dah dah dit dit dit   dit dit dit dah dah
And other Ham Radio Abbreviations

Where they came from & how to properly use & pronounce them

Many standard abbreviations arose in the early days of telegraphy, which was used almost exclusively before voice communication became practical.    The two numeric abbreviations that are still in most common use (73 and 88) originated naturally and were formalized for the first time in the "92 Code", a list of 92 numeric abbreviations defined by Western Union in 1857. .  Many of these codes stuck even when radio communication switched mainly to voice.

73 and 88 are used in amateur radio to sign off a QSO [see below for abbreviations].   Normally an OM would use 73, a YL or XYL would use 88.  Depending on circumstances, an OM could sometimes use 88 when signing off with a YL or XYL.

    Standard telegraphic and ham (amateur radio) abbreviations:

        73       Best regards
        88       Love and kisses / hugs
        QSO   A contact  (what computer geeks would now call a session)
        OM    Old man -- any male
        YL      Young lady  (un-married)
        XYL    Ex-young lady (married)

    Also used occasionally were

        30    I have no more to send
                        Newspapers adopted this one as an end-of-copy symbol
        33    Fondest regards
        55    Best success

The original "92 Code" has evolved over time. An example of recent evolution is adoption of 161, (73 + 88) to mean, "Best regards to you and your wife.

73 and 88 should NEVER be used in the plural form!
Each digit should be pronounced SEPARATELY!!

         You should NEVER say "Seventy Three" or "Seventy Threes".

You should ALWAYS say "Seven Three".

This goes for all other abbreviations listed above.


WB7TUJ  DAP-COM Homepage