View Full Version : Jargon

12-06-2007, 12:36 PM

I am not a ham'er, hambone, hamdude, hamperson, radio guy, whatever you users of the radio waves call yourselves. Maybe someday just not right now. Can someone post some definitions of the different jargon, slang, acronyms used? I'm starting to get lost here.:confused:



12-06-2007, 02:07 PM
Stole from another site and I see a few missing.


Amateur operator - A person holding a written authorization to be the control operator of an amateur station.

Amplifier - A device usually using tubes or transistors to increase the voltage, current or power of signal.
ANSI RF protection guide - Standards formulated by the American National Standards Institute that provide RF exposure guidelines.
Antenna - A device that picks up or sends out radio waves (signals).
Antenna switch - A switch used to connect one transmitter, receiver, or transceiver output impedance. Also called an antenna tuner or transmatch.
Autopatch - A device that allows repeater users to make telephone calls through a repeater.


Beam antenna - A directional antenna. A beam antenna must be rotated to provide coverage in different directions.

Broadcasting - Transmissions intended to be received by the general public, either direct or relayed. This is not legal to do in amateur radio.


Capacitor - An electronic component composed of two or more conductive plates seperated by an insulating material. A capacitor stores energy in an electric field.

Chirp - A slight shift in transmitter frequency each time you key the transmitter.
Closed repeater - A repeater that restricts to those who know a special code.
Coaxial cable - Coax (pronounced ko-aks). A type of feed line with one conductor inside the other.
Code key - A device used as a switch to generate Morse code. Also called a hand key, a straight key, or a telegraph key.
Code-practice oscillator - A device that produces an audio tone, used for learning Morse code.
Conductor - A material that has a loose grip on its electrons, so an electrical current can pass through.
Connected - The condition in which two packet-radio stations are sending information to each other. Each is acknowledging when the data has been received correctly.
Continuous wave (CW) - Morse code telegraphy.
Control operator - An amateur operator designated by the licensee of a station to be responsible for the transmissions of an amateur station.
Control point - The locations at which the control operator function is performed.
CQ - "Calling any station": the general call when requesting a conversation with anyone.
CTCSS - Continuous tone-coded squelch system; a sub-audible tone system used on some repeaters. When added to a carrier, a CTCSS tone allows a receiver to accept a signal. Also called PL.
Cubical quad antenna - An antenna built with its elemnets in the shape of four-sided loops.
Current - A flow of electrons in an electrical circuit.
CW (continuous wave) - The FCC emission type that describes international Mores code telegraphy communication without audio modulation of the carrier. Hams usually produce Morse code signals by interrupting the continuous-wave from a transmitter to form the dots and dashes. This is on/off keying of a radio-frequency signal. Another name for international Morse code.


Dash - The long sound used in Morse code. Pronounce this as "dah" when verbally sounding Morse code charactors. Dashes are three times longer then dots.

Data - Computer-based modes, Such as RTTY and packet.
DE - The Morse code abbreviation for "from" or "this is."
Delta loop antenna - A variation of the cubical quad with triangular elements.
Detector - The stage in a receiver in which the modulation (voice or other information) is recovered from the RF signal.
Digipeater - A packet-radio station used to retransmit signals that are specifically addressed to be retransmitted by that station.
Digital communications - Computer based communications modes. (Also see data).
Dipole antenna - See half-wave dipole. A dipole need not be 1/2 wavelength long.
Director - An element in front of the driven element in a Yagi and some other directional antennas.
Direct wave - A (usually VHF or UHF radio wave that travels in a straight line-of-sight path between the transmitter and receiver.
Dot - The short sound used in Morse code. Pronounce this as "dit" when verbally sounding Morse code charactors if the dot comes at the end of the character. If the dot comes at the beginning or in the middle of the character, pronounce it as "di."
Driven element - The part of an antenna that connects directly to the feed line.
Duplex operation - Receiving and transmitting on two different frequencys. (Also see simplex operation).
DX - Distance, foreign countries.


Earth ground - A circuit connection to a ground rod driven into the earth or to a cold-water pipe made of copper that goes into the ground.

Earth station - An amateur station located on, or within 50 km of, the Earth's surface intended for communications with space stations or with other Earth stations by means of one or more objects in space.


Feed line (feeder) - The wires or cable used to connect a transmitter, receiver, or transceiver to an antenna. Also called transmission line.

