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CQ? Where are its Origins?

jeff (N3JBH) on March 2, 2005
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CQ? Where are its origins?

Ok I admit maybe I do have too much time on my hands. But I couldn't help but wonder why it is we use the simple letters ((CQ)) when we call for conversation on the bands.

More precisely I guess I wonder what does CQ stand for. Is it Call query?

Calling quarters call quest. Is it just a tradition steeped in the past that has lost all relevant meaning? But we still use it is because well grandpa did and so I will as well?

I would truly like to here what folks have to say about this subject.

Any history or thoughts to why we use it and or its origin's.

Thank you, jeff/n3jbh

Member Comments:
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CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by SM4INV on March 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Well, english is not my native language but I have always thought that CQ = seek you!?

Right or wrong?

72/73 de p-a, sm4inv
 
CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by WR9A on March 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
A simple Google search will yield amazingly quick answers to most people's questions.

The top result of searching on "origin CQ":

http://www.ac6v.com/73.htm#cq
 
RE: CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by WA6BFH on March 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
This sort of idea has run along the top of my ‘fantasy concepts’ {left brained} list since I was only an imaginary Ham at age 7 or so. In successive years as I was reading books on people like Marconi, Planck, Maxwell, Hertz, and Faraday, and it became obvious to me how often such folks would interject simple lexicon into the growing technical vocabulary they were building and originating. Just like Tesla, a man who envisioned this physics in his own terms, a physics that did not exist -- before he disclosed it, there was no former terminology or lexicon!

I have often since heard that “CQ” came about because it expressed the abbreviated statement “seeking you!” I automatically believed this because of my earlier reading. When I heard on the movie Titanic, “CQD”, it made perfect sense to me! The statement to the radio officer was, ‘send the distress call’ this character then went into the radio shack, and sent “CQD”!
 
RE: CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by W3DCG on March 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Which makes me wonder then, where did SOS originate?
Ship Offshore Sinking? Or not, but- I thinks SOS makes sense because of it's designated meaning, because nothing else sounds like it.

I'm lost about CQD making sense, as in SeekYouDisaster?

But along the lines of CQ = Seek You, maybe CQD should have been SNK N.
dididit dahdit dahdidah, dahdit.
dididit dahdit dahdidah, dahdit.
dididit dahdit dahdidah, dahdit.

I apologize for the morbidity of my sometimes warped sense of humor.
 
RE: CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by K9FV on March 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
CQD = Come Quick Danger

I've read that somewhere and it "sorta" makes sense.

Ken
 
CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by G0GDU on March 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I always understood that CQD was code used by Marconi trained operators prior to the introduction of SOS as an internationally code.

I believe that CQD was an abbreviation for Come Quick Disaster and not Seek You Disaster.

When did CQ come into common use as a Morse abbreviation by amateurs?

 
RE: CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by WB2WIK on March 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
CQ comes from a magazine of the same name established in the late 1940s.

Okay, that was a joke.

 
RE: CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by AA4PB on March 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
CQ derives from the official international postal language, French, Sécurité, (safety or, as intended here, pay attention) and not, as many still believe, "seek you"
 
RE: CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by W2NSF on March 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
No idea where CQ came from; always thought SOS meant "Save Our Ship."
 
the correct explanation  
by KZ1X on March 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
C is the only letter that lets you know, twice, the difference between a dah and a dit, so you can decode the rest of the letters to come after.

Q is the letter, like Y, that can best be picked up through static due to the duty-cycle of the characters, and in no language does a word start with the letters "CQ."

So CQ must be the beginning of some kind of coded message, becuase it can't be a word, and you can always pick it out of the noise, and 'sync up' with the relative length of dah vs. dit.

That's why.
 
RE: CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by N3ZKP on March 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
<< No idea where CQ came from; always thought SOS meant "Save Our Ship." >>

Nope, SOS was picked because it was easy to remember. Nothing more, nothing less.

Lon
 
CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by KE8YY on March 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
There are a lot of folk etymologies about CQ, SOS and other amateur radio matters, but just becasue something sounds like it makes sense doesn't make it so.

The weight of evidence does seem to be that CQ is related to CQD- which does not come from "come quick danger", although the "D" does stand for distress.

CQ was a general call used by ships meaning "any station" according to the "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997). It doesn't mean "seek you" becasue it was not limited to English speaking ships.

