The two phrases above are probably the most common phrases used in any QSO. One old radio friend of mine asked me whether something could be done to get people to apply it correctly. Well, since I share the same aspirations, to fulfill his wishes here is my piece.

When I say “This is 9M2ZC standing by…..” there are two elements in the statement. One is the person, that is me, and the verb “standing by’ which is the action happening at present and continuously. When there is an “am”, “is”, and “are” in the sentence and followed by “-ing” this constitutes to being a “present progressive tense” or in the old times called the “present continuous” or the “continuous present” tense.

The “am”, “is”, and “are” are the helping verbs and the “standing by” is the main verb. Some examples of present progressive tense are “I am driving right now”, “Muthu is teaching morse code to his students….”, “Hassan and Minah are having lunch …”

So coming back to our issue above, when I say “9M2ZC standby…” not only this is an incomplete statement, it does not fall under the category above although the action is, hence it is grammatically incorrect. On the other hand, it can also be construed as telling oneself (me) to standby!! No one in the right frame of mind should be telling himself what to do in spoken words. One’s own action should be based on voluntary and involuntary reaction.

If I say “9M2ZC standing by….” although the “is” is missing, it can be accepted as a correct sentence because it is taken as a short form of the sentence “This is 9M2ZC standing by…”, and is more appropriate to be used instead of the former. It fits in the category of a present progressive tense quite perfectly.

On a much wider perspective, if used in the context of Bahasa Melayu, eg. “….kembali kepada anda 9W2BBS, disini 9M2ZC standby….”, then it can be accepted as correct, if and only if, the word standby can be adopted as a Malay word. The golden rule is, if a sentence is constructed in Bahasa, then Bahasa must be used throughout, if the sentence is constructed in English, then English must be used throughout, the two languages MUST never be mixed in the same sentence.

I hope I have made myself clear and in summary whichever way the “standby” and “standing by” is used it will not cause your licence to be revoked, hi! Just exercise more caution in your QSO so that we become more ‘professional’ amateurs… and the above represent my personal views, I have no malicious intentions to anybody living or otherwise.

73, All the best, this is 9M2ZC signing off and clear….



An amateur radio operator, military veteran, jack of all trades and master of none.

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