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April 26, 2020

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Talk about CQ CQ CQ!

That would be "CQ DX", to me, Stu. [Non-hams who care: CQ = calling anyone; DX = distant signal.]

Hmmm, I've always thought of CQ as a homonym for "Seek You".


Usually it would be a guy called Chuck from french-speaking Canada,
aka "Charlie, Quebec" ;-)

I just came in from working in the (hot as hell) back woods; so, don't really have the energy to groan, Stu. (I was doing well to stagger inside.)

Good one. I don't really think that "seek you" is very helpful to non-hams, so gave the meaning in plain English. I don't think anyone knows the etymology of CQ; but, your theory is the one that I've most heard, over my 64.5 years of hamming.

Per WA0GGZ, for which no listing came up in QRZ, but commented in 2005: "Suggest another answer to the CQ question. This comes from the Wireless Course, 12 edition. Published in 1923. It says that CQ is listed as a 'Q' signal, like QRZ or QST. The definition given is: Signal of inquiry made by a station desiring to communicate. This entire course was intended for ship board radio operators."

Of course, with that call sign, I would expect that person to have been a relatively new ham, not long steeped in the lore.

If you prefer Canadian, VE6TL, who has been a ham since 1973 commented: "The following is from www.WorldHistory.com:

"The CQ call was originally used by landline telegraphy operators in the UK. French was, and still is, the official language for international postal services, and the word sécurité was used to mean 'safety' or 'pay attention'. It is still used in this sense in international telecommunications. The letters CQ, when pronounced in French, resemble the first two syllables of sécurité, and were therefore used as shorthand for the word. In English-speaking countries, the origin of the abbreviation was popularly changed to the phrase "seek you", or later, when used in the CQD distress call, to the command "come quick". CQ was adopted by the Marconi company in 1904 for use in wireless (spark) telegraphy, and was adopted internationally at the 1912 London Radiotelegraph Convention, and is still used."

One of the many discussions available is at eHam.net.

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