FT8Call jargon and terminology.

Are you new to FT8Call or ragchew modes in general? Are you unfamiliar with the jargon you see and unsure how to respond to operators who answer your calls of CQ? No worries! Commonly used jargon, shown below, will allow you to operate the FT8Call mode more efficiently while saying more with less transmit cycles.

This page is a work in progress and will be updated continually. Please send suggestions for update to me on Twitter @FT8CALL


73 – “Best Regards”, common and frequently used in all aspects of amateur radio.

Example: “TNX 4 QSO 73 DE N1AAE” (Thanks for the contact, best regards from N1AAE)

Pronounced, “Seventy-Three” when spoken on air.

B4 – “Before”

But you already knew that, didn’t you?

BEAM – Referring to a type of directional antenna (See also: Yagi)

Example: “GOT A BEAM POINTED TO EU” would mean that the operator has a directional antenna pointed towards Europe.

BTU – “Back to you”

Haven’t seen this much in FT8CALL, likely due to the indicator that it’s your turn to transmit, but you may see it.

BTW – “By the way”

You’ll notice that many of these abbreviations we use in text messaging and informal communications online.

CONDX – Short form of “condition”, in reference to atmospheric or propagation conditions.

Example: “CONDX GD 4 DX NOW” is saying that the conditions are good for long distance communications now.

COPY – Term that can be used both as a question and in a response that refers to the quality of the message received.

Example: “HOW COPY?” is asking if the transmitted messages are being copied properly. Some digital modes will have poor copying abilities when signals are weak.

Example: “GOOD COPY HERE” is specifying that the messages you are receiving are being copied properly with the current existing radio conditions.

CQ – Used to call any other operator when used by itself, or can be combined with a two digit country or region code for a specific region.

Example: “CQCQCQ N1AAE EM78″ (This is me, N1AAE, calling “CQ” and letting other operators know that my grid square is EM78. I am announcing that I wish to speak to anyone, anywhere).

Example: “CQ NM N1AAE EM78″ (Once again, this is myself calling “CQ” but I am specifying that I am wanting an operator from New Mexico to respond.)

DE – “From”, in morse code speak.

Example: “TNX 4 QSO 73 DE N1AAE” (Thanks for the contact, best regards from N1AAE)

DX – A distant station.

You may hear that conditions are “good for DX right now” or may see someone call “CQ DX CQ DX” meaning they are trying to reach any long distance station outside of their own country or region.

Example: “CQ DX CQ DX N1AAE EM78″ (That would be me calling CQ, as shown above, but specifying I am seeking a long distance / foreign station)

EU – “Europe”

Just as you may see someone call “CQ DX” as shown above, you may have someone call, “CQ EU”.

FB – “Fine Business”, generally used as acknowledgement of a statement.

Example: “FB ALAN UR SIG IS STRONG HERE” (Fine business Alan, your signal is strong here”‘) which would be an appropriate response if the operator, Alan, just told you what his radio, output power, or antenna in use was.

GA – “Good Afternoon”
GD – “Good”

Example: “GD SIG” is saying, “Good signal”.

GM – “Good morning”
HBU – “How bout you?”

Pretty self explanatory.

HI HI – Originated as CW (morse code) speak for ‘haha’. Still used in other digital modes to indicate laughter.

I don’t personally use this but I do see it occasionally. This is more for understanding what it means than suggesting that you should use it.

HOMEBREW – A reference of a self-built piece of operating equipment or work around.

Example: “Using a homebrew end-fed dipole” would mean that the operator is a dipole antenna that was built themselves.

LID – A “lid” is someone operating with poor practice or disregard for common operating standards.

Generally not ignorant, usually blatantly operating with poor procedure.

OM – “Old Man”, a way to address a known or friendly station. Similar to calling one, “good buddy”.

Example: “HEY OM HOW ARE YOU?”

OP – Means, “Operator” and is commonly used to identify yourself.

Example: “GD SIG TO USA OP IS CURTIS” would translate to, “Good signal to the USA, operator is Curtis” meaning you’re Curtis and introducing yourself by your first name.

QRP – A reference to the low operating power of the transmitting station/operator.

Usually 10W or less, 5W being common. Many QRP stations are also portable, operating from parks, for example.

Example: “N1AAE/QRP“. If you see a call sign that looks like this, it means the operator is transmitting on low power.

QSL – Used as both a question and as a statement or response. Indicates acknowledgement of receipt. Also a reference to QSL cards.

Example: “QSL?” is asking for acknowledgement of receipt.

QSO – This is a two way conversation.

You contacting another operator and having a conversation, even as brief as simply exchanging signal reports, is considered by most a “QSO”.

Example: “TNX 4 QSO CHRIS 73 DE N1AAE” Would be me telling an operator, Chris, thanks for the contact and best regards.

QTH – Your location or geographic region.

Example: “WHATS UR QTH?” If someone asked that, a proper response could be, “MIAMI, FLORIDA”

RIG – Reference to radio equipment used

Example: “RIG IS FT-450 W/ G5RV ” would be a way to say you’re operating with a Yaesu FT-450 HF radio and using a G5RV long wire antenna.

RX – Means, “receive”.

Example: “I RX YOU WELL” is saying, “I receive you well”.

SASE – “Self Addressed Stamped Envelope”, used when inquiring about QSL Card delivery.

Example: “SEND SASE FOR QSL” indicates that you should send a self addressed stamped envelope if you’d like a QSL card from that station.

SHACK – A reference to the area where all their radio equipment is stored/used.

Sometimes it’s an entire room, a shed in the back yard, part of the garage or just their computer desk.

SIG – “Signal”

Example: “GD SIG TO UK” is someone saying you’re producing a good signal to the UK.

Example: “CAN I GET SIG REPORT?” is someone asking for a signal report.

TICKET – A “ticket” in regards to amateur radio would mean “license”.

Example: “JUST GOT MY GENERAL TICKET. AM A NEWB TO FT8CALL”, would indicate that you’ve just gotten your General Class license and are new to the mode.

TNX – “Thanks”

Pretty self explanatory.

TX – Means, “transmit”.


WX – Means, “weather”.

Example: “HEY OM HOWS WX AT UR QTH?” would translate to, “Hey old man, how’s the weather at your location?”

XYL – Means, “wife” or could be used to describe a significant other.

Example: “G2G XYL HOME TNX 4 QSO 73″ would translate to, “I’ve got to go, wife is home now. Thanks for the contact and best wishes.”

YAGI – Referring to a type of directional antenna (See also: Beam)

Example: “GOT A YAGI POINTED TO EU” would mean that the operator has a directional antenna pointed towards Europe.