The ARRL says that CQ was used in English landline telagraphy in the 19th Century and does come from "securite'". I'd still like to see an actual citation.
 
RE: CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by KC8VWM on March 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I always thought term "CQD" as used on the Titanic originated from the guy with the callsign KC5CQD.

I think he must be a pretty old fart.

Charles - KC8VWM


 
RE: CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by K2BKS on March 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
SOS is Save Our Ship...as MAYDAY is to aircraft, SOS is to ships.

I hope you were just having a lark. SOS and MAYDAY should remain forever as distress signals.
 
RE: CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by W3HF on March 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
"SOS is Save Our Ship...as MAYDAY is to aircraft, SOS is to ships."

Negative. SOS is for CW, MAYDAY is for voice. Both mean exactly the same thing. Either can be used from any platform--airborne, maritime, land mobile, fixed, etc.

N3ZKP is correct. SOS was selected purely for its rhythm on CW. It is not an acronym--the letters have no meaning in and of themselves.

As for CQ, follow the link to Rod Stafford's page (AC6V) that WR9A listed for the definitive answer.
 
RE: CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by X-WB1AUW on March 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
used coopernic.com
Ran search on "origin CQ"

Top hit(also):
http://www.ac6v.com/73.htm#c73
Bob
 
RE: CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by W4CNG on March 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
CQ USA is called everyday on XM Radio 60's on 6. They want all to call in from wherever you are, via email, phone or text messaging. There has got to be a Ham in the Network on XM specifically the 60's Decade, which I grew up in.
Steve W4CNG
 
RE: CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by WA2JJH on March 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I expect a better Gene Shepard like joke from Steve!
Ya gotta long way to Carolines, son!

SeeK You sounds good to me, but then again I like mold!
 
CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by WA2JJH on March 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
One of the first phone hams wanted say.....oh yeah......F.U.! He did not want to get a pink ticket from the Federal Candy knishion. So in a terse voice
he said SEEK You in H..QSB set in.

You see when you modulate a spark gap transmitter with a carbon microphone that varies the spark voltage.......An electric shock would make one studer and not speak clearly!!!

OK the joke sux.
 
CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by WA2JJH on March 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Integrate Circuit Datasheet Diagram
... 2SB873 2SB1010 SC-51 TRANSISTOR NF-Tr 30V 2.5A 1W 2SB929 2SB1314 (N TYPE) TRANSISTOR
NF/SL 60V 3A 35W 2SB931 (N TYPE) TRANSISTOR SL 130V 3A 30W 2SB934 (N TYPE ...
www.icxinyi.com/ICK/3.htm - 98k - Cached - Similar pages

 
CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by F5JOF on March 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Some clarification can be found on ON4SKY site at http://www.astrosurf.com/lombry/menu-qsl.htm
See the "History" links of that page.
 
CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by K4GK on March 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
My Elmer (Dr. D.C. Leaptrott, W4NTM, SK), taught me that CQ, was the general call for anyone, and came from "Seek You".

I have seen nothing to date to change my information that CQ, means "Seek You".
 
CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by KB1FZA on March 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
SOS - Save Our Souls
CQ - Seek You (does anybody use the chat software ICQ? I seek You)
 
RE: CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by W2DUG on March 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
"SOS is Save Our Ship...as MAYDAY is to aircraft, SOS is to ships."

Negative. SOS is for CW, MAYDAY is for voice. Both mean exactly the same thing. Either can be used from any platform--airborne, maritime, land mobile, fixed, etc.

-------

And MAYDAY derives from the French "M'aider!", which translates to "Help me!". Of course that wasn't the topic of this thread, but it is a faintly interesting bit of trivia for the radio enthusiast.
 
RE: CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by SM0AOM on March 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I believe that "CQ" has landline origins,
and was transferred to "wireless" by the Marconi
Company which came to use landline practices also for radio operations.

The derivation from "securite"
seems not very likely, as "securite" is one of the priority indicators in radio telephony working.

Highest priority is "MAYDAY"
(distress messages and traffic);

second "PAN" (urgent messages);

third "securite" (safety related).

When a coast station announces i.a. a navigational
warning broadcast it often uses the phrase:

"Securite, securite, all ships, all ships this is ... Radio with navigational warnings and weather report.
Listen VHF traffic channels and medium frequency"

"SOS" on the other hand has pure radio origins.

