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In radio communications, "CQ" (pronounced as individual letters, i.e. "see-queue", or as a mnemonic, "seek you") is a standardized term used to mean "calling all stations." The call format varies somewhat, but it generally looks something like this:

CQ CQ CQ, this is kilo alpha one x-ray yankee zulu calling CQ on 14.321 megahertz, this is KA1XYZ calling CQ and standing by.

I think in the phrase "calling CQ," "CQ" would be considered a noun or pronoun, as the direct object of "calling." Perhaps it is effectively a plural "you"? At the start, is it also a noun or pronoun, used for direct address?

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Expanding my comments in an answer:

The fact that the language of ham operators is to some extent standardized does not prevent us from analyzing it, especially since it is clearly rooted in natural language. Similarly, linguists use European Parliament proceedings for corpus research, and that language can be formulaic as well.

What I would do is look for parallels in more natural language. The use of CQ in CQ, CQ, CQ, this is ... is similar to a greeting, like Hello in Hello, is anybody there? Since hello is analyzed as an interjection, I would analyze CQ in the same way.

In calling CQ it's originally a quotation, but you could say it has been incorporated into the verb (i.e., there is a verb call CQ). Similar things happen with play soccer (though here it's a proper noun that is incorporated into the verb, rather than a quotation).

You mentioned:

Perhaps it is effectively a plural "you"? At the start, is it also a noun or pronoun, used for direct address?

This is an option, but it is not attractive. CQ only appears at the beginning of a call or in calling CQ (where it is clearly a quotation). So it would be limited to the vocative (as you note) and, perhaps in calling CQ, object position. But such a pronoun could normally be used after a greeting (hey you), which is not possible with CQ (*hey CQ). Furthermore, CQ is a bit odd in that it has no referent. When calling CQ, you often don't know if anybody is listening, so it is not clear what a 2nd person plural pronoun would refer to. In the comparable situation that you enter a shop and there is no one at the counter, you would call out Hello? rather than You?, so again, CQ feels more like an interjection to me.

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    @Lambie I was responding to the suggestion it could be a pronoun, my use of “vocative” was a reference to “direct address” from the question. It would be a vocative if it would be a pronoun, but it is not a pronoun.
    – Keelan
    Jan 3 at 7:48
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    @Lambie sorry, but to me, a linguist and a ham radio operator, that just doesn't make any sense -- and you do not even engage with the explanation that it is an interjection.
    – Keelan
    Jan 3 at 18:26
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    @Lambie you keep asserting that but I don’t see any arguments. It fails basic noun tests. For instance, you can’t conjoin it with nouns. Even if it were a noun originally (for which you have not given evidence), the use in CQ, this is … would be grammaticalized into an interjection. Similarly, back is not a noun in back to the future: context is relevant.
    – Keelan
    Jan 4 at 9:59
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    @Lambie I know what an attributive noun is. CQ is not an attributive noun, because it is not a noun. As has already been pointed out, "CQ code" is not a thing. All you are doing is asserting that CQ is a noun without providing any evidence.
    – Keelan
    Jan 4 at 16:35
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    @Lambie eh… hello is also defined as “an exclamation …”, and exclamation is a noun, but that doesn’t make hello one.
    – Keelan
    Jan 4 at 22:27
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In the part-of-speech tagset of Universal Dependencies CQ would be probably classified as "Symbol", a kind of part-of-speech that is not used for standard written English.

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    Symbols can be replaced by words (ten dollars for $10), which CQ cannot. Also in this set, the interjection category fits best, as interjections “may include a combination of sounds not otherwise found in the language”.
    – Keelan
    Jan 3 at 7:45
  • CQ is a code word used in radio communications, that can act as a noun or adjective or can also be used vocatively.
    – Lambie
    Jan 3 at 18:39
  • CQ means general call. It is most definitely not an interjection.
    – Lambie
    Feb 1 at 17:11

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