Vanity Callsign: Why Get One?

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RadioDaze

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This is more of a philosophical question about vanity signs. I have a callsign that's almost 20 years old in my region. I was at HRO a few weeks ago buying more toys, and when the salesman asked for my sign, I told him and he said, "Wow, that's an oldie" or words to that effect. I felt kinda proud for a minute, but aside from that, it doesn't really roll off the tongue when spelled phonetically. I see in a database that I could get a sign that contains my initials, for example.

What are some of the reasons you folks would use to justify a change of callsign? Is it better to keep an original old one, or change it for one you "like" better. I'll point out that virtually NO ONE will have any trouble contacting me due to a change in my callsign. (I have not been that active on the air.)
 

zz0468

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This is more of a philosophical question about vanity signs. I have a callsign that's almost 20 years old in my region. I was at HRO a few weeks ago buying more toys, and when the salesman asked for my sign, I told him and he said, "Wow, that's an oldie" or words to that effect. I felt kinda proud for a minute, but aside from that, it doesn't really roll off the tongue when spelled phonetically. I see in a database that I could get a sign that contains my initials, for example.

What are some of the reasons you folks would use to justify a change of callsign? Is it better to keep an original old one, or change it for one you "like" better. I'll point out that virtually NO ONE will have any trouble contacting me due to a change in my callsign. (I have not been that active on the air.)
My callsign is a recognizable 'oldie' too, and I've had it for almost 35 years. At this point, I would NEVER change it. I've been quite active, and in some circles, my callsign is known well enough that to change it would cause considerable consternation.

But if you haven't been active, and not that many people know you by your call sign, I see no reason you shouldn't change it to something you like better. Maybe you'll get on the air more often if it just rolls off your tongue.
 

Paulsan

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I figured I might as well go with a 1x2 since I had gotten my Extra Lite (no code) within three years of becoming a Ham and wasn't well known by my call. If I had to get an Extra the hard way like older Hams did I would have probably kept my call, but the FCC has made it easier and faster for the new generation to upgrade so we don't have our calls as long as the previous generation prior to upgrading.
 

n4yek

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The plus of NOT getting a vanity call is that you don't have to pay the FCC money every time you re-new your callsign. I just go online to the ULS system and re-new it, no money involved.

I like my callsign and I'll never change it even though I had the opportunity to do so while I upgraded through the 5 levels of ham radio years ago.

If you were a Ham years ago and are getting back into Ham radio, trying to get your old callsign would probably be something a person would want to do if they have the chance to do so.
 

k8tmk

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My callsign was an original when I got it in 1960. I chose not to change it as I moved up from Novice to Extra.

Conversely, my wife was issued a callsign that was kind of hard to say (KD8CZO). The day after it was issued, she exchanged it for a callsign that contained her initials (W8ALK). We have since learned from the 25-50-75 Years Ago column in QST that her callsign was previously issued to a Mr. Lufkin who had a company that produced quality test equipment.

Randy, K8TMK
 

k9rzz

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Why drive a Ford? How come you still smoke? Who cares?

After 25 years of WB9UAI I wanted a change. Simple as that.
 

K8TEK

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My callsign was an original when I got it in 1960. I chose not to change it as I moved up from Novice to Extra.

Conversely, my wife was issued a callsign that was kind of hard to say (KD8CZO). The day after it was issued, she exchanged it for a callsign that contained her initials (W8ALK). We have since learned from the 25-50-75 Years Ago column in QST that her callsign was previously issued to a Mr. Lufkin who had a company that produced quality test equipment.

Randy, K8TMK
Nice callsign.
K8TEK
 

jim9251

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I just got mine today, and KD0JPH doesn't exactly roll off the tongue (Kilo Delta Zero Juliet Papa Hotel). I applied for a vanity call a simple 1x3 and noticed several easy ones are available (K0AAB for example or K0VHS). Easy cheezy.
 
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kb2vxa

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The operator's name is Philip Galasso but K2PG is not a vanity call. (;->)

You walked into the ham shack like you were walking onto a yacht
Your key strategically placed on the bench
With your mic you sure talk alot
You had one eye in the mirror as you watched yourself gavotte
And all the YLs dreamed that they'd be in your logbook
They'd be in your logbook, and...

You're so vain, you probably think this callsign's about you
You're so vain, I'll bet you think this callsign's about you
Don't you? Don't you?
 

