Fonts for Amateur Radio
The Story of Zero
AE7Q's Story of Zero
The Fonts

Zero, Slashed Zero,  Letter "O", Alt-0216 Ø and Phi Φ

Successful Amateur Radio communication often depends on a set of well-defined and unambiguous specifications. Just think of the problem of meeting a friend on the air for a predetermined QSO, The two most important factors are of course time and frequency for successful QSO. If we use an ambiguous time, it is easy for the other party to mistake when they need to be on the air. 9 o'clock can mean A.M. or P.M. whereas 21:00 is clearly 9:00 P.M.

Also if both parties are not local the question of which time zone is being used may arise. Good ham practice usually uses UTC to remove the time zone question.  Especially when using UTC it is very important to make sure it is the correct day, for example here in Ohio 01:00 UTC Saturday is actually 8:00 P.M. Friday locally.

The second concern to successfully meeting is to be on the proper frequency. Modern radio's digital readouts make this fairly easy, but only if the correct frequency is stated. 14.005 and 14.050 have the same digits but are quite far apart on the dial!

Another area where mistakes can easily creep in recording another stations call sign in your log. No matter if it is paper or computerized logging SO2B is quite different from S02B. Poland instead of Western Sahara can be a real let down for the avid DXer. Reading the previous sentence you might have not even noticed the difference between the two call signs. The first call is Sierra Oscar Two Radio and the second is Sierra Zero Two Radio. The problem is that zero and letter O are often difficult to distinguish in most type fonts. Of course computerized logging and QSLing have greatly compounded this problem.

The best solution is to find a font that uses characters that look very different for O and Zero. Some fonts use wider and narrow characters to distinguish the two, unfortunately I and many other operators forget which is which even if then can see the difference! A better solution is a font that use a slash or dot across or inside the circle that makes up the zero character. So called "Slashed Zero Fonts" can be a great help to hams. There are a number of different slashed zero fonts include below for you to download. The zero and often the other characters have different appearances that will appeal to a variety of different tastes.

The fonts below use the True Type technology, which works within MS Windows and makes the fonts available to almost all modern software programs. In the pre-Windows days most individual fonts were either controlled by installation in specific software programs (although they were available system-wide many years before to the early Mac users!) or as part of your printer (many higher end printers had slide in font cartridges.)

To get around the pre-Windows font problem many astute users discovered that they could trick programs to show a slashed zero like character by using a special ASCII character. By holding down the Alt key then typing 0216 on the number pad a character Ø, used mostly in Norse alphabets, was produced (for this column I will display it in read to distinguish it from a true slashed zero.) This looked fine on most printed documents but a big problem occurred when you attempted to electronically manipulate call signs containing this special character-- they did not sort correctly because of course they were not zeros. The problem was even more acute when you tried to use the Ø in mathematical manipulations such as spreadsheets, again because it was not a zero strings of digits containing it did not add, subtract, multiply or divide correctly. Another trick character used was the Alt 1000 or Φ or more correctly called Phi Greek character. Again the results were often disastrous in all but printed copy.

Recently the problem has raised its ugly head again, this time in automated scoring process of contest log checking and the ARRL's Log Book of The World electronic QSL system. As you can quickly see if a submitter uses Ø, Φ or even mistakenly the letter O the call sign submitted will not match any in the checker's database of valid call signs, resulting in zero points and usually a deduction of a few penalty points!

So the rules for unambiguous and accurate logging:

1. Always use the correct character. Be careful to strike the correct key O or 0

2. Never use Alt 0216 Ø or Alt 1000 Φ in your log.

3. When speaking always say "zero" instead of "oh" when referring to a number (one acceptable alternative is saying "aught" or "naught" for zero).

4. Find a good, easily read font that you like and install it on all your computers. User preferences will vary with some preferring fixed width and others variable width fonts.*

* The differences between fixed and variable width fonts can be explained by going back to typewriter days. Typewriters always moved a uniform distance to the right no matter which character was struck. For example the width of three iii was equal to that of three WWW as below:
<>This is an example of  fixed or monospaced font. Commonly installed fixed fonts on Windows computers often have "Courier" in the name. With variable width fonts the amount of movement to the write is varied according to the letter of the alphabet and the font style used. Using above example with variable font:
Advantage of variable width fonts is they usually appear more pleasing to the eye with a typeset print appearance. Advantage of fixed width fonts is that columns of characters line up directly below each other as in example at left below:
Fixed Variable
iii iii

Fixed Width
Variable Width

The Fonts
To download a font click on the name in first column. Depending on your Internet browser you will be prompted to safe the file and choose the location to save or you may need to right click on the file then choose Save Target To.The following font sets are in zipped format. You will need an unzip program to open the files. If you do not already have one, here is a very easy to use free program, with no spyware, etc. called Just Zip It. Once unzipped you will need to install the fonts.
In Windows follow these steps:
1. Go to START then Settings then Control Panel then double click Fonts
From the top menu bar go to File then Install New Font
An Add Fonts dialog box will open
4. Navigate to location where you have unzipped the fonts using the Folders window in bottom left corner
5. When you get to location where font(s) are, they will appear in the List of Fonts box
6. Select the font(s) by click to highlight then click OK on right
Ham Font Collection
All of the fonts below in one zipped package (514k)
Andale Mono Dot

Andale Mono Slashed

Arial Slashed



Glass Gauge


Ham Gothic Light

Ham Mincho Light


ProFont Windows

Proggy Clean



Tahoma Slashed

Technical Slashed

TI 92 Plus

VAG Round

Morse Code Fonts
Morse Code

Morse Regular


Radios in Motion & Radios in Motion Hard

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