Amateur Radio License Plates

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KK6WTT

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What is the purpose of amateur radio license plates? I recently got mine. Other than look cool, I don't know what they are intended for? Is it to discover call signs for other HAM cars so that you can call them on the radio?
 

wxwarn285

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Amateur Radio is considered apart of the emergency management community, I would say at least 75% of amateur radio operators are part of ARES=Amateur Radio Emergency Services, Skywarn/storm spotter/trained chaser or some kind of EmComm=Emergency Communication organization. In Most states you have to show a current ARES ID card to obtain this tage. Look up the history of amateur radio in EmComm.
 

K7MEM

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I think "75% of amateur radio operators" being part of ARES is grossly over stated. It may be true, in your circle of ham operators. But it certainly is not in mine. In fact, I don't know anyone with a ARES ID card and I have been a ham for 50 years. But then, I never asked to see one and I haven't been on VHF in a very long time. However, this has nothing to do with the subject.

Some states have license plates specifically for hams. They often ask to see your ham license. That gets you a license plate with a lightening bolt or antenna tower printed on the side. And, it usually says Amateur Radio. In Arizona, Amateur Radio plates are one of about 40 different plates available. There are so many that you often can't figure out that it's a AZ plate. However, it is also possible to get your call sign on a license plate, without all the frills. Then it is just considered a Vanity plate.

As to why we get them? Well, because. No other good reason. My license plate (Arizona) is just a plain old plate with my call sign. A Vanity plate, as opposed to a Amateur Radio plate. Nothing on the plate indicates that I am a ham. The only ones that actually recognize it as that, are other hams. Outside of amateur radio, no one can figure out what the meaning is. They just see K7MEM, and wonder why it doesn't start with "K9". Even the local Sheriff can't figure it out.

One of these days I will come up with a good fake story to explain what it means. That will thrill all of the tourists (I live south of the Grand Canyon, just off of route 66). I'll start it out with "Well, back in nineteen-aught-seven ... ".

Martin - K7MEM
 

cmjonesinc

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I always just assumed it was like one of the many other special plates my state offered and nothing more. Just something to show what you like and give the state a few extra bucks. According to my states DMV site they offer 195 different personalized tags.
 

Sporrt

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What is the purpose of amateur radio license plates? I recently got mine. Other than look cool, I don't know what they are intended for? Is it to discover call signs for other HAM cars so that you can call them on the radio?
If you have multiple antennas, Amateur radio plates pretty much answer the question of 'what's with all the antennas', before it's even asked.

Could also keep one from being lumped into the 'Whacker' category, by LE and others.
 

KE0GXN

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Not sure about the 75% figure thrown out there.....I have to agree with Martin, I don't think so either.

With that said, I am an active member of my ARES group and have been since I got my ticket almost a year ago. I have no ID card issued to me from ARES, so I don't know, what ID you speak of?

As far as the plates, here in MO you can apply for Amateur Radio vanity plates, by simply paying a $15 dollar fee, filing an application and signing a form swearing that you have a valid FCC issued call sign and that it is not currently revoked or suspended and in good standing, along with a copy of your FCC license. The plate uses your call sign instead of the usual random numbers and letters non-vanity plates use and underneath states "Amateur Radio" instead of "Show Me State". I requested a set a few months ago, unfortunately I have yet to receive mine. Here in can take up to two months to receive them......I keep joking they need to light a fire on our prison convicts and get my plates out to me. :)

As for the reason.. I am sure they are many with each individual operator, for me it was simply a matter of being proud of my call and wanting to identify with my fellow HAMs when I am out and about. As I doubt, anyone who is not a HAM will know what the heck amateur radio is, much less what the letters and one number on my plate mean.

Will it generate calls from other HAMs while I am driving around....maybe I guess. I'll have to wait and see.

Of course it will only be a matter of time before the "black helo" believers chime in, who will say we are all idiots for advertising our calls, our names and where we live on our license plates, etc.. :roll:

To each there own, if someone wants to find you they will....my HAM vanity plate will not make it any easier. And if it does, oh well, come on by, I live in a town of 10K, most everybody knows who I am, what I do and where I live anyway. I am not trying to hide. I can't, even if I wanted to.

So, come on already convicts.... getter done, I want my plates! :D
 
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SteveC0625

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To each there own, if someone wants to find you they will....my HAM vanity plate will not make it any easier. And if it does, oh well, come on by, I live in a town of 10K, most everybody knows who I am, what I do and where I live anyway. I am not trying to hide. I can't, even if I wanted to.
I live in a town with a total population under 3,000. Ain't no hiding anywhere. And my plates mark me even more than amateur plates.

 

Sporrt

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Amateur Radio is considered apart of the emergency management community, I would say at least 75% of amateur radio operators are part of ARES=Amateur Radio Emergency Services, Skywarn/storm spotter/trained chaser or some kind of EmComm=Emergency Communication organization. In Most states you have to show a current ARES ID card to obtain this tage. Look up the history of amateur radio in EmComm.
Even in Tennessee, an ARES ID is only necessary to have the extra fee for amateur plates waived.

