication. Since the meanings of most 10-codes are well-known, there is no possibility of obscuring the meaning of your communication by using them. There is an opportunity for confusion, since there are several versions of the 10-code out there and not all versions have the same meaning for the same code. And that’s why plain language is best – as long as you and the person you’re talking to speak the same language! If you’re talking to a ham in Russia, you don’t need to know the Russian word for “location” and he/she doesn’t need to know the word in English, as long as you both know QTH. But again, not using 10-codes on the ham bands is a matter of practice, not prohibition. 10-4?
    73, Rich

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