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Ham Call Sign License Plates

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#1
Hi everyone,

I'll be taking my technician test soon, and I am considering getting license plates for my car that would have my ham radio operator call sign on them. My state DMV has a program that allows specialized plates for ham radio operators.

My question is, what do you folks think about having your call sign on your vehicle license plates? And why have your vehicle identified as being registered to a ham radio operator in the first place?

The privacy issue is what I wonder about. Running a plate number through DMV takes some doing, but looking up a call sign from a license plate on line would make the information available to just about anybody.

Your thoughts? Thanks! :)
 

gewecke

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#2
They might look nice,but you might as well put a sign on your vehicle that says $$$ found here! If the antennas aren't enough of a clue the plates will be.
Give it serious thought before you order those ham plates,otherwise make sure your vehicle insurance will cover that equipment when it's stolen! Been there,done that!
N9ZAS
 

newsphotog

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#3
I don't know... most people are totally oblivious to what callsigns are, or what ham radio is, or what the antennas are for. They just think it's jibberish. Even if they knew it was ham radio, I'll bet most of *those* guys wouldn't even know where to look up callsigns.

Have you seen some of the cars that hams drive? A lot of them are unappealing, to say the least. The term "jury rigged" comes to mind.

Criminals don't look for ham plates or antennas to decide which car to break into. Fancy, tricked-out cars are more likely to get noticed with large audio systems. Most of the time if it also appears to be an easy-smash-and-grab, they're more likely to steal that instead, as opposed to some radios that are bolted down to the transmission hump or bolted into a police console. I've heard all around the internet that thieves aren't interested in ham equipment. They know it's hard to resell. Sure, ham equipment will get stolen every now and then but I'd be willing to bet that you have an equal chance of getting burgled with no ham plates than you would with ham plates.

If you're an ARRL member, you can insure all of your ham equipment for real cheap, full coverage. Not sure how cheap, but I hear it's very reliable and a decent price.

I'd say go for it. I have never heard of anyone with ham plates getting burgled in my area. It happens, but it probably happens to hams just as much as "regular people." I'm sure that people will argue that I'm wrong, and that's ok with me, but this is from what I have gathered.
 
Joined
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#4
Ham Plates On Your Vehicle.

While I don't have, nor do I want a "wacker-mobile". I do have several antennas on my vehicle due to the fact that I operate several bands out of my vehicle while mobile. The antennas alone draw attention to my vehicle, so the Ham plates do not draw any more.

Fact is, when it comes to law enforcement, the Ham plates answer a lot of questions as to why I have radios in my car before the officer even gets to my driver's door window. While I live in a radio-friendly state; in may states it's illegal to have a radio and/or scanner mounted in a vehicle without a valid Ham ticket.

As for a thief being attracted to your car, the Ham plates are less likely to bring them in than the antenna(s) will. Most B&E guys simply look in the windows of cars as they work their way across the parking lot looking for things to steal. Thus the thief would in all likelihood not even take notice of your plates.

As for insurance, BUY IT!!! While most automobile policies will only cover equipment that is permanently mounted in the vehicle.The ARRL has very good insurance plans that cover full replacement costs of all the equipment in your vehicle that are listed on the policy, should the worst happen to you.

I'm proud of my call, and I do a lot of public service events, so I have Ham plates on my vehicle. My wife, who is also a licensed Ham, while proud of her call, chooses not to have them on her vehicle. Bottom line is, how do you feel about having Ham plates on your vehicle?
 

kb9hgi

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#5
I have had my ham plate for 15 years and never had a problem. I have been asked what is that weird plate you have and what does it mean. Most people don't have a glue anyway.
 

gewecke

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#6
You guys brought up valid points so I suppose it all boils down to the crime rate in your areas and how smart/dumb the perps are. I personally don't care for the notoriety that comes from the antennas or plates,so I tend to stick with a low profile vehicle so as not to attract "brainy" burglars,lol!
73's.
N9ZAS
 

gewecke

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#8
What I do is have a Post Office box as my mailing address. So if someone looks up my callsign they will not find my home address.

Jim, NS3k
This may be true,and a good idea at that but what's to prevent a perp who's shopping for cheap gear to fence from tailing you home or to your next destination? It's probably unlikely that this would happen but it also wouldn't be the first time! Some career thieves DO know what ham gear is worth,and it scares me to think about how many could be on ebay?
N9ZAS
 
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#9
This may be true,and a good idea at that but what's to prevent a perp who's shopping for cheap gear to fence from tailing you home or to your next destination? It's probably unlikely that this would happen but it also wouldn't be the first time! Some career thieves DO know what ham gear is worth,and it scares me to think about how many could be on ebay?
N9ZAS
Why bother they can figure that out from the 100 foot tower in the back yard and 3 antennas on the roof ! I use a PO Box because you MUST give your call over the air every time you key a mike and you certainly do not know who is listening.
 