'(e) (1) To be eligible for an amateur radio license plate issued pursuant to § 55-4-202(c)(1)(A) without paying the fee prescribed by § 55-4-203(a)(4)(A)(ii) in addition to the regular fee for the plate, the registrant shall furnish proof to the commissioner, through the county clerk, that the registrant is a member of a squad or group that actively participates in needed services during any and all emergencies, as determined by the civil defense, rescue squads or other organizations that are engaged in volunteer emergency services.'

http://sumnerares.blogspot.com/2014/04/amateur-radio-emergency-license-plates.html?m=1
 

W9BU

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The 75% of hams involved in some form of auxiliary communications organization is simply not realistic. Maybe 25%. In my county, there are 421 licensed amateur radio operators. Approximately 50 are registered with ARES and about 10-20 are actually active. While I don't have the actual numbers, I think most parts of the country are similar in this regard.

Each state sets their own rules for obtaining an amateur radio license plate. In Indiana, the rules say you have to show your FCC amateur radio license, not your ARES ID.

Back to the OP's question...I think hams get callsign plates to show off that they are amateur radio operators. Beyond that, I don't think they are much value. The importance to having callsign plates will vary from state to state depending on that state's rules. When I moved to Kentucky, I asked some hams why they didn't have callsign plates. The answer was "they're too expensive [about 4 times what I had been paying in Indiana] and they don't mean anything to emergency personnel".
 

KE0GXN

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Echo Mike Two-Seven
Yeah, I am guessing 25% if that.... is more accurate, in regards to ARES. Still wish I knew of this "ARES ID" people speak of....?

Other than the issued ARRL call/name plate (the one you wear on a shirt), I know of no offiicial ID card. Will have to ask my EC about this "secert" unit within ARES...LOL!

Wanting to identify with my fellow HAMs and pride in my call are the only reasons I ordered my plates. I have zero illusions of it or me being recognized by PS personnel as being someone "special".... Amateur Radio plates mean squat to LE or any other PS official...at least here in MO.
 
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KE0GXN

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LOL! Non code HAM here, at least for now. I don't have any plans on honking my horn at other HAM plate holders....however a call on 52 may not be out of the question. :D
 

KK6WTT

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The only requirement to obtain the plates in California (where I live) was to send in a copy of your FCC license and an extra one-time fee of $20. One advantage in California is that you get to keep your plates if you were to sell your vehicle (plates stay with the car in CA when sold).
 

KK6WTT

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On the point of identifying HAMs while driving, is there a particular frequency that HAMs will monitor while driving? Something similar to CB's channel 19 (the trucker's channel)?

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
 

902

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I was a professional emergency manager in a public safety agency (long enough to take a deferred vested retirement from it), and I've been a ham for 38 years. I won't debate the uses and vices of amateur radio and amateur radio operators.

As for license plates, in my former job, we didn't consider ham plates to be anything more than pride in one's hobby. I don't think they'll get anyone to the front of a gas station line, past curfew, or through a blockade like, say, National Guard or Firefighter plates might (although I did have a firefighter plate with my ham call sign on it many years ago).

Anymore, they might even be OPSEC issues. Once upon a time, you needed a Call Book to look someone up, and those weren't everywhere. Now with ubiquitous data, the first thing I do if someone sends me a picture with a call sign plate in it, is I look it up. I'm only curious, but not everyone else is.

I elected to keep the "I'm nobody" plates on my cars these days, and don't even have bumper stickers or anything else that are personally identifying.
 

wxwarn285

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Okay maybe not 75% but I live in Tennessee and we seem to have a big emcomm/ARES community. I have been a member of mutiple ARES groups since I got licensed and I do feel that we are a part of the emergency management system and here if you meet the qualifications for your local ARES or county EMA amateur group then the county EC issues you an ID card and yes I was mistaken about having to have an ID card to receive a tag.

From what I understand the only amateur radio tage in Tennessee has emergency at the bottom which is what I thought you were talking about, but you are talking about a generic amateur radio tag I see.

Just trying to help, I still think at least half of my statements are accurate. Also you dont have to be apart of an ARES group to provide some type of emergency communications, urgent radio traffic. Who knows, when the crap hits the fan, you maybe the only guy in your neighborhood with reliable communications.
 

mmckenna

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An now that you have call sign plates, you need to learn how to tap out "HI" on your cars horn. :) I don't do that with my truck (94 F-150) because the horn, among other things, doesn't work.

Martin - K7MEM
At one time back in the 90's I had amateur plates on my truck (WL7MN). The only thing it ever did for me was get a few .... .. from passing amateurs.

Never had to show anything to get them, and I think it cost $15 in California back then.

I got rid of them when the internet really took off and I realized how easy it was to run my call sign, figure out who I was, address, phone number, etc. Since I did a lot of traveling for work, I decided that wasn't in my (or my wife's) best interest. I swapped them out at the local DMV office for standard plates.
 
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