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VANITY call sign

Joined
Jul 19, 2013
Messages
112
Location
Petersburg, Virginia USA
#1
I just received my call sign today (Technician). I remember one of the possible questions for the exam pertained to vanity call signs.

So I'm on the FCC website looking at what it takes to get a vanity.
It appears I can't just get any letters at the beginning. There are only a few letters available and it depends on your location.
I'm in zone 4. So K, N, or W at the beginning of my call sign. KN is currently my first two letters. So I'm assuming I have to stay with KN ...or maybe a W in there somewhere??

Says three letters in suffix.

As with most everyone I have one number.

KN4MFU

So my questions : I have to keep the number 4 but can change the last three letters, And the first two letters need to remain KN, ... KW,... NW,... WN,....WK?

https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/bureau...ateur-radio-service/amateur-call-sign-systems
 

alcahuete

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Jul 24, 2015
Messages
426
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Antelope Acres, California
#2
A, K, N, or W are required for the first letter. You do not have to keep the number 4. Original licenses are issued by zone (you are in Zone 4), but you are not required to keep that number for your vanity call.
 
Joined
May 21, 2014
Messages
178
#6
Here are two websites you need to be familiar with. There are specific rules regarding what you can get for a vanity. Do your research to make sure your application will be considered.

AE7Q's Amateur Radio Database Query Tools
RadioQTH Amateur Radio Vanity License Search

Couple of important tips. You will not be considered for a call sign if you apply before the date it is available. If more than one person applies on the first date it is available (2 years after expiration), all applications are thrown in a "hat" and a winner is randomly drawn. Your vanity request must match your license...you can pick any region from 1-10, but not 11-13 unless you live there. So you don't have to keep the 4 if you find something with a different number you like. A 2x2, 1x2, and 2x1 call sign is for Amateur Extra class only (don't mean to insult your intelligence, but someone else reading this may wonder what that means). The "x" represents a numeric from 0-9 for the 10 regions while the "1" and "2" refer to the number of alphabet letters in the call sign--for example AA4A or A4AA are for Amateur Extra class only and are highly sought after. 1x1 call signs are temporary use only for special events and are recycled frequently. You can apply for a 1x3, or a 2x3 like you already have. This is just a brief overview as there are many other rules.

Nobody has the call sign of K4BPB--you are in the man's system Brian.
 
Joined
May 21, 2014
Messages
178
#7
1x2 and 1x3 may only be K, N, or W
2x3 may only be K, or W with anything as the second alpha
The "A" is not for Tech or Gen tickets...2x1 and 2x2 only
 

jaspence

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Michigan
#8
The US only has regions 0 through 9, so I am not sure what I am---- is refering to. Stick to the official ARRL info and you will be ok. You will find that the ARRL is a first line of reference for most any amateur related question. There are other good references, but the ARRL is the official voice of ham radio in the US.
 
Joined
May 21, 2014
Messages
178
#9
The US only has regions 0 through 9, so I am not sure what I am---- is refering to. Stick to the official ARRL info and you will be ok. You will find that the ARRL is a first line of reference for most any amateur related question. There are other good references, but the ARRL is the official voice of ham radio in the US.
Sorry, you are most incorrect... ARRL is a lobbying group and has ZERO authority to do anything but talk...same as the NRA. The FCC is the first line reference and authority for everything communication related. Call signs are not just issued to the 48 lower states...other regions info cut and paste:

FOR STATIONS WITH MAILING ADDRESSES OUTSIDE OF THE 48 CONTIGUOUS (MAINLAND) UNITED STATES
Certain 2-letter prefixes are reserved for Amateurs with mailing addresses outside of the 48 contiguous states. AH, KH, NH and WH prefixes are reserved for the Pacific Area (Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa and certain other small U.S. island possessions); AL, KL, NL and WL prefixes are reserved for Alaska and KP, NP and WP prefixes are reserved for the Atlantic Area (U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and certain other small U.S. Caribbean and South Atlantic island possessions.) These 2-letter prefixes may NOT be selected under the Vanity Call Sign System by radioamateurs with mailing addresses in the 48 (mainland) U.S. states. (Note: It is not required that you reside in these areas, only that your mailing address is there.)

Yes there are only 10, but I cut and pasted info referring to the outside of the 48 areas and they listed them as such.
 

jaspence

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Messages
1,636
Location
Michigan
#10
i am---, you need to learn to read. I said they were the official voice, not the official rule makers. Since the new op is in the continental USA, don't confuse him with more info than necessary, and I don't see any amateur tag associated with your posts. You need to look up the ITU to see where the real control is. https://www.itu.int/en/about/Pages/default.aspx
 

edweirdFL

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Messages
354
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Daytona Beach, FL
#11
The ARRL is only official because they say that they are, and there's no other similar group of any appreciable size in the US which has made a business out of doing what they do.

The majority of US licensed Amateur Radio Operators do not pay the ARRL for membership.

Speaking for myself, I like some of the things they do, while at the same time disliking or disagreeing with other actions or positions they take or endorse. Specifically they are not speaking for me when they lobby Congress or the FCC on rulemaking and laws.

They do publish some great books, and the LoTW confirmation service is great in my opinion.

If you are new to the hobby, don't be confused about what the league is and isn't, and why you might hear a wide range of opinions about them. As others have pointed out, the legal and formal rule making lies with international and governmental agencies.

Some coordination and documentation of accepted best practices is centered at the ARRL or state and regional frequency coordination groups and not the FCC.

