Questions tagged [jargon]

Questions about acronyms, words, phrases, or other terminology specific to amateur radio.

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37
votes
6answers
58k views

Why do hams often conclude messages with “73”?

Looking at amateur radio forums and email threads, oftentimes amateur radio operators will use "73" or "73s" where one might otherwise expect to find "Sincerely" or "Regards". Why?
27
votes
4answers
4k views

What is a link budget, and how do I make one?

Like the question title says, what is a radio link budget? For what is it useful, and how do I make one?
14
votes
3answers
8k views

What does Ham mean?

Amateur radio operators are always referred to as Hams, it's basically the most common term for the hobby, at least around here. Where does the term come from? I heard that it's an acronym for ...
13
votes
2answers
25k views

What do “QRM” and “QSB” refer to?

An answer on Basic QSO format? mentions things like "QRM" and "QSB". What do those terms mean?
12
votes
5answers
19k views

What's the difference between saying “CQ” or “QRZ” in a contest?

I'm listening to (or let's say I'm trying to participate in) a contest (or perhaps Field Day), using SSB. I noticed that a station would, after completing a contact, sometimes say “CQ” and sometimes ...
11
votes
4answers
41k views

What is the difference between channel & frequency & band in RF?

I am reading about wireless networks basics. I found three terms I cannot find exact definition for: channel, frequency band, frequency. Can anyone give exact definitions for them?
11
votes
1answer
5k views

What do the three-letter modulation codes (emission designators) stand for?

I've seen these weird three-letter modulation codes like J3E, A3F, A1A, F3E and so on. Someone even wrote 2K40J3E or 12K5F3E. What do these codes stand for?
11
votes
1answer
174 views

Is there a special name (and if so what is it) for this flush-style SMA variant?

I have some radios that have a special antenna connector. It looks like an SMA connector, but the dielectric is flush with the end of the connector: rather than recessed the way "normal" SMA ...
10
votes
3answers
7k views

What is dBm and why is it used rather than watts?

Reading through an RF power amplifier datasheet, I found the sheet only referenced dBm output power, rather than watts. What is dBm? How do I convert it to watts? Why, or when, would you use dBm to ...
10
votes
1answer
277 views

What is Jamboree on the Air (JOTA)?

What does this term mean? I'm not good with radio terms at all, but I was especially curious about this one...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the origin, history behind “Ben's Best Bent Wire”?

Bens Best Bent Wire My uncle, who was a Merchant Marine in WWII used to tell me this. He was a ham, and said it would develop my fist musically. I was a small child at the time, and through his ...
10
votes
1answer
818 views

What does a lightning bolt symbol next to an antenna connector mean?

On the back of my Yaesu FT-897, next to each of the antenna connectors, there are lightning-bolt-ish symbols. What do these mean, and is there something I ought to be doing because of that? I have ...
9
votes
4answers
5k views

What's the difference between “minimum SWR” and “resonance”?

Is the point of minimum SWR equivalent to resonance? Exactly what does resonance mean, anyway?
8
votes
2answers
2k views

What is a fixed digital message forwarding system?

What is a fixed digital message forwarding system? I noticed this on the lower end of the 222MHz allocation in the US but it's not explained on the band chart:
7
votes
5answers
801 views

Is a 5 watt UHF/VHF handheld considered QRP?

QRP doesn't have a strict definition, though 5W or less seems to be a common threshold. So would "QRP operation" usually be considered to include UHF/VHF handhelds?
7
votes
1answer
195 views

Why are radio frequency ranges aligned on multiples of 3?

Why are the radio bands organized by multiples of three? For example the HF band is from 3–30MHz and UHF is from 300–3000MHz. Why not multiples of 2? Or plain powers of ten?
7
votes
1answer
4k views

What does TX/RX Exchange refer to?

I am using the Aether logging software and it has two fields I do not understand: TX Exchange and RX Exchange. I know TX and RX refer to transmit and receive, but I'm not sure what to populate in ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

What is a panadapter?

To what does the term "panadapter" refer? (Physical hardware or software?) How did the term "panadapter" originate as related to radios or electronics? How is the term "panadapter" different from ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Why are Amateur Radio operators so obsessed about and hostile towards violation of the rules? [closed]

Please don't downvote just for the title, I'm not trolling, and honestly looking for an answer. I'm not directly involved with Amateur Radio, but have friends who are. They're always by the book. The ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

What is homebrew?

My question is the title itself: what is homebrew (or home brewing)? And how do homebrews differ from ordinary ham radios?
6
votes
2answers
9k views

What is a “calling frequency”?

Doing some study for the ham test, I read a question asking about a certain “national calling frequency”. What is a “calling frequency”? What is meant by “calling” in this instance?
6
votes
2answers
736 views

Antenna length in relation to lambda length

I'm pretty new with antenna stuff. I'm not sure how to understand antenna length in relation to lambda with dipole antennas. If a simple dipole antenna is lambda/4, has it a total length of lambda/2 (...
6
votes
2answers
272 views

I was told to check the cluster. What does that mean and how do I do that?

A comment on this question says to "check the cluster". What does it mean to "check the cluster"? I'm guessing it's a website. I did an internet search and http://www.hamcluster.net/Map.aspx seems to ...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

“Repeater” vs. “reflector”

In various topics on repeaters, IRLP, D-Star and EchoLink, I see people refer to these 'nodes' (for lack of a better word) as reflectors. A quick Internet search for these terms comes up with all ...
6
votes
1answer
258 views

History and significance of term “lid”

What is the history on the term “lid” when referring to a telegrapher’s capability? How did it originate and what is the significance if any of each letter?
5
votes
1answer
7k views

In amateur radio conversation, what does “hihi” mean?

