• Ham Radio History (B)

    From Daryl Stout@1:2320/33 to All on Fri May 19 00:04:59 2023
    The Q Code

    The Q Code came into being internationally in 1912 to overcome the
    language problems involved in communications by radio among ships and
    shore stations of all countries. The original list of 50 adopted by international agreement in London contain many which are still familiar
    to amateur operators-QRN, QRM, QSO, the traffic operator's QRK, QSY and
    QRV -are now well past the half-century mark in continuous usage. QSL
    still has the official 1912 definition despite the changed informal
    usages it is subjected to in amateur parlance.

    The QN signals for amateur net operation were introduced in the late
    1930s by W1UE (now W4IA) to lighten the burdens of net control operators.



    The telegraph call CQ was born on the English Telegraph nearly a century
    ago as a signal meaning "All stations. A notification to all postal
    telegraph offices to receive the message." Its meaning was close to the
    present meanings of QNC and QST. Like many other telegraph terms which originated on the landlines, CQ was brought over into radio and used as
    a general call to all ships by the Marconi Company. Other companies used
    KA until the London Convention of 1912, which adopted CQ as the
    international general call or "attention" signal. CQ still means,
    literally, "attention" but in amateur radio its meaning is perhaps more accurately described by Thomas Raddell who compared it to yelling "Hey,
    Mac!" down a drain pipe.

    But why the letters CQ? It's apparently from the French word for safety...
    or, as intended here, pay attention.


    73, and other numeric greetings

    The traditional expression "73" goes right back to the beginning of the landline telegraph days. It is found in some of the earliest editions of
    the numerical codes, each with a different definition, but each with
    the same idea in mind -- it indicated that the end, or signature, was
    coining up. But there are no data to prove that any of these were used.

    The first authentic use of 73 is in the publication The National
    Telegraph Review and Operators' Guide, first published in April 1857. At
    that time, 73 meant "My love to you!" Succeeding issues of this
    publication continued to use this definition of the term. Curiously
    enough, some of the other numerals then used have the same definition
    now that they had then, but within a short time, the use of 73 began to

    In the National Telegraph Convention, the numeral was changed from the Valentine-type sentiment to a vague sign of fraternalism. Here, 73 was
    a greeting, a friendly "word" between operators and it was so used on
    all wires.

    In 1859, the Western Union Company set up the standard "92 Code". A list
    of numerals from one to 92 was compiled to indicate a series of prepared phrases for use by the operators on the wires. Here, in the 92 Code, 73
    changes from a fraternal sign to a very flowery "accept my compliments,"
    which was in keeping with the florid language of that era.

    Over the years from 1859 to 1900, the many manuals of telegraphy show variations of this meaning. Dodge's The Telegraph Instructor shows it
    merely as "compliments." The Twentieth Century Manual of Railway and
    Commercial Telegraphy defines it two ways, one listing as "my compliments
    to you;" but in the glossary of abbreviations it is merely "compliments." Theodore A. Edison's Telegraphy Self-Taught shows a return to "accept my compliments." By 1908, however, a later edition of the Dodge Manual gives
    us today's definition of "best regards" with a backward look at the older meaning in another part of the work where it also lists it as

    "Best regards" has remained ever since as the
    "put-it-down-in-black-and-white" meaning of 73, but it has acquired
    overtones of much warmer meaning. Today, amateurs use it more in the
    manner that James Reid had intended that it be used --a "friendly word
    between operators", or "best wishes".

    75 is used for "May God Bless you and yours".

    88 is usually used between spouses for "love and kisses".
    --- SBBSecho 3.20-Win32
    * Origin: The Thunderbolt BBS - Little Rock, Arkansas (1:2320/33)