posted by 433 Spaceman, 6/26/2019

Radio Lingo

Even on Zello, especially with the users that are more 2-way Radio savvy, you may hear certain 10 codes, Q codes, and other terminology that you may not be familiar with.

Below you will find the more common CB / Ham terminology that is still being used on Zello today:

Here are some 10 Codes:


    • 10-4 reversed, usually used in a question and wanting a confirmation ("This weather is crazy, 4-10?")


    • Confirmation. OK


    • Busy / Stand By


    • Signed off / Out of Service
    • ("Hey everyone, I'm going 10-7") or ("Looks like Joe is 10-7)


    • Signed on and active / In Service
    • ("I'm 10-8.")
    • Also when driving to a location, it can mean you are in route to a specific location.
    • ("I'm 10-8 to your location.")


    • Repeat
    • ("10/9?")


    • Not signing off, but standing by and only listening
    • ("I'll be 10-10 on the side....")


    • Location
    • usually shorted to "20".
    • ("What's your 20?") or ("My 20 is on the corner of ________")...


    • Emergency Traffic on this channel


    • Correct Time...
    • ("Joe's 10-36 is 3 hours behind ours")


    • Take a leak (unofficial)


    • Take a dump (unofficial)

Here are some Q Codes:

CQ :

    • Calling 'CQ' is a general call for contact, inviting any operators listening on that frequency (or channel) to respond.


    • A two way communication, conversation or chat.
    • ("Thank you for the QSO!" )


    • Confirmation or agreement
    • As a question "QSL?"
    • confirm information is correct
    • as an answer "QSL..."


    • Your location or position
    • As a question: "What is Your QTH?"
    • As an answer: "My QTH is Ayrshire, Scotland."


    • Change Frequency (or channel)
    • "QSY to 3.777MHz" = change frequency to 3.777
    • "QSY to channel 03" = change to channel 03


    • Stand By
    • As a statement: "Please QRX" = Please stop transmitting:
    • "I am going to QRX" = I am going to stop transmitting.


    • Who is calling me?
    • (This is often used incorrectly by stations calling QRZ when no one else has actually called them)


    • Closing down: "I am going QRT" = I am switching off the radio.


    • Ready to receive on this frequency. (or channel)

Radio Terminology:


    • Best reguards / My Complements
    • ("73 to all")


    • Hugs and Kisses
    • ("73 to all, and 88 to the Ladies!")

Break Channel:

    • Use this term to politely interrupt a conversation to get a hold of someone in the channel or to quickly change the subject

Call sign

    • Series of unique letters and numbers assigned to a person who has earned an Amateur Radio license.

Dropping the Hammer or Dropping the Maul

    • Normally used when a strong station keys up over top a weaker station. Still can be used in Zello if the timer is set to where a mod or admin can quickly key up over top of a troll for example


  • Distance, foreign countries. ("CQ DX.")

Emergency traffic:

  • Messages with life and death urgency

Lot Lizzard:

  • Trucker term for prostitute found at truck stops


  • Transmission is very loud and distorted

Priority traffic:

  • Emergency-related messages, but not as important as Emergency traffic


  • Push to talk

Reading the Mail:

  • Same as 10-10 / Just listening ("I'll be 10-10 and reading the mail")

Roger / Roger Wilco

  • Message Received / Understood

Step on someone:

  • Keying up over-top of someone's transmission


  • Transmission is very low; hard to decipher what was said

Amateur Radio Phonetic Alphabet

A: Alpha

B: Bravo

C: Charlie

D: Delta

E: Echo

F: Foxtrot

G: Golf

H: Hotel

I: India

J: Juliet

K: Kilo

L: Lima

M: Mike

N: November

O: Oscar

P: Papa

Q: Quebec

R: Romeo

S: Sierra

T: Tango

U: Uniform

V: Victor

W: Whiskey

X: X-ray

Y: Yankee

Z: Zulu

For more Ham terminology, see

For more CB terminology, and some good laughs, see