The site is dedicated a very special subject, where a very special vocabulary is used. Those, who are not involved, but interested, will find certain explanations on this page.

Amateur radio: As defined in the radio regulations by the ITU:
1.56 amateur service: A radiocommunication service for the purpose of selftraining, intercommunication and technical investigations carried out by amateurs, that is, by duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest.”

German law (Amateurfunkgesetz)  defines it as followes:
§2.2 Amateurfunkdienst, ein Funkdienst, der von Funkamateuren untereinander, zu experimentellen und technisch-wissenschaftlichen Studien, zur eigenen Weiterbildung, zur Völkerverständigung und zur Unterstützung von Hilfsaktionen in Not- und Katastrophenfällen wahrgenommen wird; der Amateurfunkdienst schließt die Benutzung von Weltraumfunkstellen ein. …”

In fact it is a playground for people interested in communication technologies, informatics or physics. It is not necessary to have a profession related to one of these subjects, just some basic knowledge is enough to start.

Band: Definition of a frequency range. There are a lot of bands, spread all over the electromagnetic spectrum, for use by radio amateurs. Each band has its specific characteristica depending on the frequency range eg. the wave length. At present I favore the 23 cm band. The frequency range is defined from 1240 to 1300 MHz. As the name says: the wave lenght is only about 23 cm.

Beacon: Unmanned station, transmitting continuously on a fixed frequency, mostly from an exposed location. The observation of beacons is very useful to evaluate all kind of radio wave propagation.

Bounce and scatter: In the way these verbs are used in amateur radio the difference is not defined very sharp. Moon bounce is the synonym for contacts of stations performed by reflections on the moon, a hard body. Aircraft scatter could also be called aircraft bounce because the signals will be reflected by one ore more aeroplanes. In rain scatter, tropo scatter, or meteor scatter more diffuse media like clouds or ionized meteor trails are used to evoke reflections.

Callsign: All radio amateurs worldwide need a license to run their station legally. Along with the license a personal callsign will be issued by the relevant authorities of the country´s governement. The first letters or numbers (prefix) of a callsign are related to the country.
For example: DJ5AR is a german and EI8HH is an irish callsign. These prefixes are widely used as synonyms for country names (EI instead of Ireland).

Codes: In historic times, when telegraphy was the only technology to transmit information in real-time over long distances, time was a limiting factor. That might be unbelievable for “mobile phone kids”, but that was fact. Messages had to be kept short (glorious times) and every character costed money. So codes were invented, like the Q-groups or just collections of abbreviations. These were still in use in marine communications (telegraphy!) until satellites became available to all ships in the last decades. Many people still use them, when writing short messages (SMS) on the mobile phone or when performing amateur radio.

Contest: Wether contesting in amateur radio is a sport or not can be discussed. Sitting on a radio station and collecting contacts is in minimum as sporty as racing with a car or playing chess, hi. (see glossary for “hi”).
In fact participating in a contest can be a real skill. Hunting for special stations to collect points or multipliers, working as many as possible during the contest time or to gather distances in kilometers, can be hard work.

CQ: Code for a general call to other stations. Can be restricted by adding the prefix of a specific country or by “DX” for long distance calls only.

CW: Telegraphy mode, abbreviation of “continuos wave”. It is still very useful, when dealing with very weak signals.

DX: Code for “long distance”. ODX is the longest distance for a station worked or heared on a day, in a contest, on a band or at all.

EME or Earth-Moon-Earth: Radio contacts where the moon will be used as a passive reflector.

GMT: Short for Greenwich Mean Time which is the global time standard. When the sun crosses the meridian of 0° at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, it is 12.00 o’clock GMT.

HI: Code in telegraphy for “I am amused!” In morse code it sounds very funny indeed: “Didididit didit”. In emails and SMS nowadays substituted by: 🙂

Inversion: Normally the temperature in the atmosphere decreases with the altitude. Under special wheater conditions, e.g. high pressure areas, warm and dry air can cover layers of cold and humid air close to the ground. Radio waves leaving the lower layer, will be refracted.

ISS: International Space Station

Moonbounce: See EME.

NAC: Nordic Activity Contest.

ODX: See DX.

QSO: Code for a contact between two amateur radio stations. For a complete QSO the callsigns of the involved stations, reception reports and final reception confirmations have to be exchanged. A synonom for this is to have “worked” some station.

QTH: Code for the location of a station. Can be given as the name of the place, town, etc. or in a locator grid system, developed by radio amateurs, basing on geografical coordinates. The locator JN49CV defines my location in Mainz.

RIG: Code for equipment like transmitter, receiver, amplifiers or antennas.

Roger: Confirmation of reception. Transmission of either the word “roger” in voice modes or the code “R” in telegrafy or digital modes.

Scatter: See Bounce and Scatter.

SHF: Short for “Super high frequency”, the range from 3000 MHz (3 GHz) and up.

SSB: Voice mode, abbreviation of “single side band”.

TNX: Code for “Thank you”.

Tropo: Short for propagation of radio waves in the troposphere. The distance in this propagation mode is, depending on the wave length, limited to some hundred kilometers. It can be enhanced to more than thousand km by troposheric ducting. This can happen under special weather conditions (see inversion).

UHF: Short for “Ultra high frequency”, the range from 300 MHz to 3000 MHz.

UTC: Short for “Universal Time Coordinated” (see GMT).

VHF: Short for “Very high frequency”, the range from 30 MHz to 300 MHz.

To be continued…..