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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'

from NL7XM on December 28, 2012
View comments about this article!

"Ham Radio? They Still Do That?"
By NL7XM

Some say Amateur Radio is disappearing from the modern American landscape. Others claim that the opposite is true, having more to offer than ever before as it represents a natural complement to today's computer environment.

Regardless of who you side with, the fact is that Amateur Radio's exposure is far from what is was in years' past.

I believe there's one simple thing that almost all Hams could only have to do once, but would result in many years of residual advertising and welcome exposure that our hobby could desperately use these days.

"What could that be?" you ask.

Get yourself a Call Letter Ham Tag license plate for your vehicle.

That's right. For a one-time fee of only $20 (in Pennsylvania) you could have an attractive, personalized, shiny, new State License Plate bearing your unique FCC issued Amateur Radio Callsign for all the world to admire anytime you drive, and anywhere you park your vehicle. Let everyone know that Ham Radio is both alive and well while making certain no one mistakes your ľ l 2m antenna for a CB whip, "Fer sure, Good Buddy!"

Here is Pennsylvania's PennDOT form MV-904.

http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms/mv_forms/mv-904.pdf

Simply complete Sections A, C, and E and enclose a copy of your Ham Ticket + $20, mail it back and wait for your friendly neighborhood US Mail Carrier to deliver your vehicle's new official credentials in time to show them off at your next Club Membership Meeting or Hamfest. You may even be able to get one for each vehicle, like I did!

Since I got mine, bugs don't stick to the windshield and I get better gas mileage. Pretty girls ask for rides while I'm stopped at red lights. Perfect strangers wave to me and other drivers don't blow their horns anymore except for an occasional "CQ." I get free E-Z Pass, oil changes, valet parking at Wal-Martģ, and no more speeding tickets!

OK... I'm lying about the girls...

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by K8QV on December 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I've never been asked about my call sign plate. I don't think anyone knows what it is. I have a small antenna on the vehicle and have been asked about my CB. A couple of other hams have introduced themselves due to my call sign on my hat or shirt.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by AA6CK on December 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Have had similar experience to K8QV. Also, it's worth noting that anyone who sees your callsign in traffic can enter it in an Internet search engine and gain some pretty detailed information about you. Not everyone may want that kind of exposure. I used to have callsign plates, but times have changed. 73!
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by K2WH on December 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Call letter plates are fine vanity items, but the average person on the street has no idea they are ham call letters. Ham call plates are not unique in that a CB'er could get his/her calls on a plate (if they still have a real license). I have had call letter plates for at least 30 years and to tell you the truth, i'm tired of explaining what ham radio is cause most have no idea or don't care to know.

K2WH
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by N6HE on December 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I'm asked by a fair amount of people what my amateur radio callsign license plate represents, and I'm happy to explain amateur radio to them, stressing our unique communications capabilities in times of disaster. I operate mobile VHF/UHF and have a whip on the SUV. Nobody's yet asked to see the radio.

A few people ask what kind of private plane I have (I'm N6HE) - and American aircraft "tail numbers" start with an N)! And I'm happy to explain....

And it's always nice for other hams to see and say hi to me either on the road or in parking lots. And vice versa.

And law enforcement / fire folks know what they are - and that might be a good thing, too.

Bottom line - I'm 100% FOR the idea!

73,
Ray N6HE





 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KF4HPY on December 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
When tornadoes,and floods were hitting Gergia often in the 90's; ham plates were free in appreciation of our disaster relief work. Since the tax monies aren't forthcoming in the old amounts; Ham plates now cost $55.00, a vanity fee appplicable to teacher, wildlife, alumni, and other such plates. Most of us are buying the $20.00 regular plates. 73! Ed
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by AI2IA on December 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I have had call sign plates for many years. Only one person ever asked about them.

An older woman asked me what kind of special plates they were. It says "ham radio" on the plate. I told her that they were special plates issued by the state for drivers who are legally blind. She was satisfied with that answer and responded by saying, "That's nice."

Over the years I've had three hams contact me based on the plates.

Anymore suggestions?
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KB9TMP on December 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
AI2IA wrote: "I told her that they were special plates issued by the state for drivers who are legally blind."

Too funny!!! Could just hear Bill Engvall say that followed with "Here's your sign!" 8^)
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KK2DOG on December 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Trouble is, you're pretty-much advertising that you have a bunch of ham gear in your car, and a dishonest person will steal it if given the opportunity. Leave your door unlocked so they don't break your window!

