List of Codes

10-Codes Q-Codes Phonetic Alphabet Morse Code

People on certain frequencies and bands use a type of communication that may seem unintelligable. There are 10-codes that first responders use, as does those on the CB (Citizens Band) channels. Q-Codes are used by HAM and sideband CB operators. Some of the more common (but not all) 10 and Q codes are below. You can always search the internet for more specific codes. Also listed are names for each letter of the alphabet and the morse code key.


10-3Stop Transmitting or Change Channels
10-4OK, Message Received, understood, yes/affirmative
10-5Relay this to...
10-7Out of service / Off Air
10-8In service / On Air
10-9Please repeat your message
10-10Depending on context, it could mean negative, out of service, transmission completed
10-11Talking too fast
10-12Standby, visitors present, disregard, at scene
10-13Asking for weather/road conditions
10-14Suspiscious person/prowler, convoy or escort
10-20What's your location/My location is...
10-21Call by phone
10-23Stand By
10-25Can you contact...
10-26Disregard last transmission
10-27Moving to channel...
10-28Identify your station
10-29 Time is up for contact (NOTE: FCC CB Radio rules prohibit talking continuously or in conversation for more than 5 minutes at a time. After 5 minutes one must wait 1 minute (60 seconds) before starting a new transmission).
10-30Does not conform to FCC Rules
10-32 I will give you a radio check (ie. they will let you know how strong your signal is coming in on their receiver).
10-33Emergency at this station (where you are located)
10-35Confidential Information
10-36The correct time is...
10-73Speed trap at...
10-90Talk closer to the mic
10-100Need a pee break :P


CQ Calling for anyone listening to respond. Usually an invite to talk with whoever is out there listening.
DX Used with CQ to run skip, that is asking to talk with someone from out of the area or out of the country. As in CQ DX
QRTShut down for the night, clear
QSXStanding by on the side
QSYMove to another frequency (Channel)

For more codes (including those used by police and other responders), and other CB lingo, please see:

Phonetic (Spelling) Alphabet

These are used to clarify spelling a word, name, or whatever. Often used in military, police, first responders, and also sometimes in general phone and non-face-to-face verbal communication, especially when reception is particularly not very clear. You hear this quite a lot on CB and HAM radio. HAM radio operators use these letter names to clarify their licenced call sign.


Morse Code

Morse code is the use of long and short beeps for each letter of the English alphabet. This is used in the military, marine and HAM radio mostly. At one time HAM radio operators had to be able to read and send Morse Code at a certain rate in order to pass their tests to get a license to transmit. This is no longer a requirement. CB Radio users never did have to learn morse code, but in the 70s some toy radios (and some more serious versions) had a Morse Code key generator and the Morse Code lookup printed on the radio (or as an extra insert with the radio documentation). Everyone is probably familiar with the dit-dit-dit-dah-dah-dah-dit-dit-dit pattern (SOS) that was made famous by the movie Titanic. Though this was not where it originated. For more interesting information on this topic including where the SOS actually originated, look at this Snopes Article.

The dots are often referred to "dit" (short beep) and dashes often referred to as "dah" (long beep).

A .-
B -...
C -.-.
D -..
E .
F ..-.
G --.
H ....
I ..
J .---
K -.-
L .-..
M --
N -.
O ---
P .--.
Q --.-
R .-.
S ...
T -
U ..-
V ...-
W .--
X -..-
Y -.--
Z --..
1 .----
2 ..---
3 ...--
4 ....-
5 .....
6 -....
7 --...
8 ---..
9 ----.
0 -----

For more information, please refer to the NATO Phonetic Alphabet Wiki.

To help you learn, here is a fun (if not a bit cheezy) way to learn Morse Code!

Another way to learn morse code is to learn the Morse Code Tree:

Morse code tree3

Here is a video to explain how to use the tree:

Here is someone who is very good at the old-style manual keying of Morse Code!