At the first international radiotelegraph conference
in Berlin 1906 the question of an international distress signal was raised. The Marconi company had previously used "CQD" as a distress signal for Marconi ships.

The German administration proposed a signal
along the lines of "SOE" that had been used as a general call to German ships, and consensus could be found to make SOS, transmitted as ...---... in one character as the new distress signal.

Interpretations of "SOS" as "Save Our Ship" and
"Save Our Souls" are of a more recent date.

In the aftermath of the public outrage following the Titanic disaster in April 1912, many newswriters tried to put as much "dramatic flavor" in depicting the distress radio traffic as possible. This concept also became part of many books that were written about the disaster.

73/

Karl-Arne
SM0AOM



 
CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by VE6TL on March 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
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.

Hope this helps.
 
RE: CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by AC9Y on March 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The history of such things is very interesting to me.

Here are some lighthearted answers:

The Microsoft Bookshelf 98 Dictionary says that “CQ” is a noun (se’kyoo’) and means: “Code letters used at the beginning of radio messages intended for all receivers”

Also, “www.cq.com” is the web site for the Congressional Quarterly.

-Roger, AC9Y
 
CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by N8CPA on March 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I like discussions like this. You asked for thoughts. Here are mine:

SOS replaced CQD at an international maritime conference in 1909. By the end of that year, it had already been used in a ship rescue. The reason it was adopted was the uniqueness of its pattern. And it really isn't SOS any more than N is TE run together. It is just ...---... without spaces. SOS is just a mnemonic for learning it, like AR is the mnemonic for learning .-.-.
Save Our Ship is also just a kind of mnemonic, nothing more.

The reason CQD was dropped was because CQ was heard so much on the air, that it was easy for human operators to filter out, ignore, or simply tune past. Imagine, how much you hear the pattern -.-.--.- and you simply bypass it to carry out your business elsewhere, so you wouldn't hear the appended -.. that denotes distress.

I also have an unproveable theory about the importance Q in so many of our prosigns. It goes all the way back to the Roman roots of our language. The speakers of Latin used a lot of abbreviations and acronyms in their writings. That tradition was carried forward by classically educated scholars and artisans after the fall of the empire. For long ages Qu was the standardized abbreviation for quando, meaning when. It was incorporated in scripts of various sources and intentions, particularly in early theatrical productions. It eventually assumed an English spelling of its own, cue, according to the etymologists at Miriam. But it also assumed a context of usage that gave it an added meaning, signal.

Now--and this is pure conjecture because I have not been able to find documentation to substatiate it--jump forward in time to early in the electrical telecommunications industry. English and French are already becoming the main languages of international commerce in Europe. Both languages have a shared Latin heritage, and share a history of standardized common usage of Qu meaning when and signal. So it was seen as a natural fit to use Q in the new language of electrical signals to indicate standardized packages of information.

CQ is simply a calling signal, though "seek you" is a convenient way to remember it if you speak English.

Steve

And BTW, pounding brass still kicks .- ... ...
 
CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by WA0ZZG on March 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
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.
Dave...
AR
 
RE: CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by AI4IT on March 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
"CQ" origins are steeped in tradition and more simply, acronyms. "C" is the first consonant of its said/implied word - CALL. Similarly, "Q" is the first consonant of its said/implied word - QUICK. Hence, it means "Call Quick" or "Call Quickly" as it were.

By the way, the above is merely conjecture as it "simply" sounded possible and even reasonable. As for its half-baked (be nice) veracity, there "simply" isn't any.

That was a nice bit of useless, absurd, and dubious information. Nonetheless, it "simply" sounded good.

What?????
 
RE: CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by AC7DX on March 7, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
SOS was what we had in the service at breakfast
 
CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by N1QZ on March 9, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Maybe it just sounded good. I think way back then when everything was there to be created and they didnt have to put as much thought into things like (what will people make of the two letters CQ ?) They were they first to be doing it. I have friends who are not even hams and when they here the CQ CQ CQ being called in CW they recongnize it.........its pretty simple sounding. It has a distinctive rythum and catchy melody to it.

We dont even know where the term HAM radio comes from.
 
RE: CQ? Where are its Origins?  
by K8MHZ on April 12, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"We dont even know where the term HAM radio comes from."

Professional telegraphers used to call us 'ham fisted amateurs.'

Other variations of the origin of the word are a bit nicer to us, but this is the one that is probably true.

73,

Mark K8MHZ
 
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