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#10
Once you obtain a Ham Radio License all of your info including your address city and state are PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE!!! Meaning all they have to do is google your call and there's your info. Go ahead and get your plate most people do know know what it means anyways. They will just see another custom plate.


Hi everyone,

I'll be taking my technician test soon, and I am considering getting license plates for my car that would have my ham radio operator call sign on them. My state DMV has a program that allows specialized plates for ham radio operators.

My question is, what do you folks think about having your call sign on your vehicle license plates? And why have your vehicle identified as being registered to a ham radio operator in the first place?

The privacy issue is what I wonder about. Running a plate number through DMV takes some doing, but looking up a call sign from a license plate on line would make the information available to just about anybody.

Your thoughts? Thanks! :)
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2008
Messages
118
#11
These are all excellent points to consider. Thanks to all for sharing them. I'll likely go ahead and get the plates and go from there. Getting call sign plates it something I likely would not have ever considered doing before, guess I'm excited to finally join the world of Ham!

73 :)
 

KE4ZNR

KE4ZNR@radioreference.com
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Jan 21, 2002
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Raleigh, NC
#12
Who would be goofy enough to put their Ham Call on their License plate? :cool:
Happy Monitoring!
Marshall KE4ZNR
 

N0IU

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#13
Something else to consider is whether or not you plan on keeping the Tech license or are you planning on upgrading? If you upgrade to General or Extra and change your call sign or if you get a vanity call sign, your Tech plates will technically be illegal since the Technician call sign won't belong to you any more.
 

WX4JCW

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#15
I got my Vanity Call and waited to get my plates till then, I am not too worried about theft as they can look inside so it doesn't matter much i would guess.
 
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Laurium, michigan
#16
In Michigan you have to provide a copy of your FCC license to get the HAM plate.

If you change your call sign then your old FCC license is no longer valid and maybe that would invalidate your registration on your car..........

You don't have to change call signs as you move up from Tech to Extra.
 
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#17
In Michigan you have to provide a copy of your FCC license to get the HAM plate.

If you change your call sign then your old FCC license is no longer valid and maybe that would invalidate your registration on your car..........

You don't have to change call signs as you move up from Tech to Extra.
They have requirements so that only authorized hams are issued the plate, once it is issued it is just a license plate like any other license plate, the status of your FCC license does not matter. Some states may want additional verification before renewing the plate but most only want initial proof, and of course if your call sign changed they may want proof that the new callsign is assigned to you.
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
816
Location
Corbett, OR USA
#18
Hi everyone,

I'll be taking my technician test soon, and I am considering getting license plates for my car that would have my ham radio operator call sign on them. My state DMV has a program that allows specialized plates for ham radio operators.

My question is, what do you folks think about having your call sign on your vehicle license plates? And why have your vehicle identified as being registered to a ham radio operator in the first place?

The privacy issue is what I wonder about. Running a plate number through DMV takes some doing, but looking up a call sign from a license plate on line would make the information available to just about anybody.

Your thoughts? Thanks! :)
I've had mine for quite a long time.
The only people who had a clue what the plate meant were other hams.
The rest asked "What does that mean?"

Only $5 xtra surcharge here (and there) in Oregon.
Go for it. The price is right and you only live once.
Oregon DMV Form 231 (pdf)

When you get your ticket, and assuming you get a 2m/70cm rig,
PM me and we can chat on the Oregon Connection linked system.
(Scroll down on that page to find the linked repeater nearest to you)

-Mike
 
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2,479
Location
Newport, Tennessee
#19
If you change your call sign then your old FCC license is no longer valid and maybe that would invalidate your registration on your car..........
So with that statement, if I get a plate that had my name on it, lets say 'Bob' and I changed my name to 'Leroy' then my tags are not legal?

They are license plates for cars and they are registered with the DMV, doesn't matter what is on them as long as the DMV knows that tag goes on a particular car.
 

N0IU

Member
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Wentzville, Missouri
#20
OK, so maybe its not illegal as long as your state's licensing authority is happy, but why would you want vanity plates on your car with a callsign that no longer belonged to you??
 
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