Tuesday 29 January 2013

Origins of the term "CQ"

Have you ever wondered where some of our radio terms come from?

Some say that SOS stands for "Save our Souls" - which it doesn't. The Morse phrase ... --- ... was chosen as it was very distinctive and unlikely to be misread. It doesn't stand for anything.

So what about CQ? I've heard it described as "Come Quick" but that doesn't make sense.

But a chance conversation with someone while working in the US has cleared this up. He is multi-lingual (unlike me) and although he is not a radio ham, knew immediately what it could stand for.

CQ is Cherche Quelqu'un - literally the French for “looking for someone”

This makes sense as a lot of radio terms have French origins - the Coastguard still says "securite" for important information.

So there you have it - the origins of CQ. Or is it?

Pol G3HAL sent me an update. According to Wikipedia:
Land telegraphs had traditionally used "CQ" ("sécu," from the French word sécurité[1]) to identify alert or precautionary messages of interest to all stations along a telegraph line, and CQ had also been adopted as a "general call" for maritime radio use. However, in landline usage there was no general emergency signal, so the Marconi company added a "D" ("distress") to CQ in order to create its distress call. Thus, "CQD" is understood by wireless operators to mean, "All stations: distress." Contrary to popular belief, CQD does not stand for "Come Quick, Danger", "Come Quickly: Distress", or "Come Quick — Drowning!"; these are backronyms.

This sounds more likely.

Friday 18 January 2013

The Morse Crusade

I had an email today from Ian G4XFC, founder of the Morse Crusade. This concentrates on the Koch method of teaching Morse. The Crusade has been running since September 2011 and is starting a new campaign this year to promote the learning and use of good readable Morse.

Any site that promotes the use of Morse code is good in my eyes - I use Morse a heck of a lot and it is my favoured mode for working DX, although I struggle with my speed increasing and decreasing as I either use it more or let it drop for a month.

I've worked some choice DX that I would never have been able to work with SSB, using up to 100W CW and an assortment of compromise antennas at this surburban QTH. This is what prompted my "Stealth Antenna" book.

Anyway, you can find out more at www.themorsecrusade.g5fz.co.uk

Monday 7 January 2013

Keep Calm And Work Some CW

I had a tremendous response to the "Keep Calm And Work Some DX" T-shirts I designed for Cafepress.

These joined the Marine Radio Room clock, which has sold well around the world. For a bit of fun I have now added a "Keep Calm And Work Some CW" shirts and mugs too.

You can find them at  "The Radio Room" on Cafepress