|You have decided to
change your call
sign. Maybe you just upgraded your license, moved to a new call area or
decided you want a shorter call. Maybe you want something easier to use
in contests, a call that is easier for your friends to remember or just
plain don't like the way your call "sounds" or "looks". Hams treat call
signs with a special reverence, attaching a whole personality to a
sequence of numbers and letters, so changing your call can be an
event. No matter the reason, this article can help you choose your
vanity call sign.
First, before we get started on choosing your call sign, a little "how-to" information.There are five great sites that will give you all the information you need to know to be successful in applying for and obtaining your selected call sign:
http://www.vanityhq.com/ by Mike . N4MC Carroll (yes, it is back on-line)
http://www.ae7q.com by Dean Gibson,
by Eldon Lewis, K7LS
ARRL site at http://www.remote.arrl.org/arrlvec/vanity.html
and http://www.fcc.gov/wtb/amateur/vanity.html provided by FCC.
What makes an "ideal call
of all there is no universal "ideal call sign". Everyone's choice will
be personal for them and limited by the group of call signs available
them based on their license class, geographic location, previously
call signs, etc. Your first step should be to check http://www.vanityhq.com/ , http://www.ae7q.com
and/or http://www.radioqth.net/ for available
and soon to be available call signs.
Selection of your "ideal call sign" can first be divided into 3 categories based on your reason for wanting a new call. I have divided these into Personalized, Cute and Optimized Characters.
1) Personalized call sign choices can include initials, name, location, nickname, club name, etc. Selection of these is usually pretty easy, simply browse through available call signs to see if one matching your choice is available. In order to increase your chances of finding something that matches do not forget to check all combinations, not just suffixes (e.g., K3JIM, KJ3IM, WQ5RP, etc.).
2) Cute choices can include a wide variety calls that are visually (W0XX), phonetically (K4BFT - "big fat turkey"), initially (K4FBI, W6USN), acronyms (K2LED), spell words or abbreviations (K8PIE, K4YL, K7OM). Often the numbers 1 and 0 visual similarity to i and o are used to "spell" cute combinations (K1TE, K0RN, etc.)
3) Optimized Character
call sign choices are based on selecting a set and sequence of letters
and numbers that benefit the call holder with one or more advantages
easier to send, easier to receive, fewer errors by receiver, quicker
etc. OC calls can be the most challenging to select as criteria can be
very subjective and personal. I stewed for long time on selecting my
OC call sign. I finally made up a spreadsheet and ranked all the
calls in a number of criteria categories then ranked their scores. The
criteria used was collected from a number of sources including articles
by experienced contesters and DXers, phonetics studies, psychology and
learning studies, graphic arts and marketing studies, personal
and subjective input from fellow hams.
The criteria considered for OC included:
Other criteria you could use might include difficulty in sending a letter in CW, letters difficult in certain foreign languages, similarity to "well known" call signs, etc.. I rated my selected calls on 1(best) to 10 basis for each category (either subjectively or by numerical value depending on criteria) then found average score for each call. Well, this may sound obsessive (and my wife told me it definitely was!), but I had my old call for 19 years, used it many thousands of times and hope I do not need to change my call again soon.
After you have selected
your call sign selections, you need to complete your FCC Vanity
For invaluable help with this process, please refer to the four urls
near beginning of this article. Then the wait begins as you hope the
grants you one of your top choices. Fortunately the process usually
less than one month. I hope to hear you on the air soon with your
You've got your new call sign, so show it off. Want a suitable for framing version of your license information? Visit AE7Q's http://amateur.mailpen.net/Generate.html
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