Filter - A circuit that will allow some signals to pass through it but will greatly reduce the strengh of others.
Frequency - The number of complete cycles of an alternating current that occur per second.
Frequency bands - A group of frequencies where amateur communications are authorized.
Frequency-modulated (FM) voice - A mode of voice (phone) communications used on repeaters.
Frequency priviledge - Permission to use a particualr group of frequencies.
Front-end overload - Interference to a receiver caused by a strong signal that overpowers the reciever RF amplifier or "front end."
Fuse - A thin metal strip mounted in a holder. When too much current passes through the fuse, the metal strip melts and opens the circuit.


Gain - A measure of the directivity of an antenna, as compared with another antenna such as a dipole.

General-coverage receiver - A receiver used to listen to a wide range of frequencies. Most general-coverage receivers tune from frequencies below the standard broadcast band to at least 30 MHz. These frequencies include the shortwave-broadcast bands and the amateur bands from 160 to 10 meters.
Grace period - The time FCC allows following the expiration of an amateur license to renew that license without having to retake the exam. Those who hold a expired license may not operate an amateur station until the license is renewed.
Ground connection - A connection made to the earth for electricity safety. This conection can be made inside (to a cold-water pipe) or outside (to a ground rod).
Ground rod - A copper or copper-clad steel rod that is driven into the earth. A heavy copper wire from the ham shack connects all station equioment to the ground rod.


Half-wave dipole - A basic antenna used by radio amateurs. It consists of a lengh of wire or tubing, opened and fed at the center. The entire antenna is 1/2 wavelengh long at the disired operating frequency.

Hand key - A simple switch used to send Morse code. Also called a code key or a telegraph key.
Harmonics - Signals from a transmitter or oscillator occurring on whole number multiples of the disired operating frequency
Henry - The basic unit of inductance.
Hertz (Hz) - An alternating-current frequency of one cycle per second. It is the basic unit of frequency.
High-pass filter - A filter designed to pass high-frequency signals.


Inductance - The ability of a coil to store energy in s magnetic field.

Inductor - An electrical component usually composed of a coil of wire wound on a central core. An inductor stores energy in a magnetic field.
Input frequency - A repeater's receiving frequency. To use a repeater, transmit on the input frequency and receive on the output frequency.
Insulator - A materiel that mantains a tight grip on its electrons, so that an electrical current cannot pass through it (within voltage limits).
Inosphere - A region of charged (ionized) gases high in the atmosphere. The ionoshere bends radio waves as they travel through it, returning them to earth.


K - The Morse code abbreviation for "any station respond."

Key click - A click or thump at the beginning or end of a CW signal.
Key-click filter - A ciruit in a transmitter that reduces or eliminates key clicks.
Key-operated on-off switch - A good way to prevent unauthorized persons from using your station is to install a key-operated switch that controls station power.

12-06-2007, 02:07 PM

Mayday - From the french m'aidez (help me), mayday is used when calling for emergency assistance in voice modes.

Microphone - A device that converts sound waves into electrical energy.
Modem - Short for modulator/demodulator. Amodem modulates a radio signal to transmit data and demodulates a received signal to recover transmitted data.
Moniter mode - One type of packet radio receiving mode. In moniter mode, everything transmitted on a packet frequency is displayed by the monitoring TNC. This occurs whether or not the transmissions are addressed to the monitoring station.
Morse code - (see CW (http://library.thinkquest.org/17234/dic.html#CW))
Multimode transceiver - Transceivers capable of SSB, CW, and FM operation.


Narrow-band direct-printing telegraphy - The technical term for radioteletype (RTTY).

National Electrical Code - A set of guidelines governing electrical safety, including antennas.
Network - A term used to describe several packet stations linked together to transmit data over long distances.


Ohm - The basic unit of electrical resistance, used to describe the amount of opposition to current.

One-way communications - Transmissions that are not intended to be answered. The FCC strictly limits the types of one-way communications allowed on the amateur bands.
Open - A repeater That can be used by all hams who have a license that authorizes operation on the repeater frequencies.
Operator License - The portion of an Amateur Radio license that gives permission to operate an amateur station.
Output frequency - A repeater's transmitting frequency. To use a repeater, transmit on the imput frequency and receive on the output frequency.


Packet Radio - A digital communications system in which information is broken into short bursts. The bursts (packets) also contain addressing and error-correctiong information.