N0IU

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Your callsign is unique. If yours was sequentially issued by the FCC, you are the only one with whom that callsign can be associated. I can absolutely see where there can be a great deal of sentimental value in one's callsign, but on the other hand, there is nothing personal about it. It is just a random series of letters with a number thrown in somewhere in the middle.

No, I didn't need to get a vanity, but I will admit that it really is all about that... vanity. I chose mine in recognition of my college - Indiana University. The club station's callsign is K9IU and I wanted KØIU since I live in ZERØ land, but that one was taken so I chose the next best thing - NØIU

Actually, I kind of got my vanity call by mistake... sort of! It was a little over 13 years ago when the vanity system started that the FCC had their first attempt at online vanity license applications. It was pretty basic and nothing like today's ULS system. So anyway, it was just after Thanksgiving of 1996 and I applied for my current callsign. Of course the said that you also had to fill out the Form 159, but there was no way (IIRC) to pay it online like there is now. I never did send them the money so I figured they would never process the application.

So I go to the mailbox in February 1997 and lo and behold, there is my new license with my vanity callsign! I guess I had scammed the FCC and got my callsign for free! I didn't think about it until about a year letter, I get a "nasty-gram" from Gettysburg saying that if I did not immediately remit the required fee, my license would be revoked! Well how crappy is that... they make the mistake and then threaten to revoke my license!!

Well needless to say, I sent them their lousy money!
 

W9BU

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I was originally issued N9KRS under the sequential system. When he first heard my callsign, my elmer said it would be a good CW call. The irony of that was that I was one of the first codeless Technicians licensed in my area. I had no real issues with the call other than folks sometimes got the K and the S wrong on voice.

When the vanity call system was launched, I started thinking about changing my call. I wanted the RXR suffix because of my hobby interest (look at my avatar for a clue). Neither N9RXR or K9RXR were available. I don't remember if W9RXR was available at the time, but I really didn't think I deserved a W9 call because I was still a Tech and I associated the W9 calls with really mature hams with lots of experience.

Then, I moved to Kentucky which is in the 4th call district. K4RXR was available, so I applied for it and that became my call. When I moved back to Indiana, I kept K4RXR for some time. Then, the rules were changed and it looked like I might be able to upgrade to General and maybe Extra. So, I applied for W9RXR and got it.

I've thought about changing my call again. A 1x2 would be nice, but there aren't many available that I would want. I may just stick with what I have.

If you are interested in researching callsigns, the Vanity HQ allows you to search for a callsign and then trace its history.
 

N4DES

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I thought about changing mine at one time, but after reviewing what I would need to change from KS4VT (email, board log-ons, vehicle tag, etc.) it just wasn't worth it....but then again the I like my "Keep Searching 4 Vacuum Tubes". :)
 
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DaveNF2G

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My call is also well known in the local area and online, so I don't have any incentive to change it. Besides, it's a 2x1, so it is a practical call for most operating modes.

Some hams in my area have started grabbing X calls (which used to be unavailable to hams) to commemorate historic regional radio stations, some of which used to employ them.
 

RadioDaze

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I appreciate the responses so far. I'm leaning toward changing it, as it's seen very little use on the air, and I tend to mangle the phonetic version of it. My own initials would be much smoother - delta whiskey tango. Sounds kinda like a Southern dance from a Buffett song.
 

rhomeeyeball

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I was licensed KE5something this time around, but then my Dad became a silent key. He got his ticket in 1937 and was always very active. I applied for his call to keep it on the air and in the family. W5GJX is probably not a dream call. It is not that easy to use no matter what mode I'm using and I run into people who knew him on the air. Then I get to explain and tell them they are not talking to my Dad. I have no plans to change again...it is something that has been a part of my life since before I knew what a radio would do.

One of his friends sent me his first SWL and QSL cards so I got a frame that had five slots and put two more of the cards he used over the years and then mine at the bottom.
 

RadioDaze

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I think keeping his memory alive like that is great. And it keeps you in touch with people who knew him, and who probably appreciate that they got a chance to chat with you about him.
 

VA3QRM

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vanity call sign?

Love mine......it actually busts through pile ups. Plus the people that think I'm a bootlegger; they could not allow a Q call suffix (?) , priceless!
 

W9BU

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Plus the people that think I'm a bootlegger; they could not allow a Q call suffix (?) , priceless!
In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission will not issue a call sign where the suffix of the call is one of the Q signals. Obviously, that's not true in other countries.
 

reedeb

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Mine has been and always will be N1VAT [or a some of my buds in 1 country called me Value Added Tax]. It just rolls off my toung
 
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