How to Properly Sign Off on Amateur Radio

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So you started a QSO conversation using your HAM radios. While your conversation went smoothly, it’s getting time for you to leave.  For most beginners, it’s easy to get stuck on this part. After all, how does one properly sign off an amateur radio?

There is a certain radio etiquette one must follow when using amateur radios to contact new people. You need to have a license, use your call sign, use the proper codes, and so on.

However, the hardest part for many isn’t starting or maintaining a conversation. It’s ending it. Whatever your reason may be, it’s important to end your QSO conversations properly.

Signing Off in CW Mode

CW mode is the current version of conversing through Morse code. For the first decade of Amateur Radio, Morse code was the only way to converse. In fact, HAM radio users were required to be fluent in Morse code to get their licenses.

Even today, some people prefer talking in CW mode. For this, the code for “goodbye” or “with love” is 73 or 88. You should also explain why you are leaving. Otherwise, it’s considered rude on your part to leave without reason.

For instance, to explain that you are leaving because your wife called you, XYL is CW for wife. There are some other codes you can use during your goodbye. GL is for good luck, CU is to say “see you!” and AGN is again.

In the end, it’s very important to repeat your call sign. Finally, the last thing you should say should be “SK,” which translates to signed off.

Signing Off in Voice Mode

In voice mode it is much easier. Also commonly known as phone mode. The operator uses his microphone to pump out voice signals over the airwaves.

Therefore, you should try to avoid using CW codes in this mode. A lot of experienced hams get annoyed by this. The way to sign off is to first explain why you’re leaving. You can say anything like “being called by someone/ have to go for dinner/ getting late for something.”

Then you need to say your call sign, you can even use the standard phonetics to make it clearer. You should then use a courtesy line. “Thanks for the contact” or “take care good buddy” are some standard ones.

Finally, you should use “clear on your final.” This informs the other person that you will wait for their response before you turn your radio off.

Summing Up

It is important to ID yourself by saying your call sign every 10 minutes. If your conversation lasts less than 10 minutes, then you only need to say it once at the end.

After a few transmissions, you will be very comfortable in a QSO. Believe it or not, signing out is not very confusing.  Just make sure to use the proper guidelines we laid down here, and you will be just fine!

We hope you have fun exploring HAM radios and contacting new people all over the world.


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