HAM Radio 101

What is QRN?

What is QRN…and why do so many Ham Radio abbreviations start with Q? Let’s answer the latter first. Original Q Codes (45 abbreviations beginning with the letter Q) were developed in the early part of the 20th century by the British government for use by ships and coast stations so maritime Morse operators speaking different languages could better communicate. Last April we discussed QRM—human-made noise. Just as bothersome is QRN, originally meaning “Are the atmospherics strong?” QRN is still used in Amateur Radio to indicate noise from natural sources, such as band disturbances or interference from lightning. QRN can affect the reception of transmissions or propagation in general.


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