Phone - Another name for voice communications.
Power - The rate of energy comsumption. We calculate power in an electrical circuit by multiplying the voltage applied to the circuit times the current through the circuit. (P = IE).
Propagation - The study of how radio waves travel.


QSL card - A postcard that serves as a confirmation of communication between to hams.

Quarter-wavelengh vertical antenna - An antenna constructed of a quarter-wavelengh long radiating element placed perpendicular to the earth.


Radioteletype (RTTY) - Radio signals sent from one teleprinter machine to another. Anything that one operator types on his teleprinter will be printed on the others machine. Also known as narrow-band direct-printer telegraphy.

Receiver - A device that converts radio waves into signals we can see or hear.
Reflecto - An element behind the driven element in a Yagi and some other directional antennas.
Repeater station - An amateur station that automatically retransmits the signals of other stations. Reapeaters extend the range of retransmitted signals.
Resistance - The ability to oppose an electric current.
Rig - The radio amateur's term for a transmitter, receiver, or transceiver.


S meter - A meter in a receiver that shows the relative strengh of a received signal.

Shack - The room where an Amateur Radio operator keeps his or her station equipment.
Simplex operation - Receiving and transmitting on the same frequency.
SOS - A Morse code call for emergency assistance.
SSB - Emission mode that describes the type of voice emissions used on the HF bands. Abreviation for single sideband. Station license - The portion of an Amateur Radio license that authorizes an amateur station at a specific location. The station license also lists the callsign of that station.
SWR meter - A device used to measure SWR. A measuring instrument that can indicate when a antenna system is working well.


Terminal node controller (TNC) - A TNC accepts information from a computer and converts the information into packets. The TNC also receives packets and extracts information to be displayed by a computer.

Ticket - A commonly used name for an Amateur Radio license.
Time-out timer - A device that limits the amount of time that any one person can talk through a repeater.
Transceiver - A radio transmitter and receiver combined into one unit.
Transmission line - The wires or cable used to connect a transmitter or receiver to a antenna.
Transmitter - A device that produces radio-frequency signals.


Vertical antenna - A common amateur antenna, usually made of metel tubing. The radiating element is vertical. There are usually four or more radial elements paraell to or on the ground.

Voice communications - Hams can use several voice modes, including FM and SSB.


Yagi antenna - The most popular type of amateur directional (beam) antenna. It has one driven element and one or more additional elements.


73 - Ham lingo for "best regards." Used on both phone and CW towards the end of a contact.

88 - Love and Kisses

12-06-2007, 02:35 PM

saw in another post

Richard Stouffer
12-06-2007, 02:52 PM
It means to communicate, or can [you] communicate. Commonly used to describe a conversation over the radio. So whenever we talk to someone on the airways it is called a QSO. You can Google "Q Codes" and see most of the common one that are used. Anther common one is QTH and it means location. QRM is interference and
QRN is static. Q codes were used as short cuts to improve capacity of code operators in the old days. They are still used by CW (that stands for continuous wave which means morse code) but it has carried over into SSB (which stands for single sideband) communications. That means voice communications.

Are you ready for your test now?

12-06-2007, 03:56 PM

12-06-2007, 05:38 PM

Oh come on. It's easier than you think. Just get the book and start studying.

12-06-2007, 08:59 PM
I told you they'd help you :cheer:

12-08-2007, 08:41 AM
You only need to know, like, one or two Q codes for the test. They don't make it hard as they want to increase the interest and number of licensees. I talked my wife into getting her Tech. license so we could use the rig to park the rig :)

12-08-2007, 07:48 PM
There is also:

Elmer: A ham, usually older, who mentors and educates the younger hams or unlicensed wannabe's in the radio arts

Uncle Charlie: The FCC

LID: An operator with bad habits...a pain in the butt on the air

Childrens Band: A put down for CB radio

Alligator: A station, usually a repeater, that transmits better/futher than it receives - that is, all mouth, no ears.

Bunny Rabbit: Opposite of above. Receives well but doesn't transmit far.

Boat Anchor: Heavy old radio equipment, working or not. It's just old and heavy.

GMT or UTC or "Z" time: The universal world time at the Greenwich Observatory in England. Used to be Greenwich Mean Time, lately Universal Co-ordinated Time (UTC, not the obvious UCT, it's a French thing) but in ham shorthand, esp when written, just Z and then the time in 24 hr format.