Kinda' like the APRS mobile folks advertising electronically that they're not home either.


Mike KK2DOG
www.hamwave.com
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by W8AAZ on December 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I have callsign plates but never have been asked about them or even had any other hams say anything. And I imagine alot of people are trying to figure out what it is an abbreviation for, or pronunciation, and think I am a weirdo. I have seriously considered dropping them and going plain to save the money. Can maybe hang the old tags in the shack or something.
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KG4RUL on December 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I have been asked about the license plate and the five antennas on my vehicle. I keep literature about Amateur Radio in the car for just these occasions. And, Amateur Radio plates in SC are only $2, making them the cheapest personalized plates available.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by W0AAA on December 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Hey Pete. Great post. I've had callsign plates on my vehicles since 1965. I have had many cars/trucks over the years and many inquiries about what my plate means. I've always tried to explain it in a way that promotes our hobby. I've never had anyone break into my car and I've never even worried about it. Callsign plates are a great way to advertize a great hobby and every vehicle I will ever own will have my call on it!
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by SWMAN on December 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I have had my vanity plates for almost 2 years now and have never been asked about them. Here in Texas they read " Texas Radio Operator " W5JJG. Here there is no aditional fee for the vanity plates just the annual 52 dollar fee. I sort of wish that someone would ask me about them ut has never happened.
Happy New Year and 73. Jim. W5JJG
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by K7NSW on December 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Have had a plate on my car in Idaho for over 20 years. Result? Nothing - zip - nada. Not even a Hi toot of a car horn from another ham. Oh well!
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by AE6YB on December 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I have had mine for a few years and only one question from a co-worker saying she couldn't figure out what it said. If I am every asked again, I'm going to use the "legally blind" comment!
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KC8VWM on December 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I have been approached several times. Many "inquiries" were from many other hams.

Other times, inquiries came from the law enforcement community. I have occasion where I have had contact with them. (No it wasn't during a time I was getting a ticket or anything like that. I actually have friends who are people who work in this area you know :))

My wife who is not a ham was driving my car was also approached on several occasions. She would come home and tell me about some ham who saw the license plate and approached her about it. I recall her bringing those ham fest type QSL "business" type cards home.

 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by K0CBA on December 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My wife (WA0TIZ) and I both have call plates on our respective vehicles but we have only had two or three notices of them in many years.

Since the code-free thing you neve hear a "HI" or "CQ" blast on horn and should you toot one out to another car with ham plates they just look at you like you just fell out of a tree. (progress, huh?)

Being in the zero district we have the slashed zero so that does stick out some but since states have discovered gold in the dozens of various 'vanity' plates, ham plates have gotten lost in the crowd.

Now that the FCC has the vanity call thing I wonder what these guys do that change their call when they upgrade and/or every time some other call catches their fancies?
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by VK2GWK on December 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
To have VK2GWK on my license plate would cost me $400 (australian = US$420) per year.... So I know I can spend that money better than on vanity....
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by AA0CW on December 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Here in Colorado the ham call sign plates have SCL along the edge. I've been asked several times what SCHOOL I work for. It seems SCL means Special Call License.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KE7YD on December 28, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I think I'll stick with my USAF Veteran plates.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by TANAKASAN on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Not allowed in my neck of the woods but I do have a callsign sticker in the back window. My score over the last thirty years is two QSL cards stuck under the wipers and one CQ sent by horn.

Most of the time when they see my 5/8ths 2m antenna they try and hail me as a passing taxi.

Tanakasan
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by K2WH on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I had one person try to pronounce my call letter plate when I was WA2AEH mistaking the "2" as the letter "S".

The person tried to say WASAEH or WAZ ZAH. Must have been poor eyesight.

