The theory behind Z Codes for teletype communications was simple enough. Not all messages received, resembled the original message sent from somewhere.
Power surges or outages, equipment malfunction, and acts of nature such as earth tremors could mess up a message before it was finally received and printed.
There are hundreds of these Z codes and we are showing just a few. If you would like to see them all, click HERE.
One night my co-worker at the Taipei Terminal (RUAGST) on the midnight shift sent a message with the last paragraph left off. The next morning, after I had taken over the shift, in came a message with a Z Code foreign to me.
So the scramble began to find the Z code which explained that a corrected copy of the noted message was being sent. It was found, attached, and the retyped message was sent on its way.
It must have worked since nothing else came back. The front offic(ers) was/were happy.
Z codes, incidentally, are still in use, mainly in radio communications.
My thanks to our Canadian friends for compiling this distinctive collection shown here.
Just one more thing about Z Codes. Our signal school class was an unusual mixture of students. College grads, high school dropouts and everyone in between went through this eight week grind together.
Two guys were neck-and-neck through the first 7 weeks to determine the highest overall grade.
It came down to the Z Code test, with the higher of the two competitors named the top graduate and saluting Colonel Moran after walking to the middle of the stage at graduation.
The post band kept playing Watermelon Man as hundreds of us with various MOS designations filed in. Check out the song HERE.