A common phrase/word I've seen used in text and I've heard on air in conversation is "hihi" or "hi-hi". What does this mean and in what contexts is it appropriate to use?
5
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the difference between a scanner and a receiver?

What is the difference between a scanner and a receiver?
5
votes
2answers
145 views

What is a QSL card?

What is a QSL card? Why would I ever receive one? Why would I ever bother to send one? If so, when? Is it rude not to? Are they postcards sent by physical postal mail, or are they now digital ...
5
votes
1answer
363 views

What is a shallow/deep QSB?

Probably all amateurs recognize QSB as the q-code to represent 'fading'. I recently encountered the terms Shallow QSB Deep QSB A quick google search failed to yield fruit; What do the above terms ...
5
votes
1answer
264 views

What do hams mean when they refer to “higher bands”

For example, the Ultimate3S kit info page says: Produces 250mW RF output on 30m (lower output on higher bands) Would bands "higher" than 30m mean: bands with higher frequency e.g. 20m/17m/15m? ...
5
votes
2answers
934 views

4NEC2 - Radiat-eff. vs. Radiat-power

In the output from 4NEC2 the input power is 100 W. On the left, in blue text, is Radiat-eff. which equals 15.41%. On the right is Radiat-power which equals 94.88 W. I would expect either the first ...
5
votes
1answer
87 views

What is band stacking?

What is a band stacking register and/or band stacking buttons on a transceiver? And why would this be useful to an amateur radio operator? Is using "band stacking" a current operating ...
4
votes
5answers
196 views

What is IQ in the context of SDRs?

What is IQ, in the context of software-defined radios (SDRs)?
4
votes
3answers
553 views

What is the difference between RIT and XIT?

What is the difference between RIT and XIT? When would one use one and not the other for split (or other) HF operation? When would one need both? Which one is more useful for a transceiver to have ...
4
votes
2answers
84 views

Equipment Pricing

I am wondering about the exact pricing of kits. What is the range of each radio? How long do they last? Should I buy a portable or not? My complete budget is $100.
4
votes
1answer
109 views

How proper HIHI sounds like?

Recently I've read Zen And The Art Of Radiotelegraphy by Carlo Consoli, IK0YGJ. I must say, it's a great book, and as a new CW operator I've found plenty of useful information in it. What especially ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Pirate Radio vs Ham Radio

I've recently came across the terms "Pirate Radio" and in the URL of this page, "Ham Radio". What is the difference between these terms? And what is the difference between the transmission of a Pirate ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

How to determine a serial number in cq contest?

What serial number is referred to in a cq contest? How do I determine that serial number?
3
votes
2answers
2k views

What does CI-V stand for?

In the context of controlling a radio from a computer, what does CI-V stand for? I've noticed in relationship to a jack as well as USB. For example, from the Icom IC-7300 manual:
3
votes
3answers
4k views

What is “Busy Channel Lockout”? Why do I want to control this feature?

I was reading up on a radio review, and it mentioned something I was not familiar with, "Busy Channel Lockout". Unfamiliar with the term, I did an Internet Search, but didn't get back much, and for ...
3
votes
3answers
541 views

What is RF hash?

Ok, I get that "RF hash" is some sort of slang for "RF interference" (think CB), but does it refer to a particular type or source of interference? Do tell.
3
votes
1answer
241 views

What is radio pollution?

In a slide on calculating link budget, detrimental effects to a link included “Radio pollution (selectivity, blocking, IP3)”. What is radio pollution? Specifically, what are selectivity, blocking, ...
3
votes
1answer
109 views

What is “up” and “down”, and is it consistent with “top band”?

If I understand things right if you go "down" to "lower bands" you eventually get to "top band", which is 160 meter band. Since this doesn't make any sense to me, is there something I'm missing? You ...
2
votes
2answers
227 views

Why is the band scope called panadapter?

This feature that some radios have seem to have various names: band scope spectrum scope water fall panadapter I understand the first three names, but not panadapter. Where does it come from?
2
votes
1answer
222 views

Questions about effective isotropic sensitivity(EIS)

Recently, I read something about EIS (effective isotropic sensitivity) and TIS (total isotropic sensitivity). I'm trying to understand the concept, but I find it's quite hard for me. In the book ...
2
votes
1answer
164 views

DAB/DAB+ and AAC-LD/AAC-ELD

Does anyone know the protocol compatibility with regard to DAB and Low Delay AAC codecs? Is AAC-LD data or AAC-ELD data compatible with AAC and AAC+ decoding. Or how likely is it that an AAC/AAC+ ...
1
vote
2answers
210 views

What are amateur radio bands? [closed]

I'm new to radio and would like to know what amateur radio bands are. I'm also wondering about the range of these bands/how many there are.
1
vote
2answers
200 views

What is Logbook Of The World or LOTW?

An answer to this question on QSL cards refers to something called Logbook Of The World or LOTW. What is LOTW? What is its history? What problem does LOTW solve? (that isn't solved by plain QSL ...
1
vote
1answer
122 views

Repeater identification ending (CW)

I am just starting to learn CW, and for practice I have been recording and transcribing repeater identifications that I hear. This is what I heard today: DE W9KIC/R BBG What is the meaning of "BBG"?
1
vote
1answer
280 views

Repeater Features: What is e-power and link?

I am so new to ham radio that I don't even have a transceiver or a certification study unit yet. Just learning all I can right now. So, I'm looking at a repeater that I might be able to reach with a 5-...