The links in post 6 are excellent resources for learning about the vanity call sign program and it's options.
 

W9BU

Lead Wiki Manager
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Jul 18, 2004
Messages
5,602
Location
Brownsburg, Indiana
#12
Folks, the topic here is vanity call signs. Let's stay on topic.

trx680, the link you included in your first post is the definitive source of information for FCC vanity call sign rules. Click on the "Vanity Call Signs" tab at the top of that article for the official rules.
 

FluxMux

Newbie
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Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
13
Location
Swanton, MD
#14
There's two possible call signs available 3 days apart that I really wouldn't mind having. I'm wondering what the FCC would do with the applications if I submitted both as they became available? I'm assuming if there is a lottery on the first and I happened to win it they would just toss the second one. However, I'm not so sure they wouldn't just toss the second one immediately, or both immediately. Not sure which way to roll the dice on this one.
 

W9BU

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#15
OK, let's assume that you are interested in K3ABC and, three days later, W3XYZ comes available. Let's further say that your current callsign is KB4LMN.

You apply for both of the three-land calls. When K3ABC comes available, you get it. Three days later, when W3XYZ comes available, the FCC will look at your application which says that your current call is KB4LMN. Their database will tell them that that's not a current callsign, so your application for W3XYZ will be ignored.
 

FeedForward

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#16
Whilst staying on this topic, I thought I'd mention that beginning with the early days of licensing, amateurs were given a "W" call, a number and a 1 or 2 letter suffix. Like W1AW. The 1 signified a geographical area so it was a snap to know where the signals you heard originated.

Running out of a 1 or 2 letter suffix, probably about 1950 (depending upon high population areas) gave rise to a 3 letter suffix. I will say that when I was a 10 year old kid (about 1960), the W#ABC calls had run out and call signs began with K#. My Elmer and a lot of hams I knew at that time had W#XXX calls. I don't recall ever hearing or knowing any K#X or K#XX call signs so those must have been reserved for special event stations, field days, etc.

Since licensing tiers started with the Novice class (which I am still personally in favor of) your first Novice call sign included an "N" after the first letter. Ex: XN#XXX, the N standing for Novice class. Once you obtained a higher level license, the "N" would be dropped, but you would keep the rest of your existing call. These days, that second letter is used indiscriminately and has no special meaning. Exceptions are KL7 for Alaska and KH6 for Hawaii.

Wherever W# calls had been used up, everyone was given a K#XXX call with appropriate section number. In 1960, all of the younger hams in 7 land were K7XXX. After that time I can't give an accurate accounting since life and family intervened. I remember that in about 1980 the FCC would refuse to change your call sign for any price, unless it was for James Bond himself. Things change and now you can fight hundreds of other hams for an open call. Personally I think it is too bad to constantly change call signs because people get to know you by that name. I think most people want to fake being an experienced long-time operator by bidding on an early call belonging to a "silent key". To each his own.

Just a little personal background.
FeedForward, K7PHX
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
7,641
Location
Wichita Falls, TX
#17
I don't recall ever hearing or knowing any K#X or K#XX call signs so those must have been reserved for special event stations, field days, etc.
Extra Class hams could get 1x2 calls from sometime in the 1960s until 1978 when the rules were restructured and the current sequential callsign system was established. I knew several people with "original" 1x2 callsigns.

As far as I know 1x1 calls did not exist until the special event callsign system was created around 20 years ago. That might have been the same time as the present vanity callsign system was created but I don't remember exactly.
 

FluxMux

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Swanton, MD
#19
I think most people want to fake being an experienced long-time operator by bidding on an early call belonging to a "silent key".
Unless that person is actively having communications with others that already knew the silent key and trying to pass themselves off as that person I don't see how this could remotely be the case. Anyone can take 5 seconds to punch the call sign into the ULS and see how long they've had their license and current call sign anyway. The benefit is there when doing CW. I can especially see the benefit during contests (which I don't take part in, but I can see where the shorter call sign is a benefit). Even at that... I would think a large percentage of the 1x2 call signs assigned today are not currently held by someone who has been using it for decades, so this is the last assumption I would make when hearing one until I looked it up. You should look at the constant changing of call signs even among those who already have a 1x2. I've seen so many people that are changing their 1x2 on a yearly basis (which I think shouldn't be allowed, but my opinion isn't worth the post-it they'd write it on anyway). My opinion is once you get your 1x2... that's it. When you die, it is open only after a two year + 1 day wait anyway, so most who would've known you would most likely have looked you up in the database to find out you let it expire or have become a silent key if they didn't know already.
 

W9BU

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#20
The benefit is there when doing CW. I can especially see the benefit during contests (which I don't take part in, but I can see where the shorter call sign is a benefit).
Not just CW contests, but all contests where the speed with which you can complete the exchange translates into being able to make a large number of contacts in a given time. Shorter callsigns, whether it's dits and dahs or the phonetic alphabet, mean shorter exchanges.
You should look at the constant changing of call signs even among those who already have a 1x2. I've seen so many people that are changing their 1x2 on a yearly basis (which I think shouldn't be allowed, but my opinion isn't worth the post-it they'd write it on anyway).
I generally agree. I think the system is being abused because there are no restrictions stipulating how long you must hold a callsign before changing to a different one and because there is currently no fee (typical government reaction: "the cost to process the payment is greater than the fee itself so why bother having a fee"). I know one U.S. amateur radio operator who has had 5 different callsigns (none of them 1x2, BTW) in 12 months. Why? Because he can.
 
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