K2WH
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by NA4IT on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My wife had a friend ask her what we were doing in her neighborhood during Christmas one year. She asked why. Her friend said she heard someone had called the cops with my license plate because we had stopped in from of her house to look at her Christmas lights..... hmmmm.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by N1LQ on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Never.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by N0SGA on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I've had a few people ask about my plates,but what they ask is "what's a nosga??" I explain that it is a ham radio plate,and answer any questions they might have, after I tell them the "o" is a "zero"...
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by W4WXT on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I have been asked a few times and am more than happy to take the ti9me to explain. Here is Tennessee, tags are "EMERGENCY" tags and cost a mere $21.50 if your a member of any emergency o0rganization or ARES or RACES.
Here's what they look like.
http://www.tn.gov/revenue/vehicle/licenseplates/emergency/emergsaftey.shtml
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by WJ4Z on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I've read many of the comments with interest. I drive a Sebring convertible (rare enough in east central Alabama with a hamstick and two-meter antennas on the back deck. Across the back is lettered "Amateur Radio World Talk" with my call below that. I get comments frequently. Nothing has ever been stolen and my car is NEVER locked.
After all, if we hide, no one will know we exist.
73,
Dana - WJ4Z
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by WJ4Z on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I've read many of the comments with interest. I drive a Sebring convertible (rare enough in east central Alabama with a hamstick and two-meter antennas on the back deck. Across the back is lettered "Amateur Radio World Talk" with my call below that. I get comments frequently. Nothing has ever been stolen and my car is NEVER locked.
After all, if we hide, no one will know we exist.
73,
Dana - WJ4Z
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by WJ4Z on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I've read many of the comments with interest. I drive a Sebring convertible (rare enough in east central Alabama with a hamstick and two-meter antennas on the back deck. Across the back is lettered "Amateur Radio World Talk" with my call below that. I get comments frequently. Nothing has ever been stolen and my car is NEVER locked.
After all, if we hide, no one will know we exist.
73,
Dana - WJ4Z
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by W7KKK on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I used to have my callsign on the plate but at that time in AZ they were only a vanity plate and nothing said anything about ham or amateur radio on the plate.
Frankly I got more questions from people when I ran a screwdriver for HF on my SUV or truck.
Yes they would ask if it was some kind of CB and I would quickly explain the difference noting that we were licensed and could talk all over the world if conditions were correct.
The antenna got a lot more notice than the plate and led to some very interesting conversations with people.
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KM6CQ on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I have always had call sign plates on the vehicles I drive. Mostly as a courtesy for other hams and comradely. I think they are cool. But I realize others like my wife think they are goofy. Needles to say, she would not appreciate it if I were to put her call on her plates. I guess it is like tattoos. The only people who think they are cool are the ones who have them. The rest of us could care less. Occasionally I will be asked about them by a stranger, and the conversation has always been pleasant. Really I get a lot of comments by strangers about my HF antenna. (Pictures on my QRZ page if interested.) In Reno, it is a small ham community. Its enjoyable to see the call sign plates around town. I think privacy is a valid issue for not having call plates if that is important to you. Others will not run APRS in their vehicles for the same reason. Over all I like the points he makes in his original post. It seems balanced to me.

73, Dan KM6CQ
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by K1CJS on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
In Massachusetts, a ham callsign plate costs $45 a year while regular plates cost $50 for TWO years. There isn't ANY break for people who are volunteers either. Mass. DOT deems the plate a type of vanity plate--and you pay a vanity rate.

Also, that kind of plate is an open invite to thieves around here--and you learn to lock your car or you lose whatever extras you may have is in it.
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by K0JEG on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
"It seems SCL means Special Call License."

Actually stands for Station Call Letters. Same plate for hams and KUSA-TV (and same price too, I think). The only people who noticed my plates were people who already knew me, and the woman at the DMV who couldn't understand why I was able to get a 0 (zero) on my plate, which I guess is verboten in Colorado, except for amateur radio operators.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by K2DFC on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Boy, what a bunch of old f@rts. I have had callsign plates for 40 years. I don't care if anyone asks about them. They are there because they are cool. And are there for other hams to see. I look for and notice other callsign plates when driving. Especially when out of town.

I also have them on my black Crown Vic. With the short antenna on the trunk, blacked out grill, and unusual plate, Everyone gets out of my way on the Interstate.

K2DFC
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by N8CMQ on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Here in Michigan, a standard plate upgraded to a
ham call is $2.00 plus the regular fee.
A graphic plate is $7.00 plus the regular fee.
I guess I will invest in a call plate at that cost!
I wonder how many I can get? I have many vehicles!
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by AA4PB on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
http://www.arrl.org/amateur-license-plate-information
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by K1HC on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
In Massachusetts the ham plates have a lightning bolt on the plate, splitting up the callsign after the number (e.g., "K1/HC" in my case). A person wrote into the Boston Globe "Ask the Globe" column a few years ago and asked "Why do some license plates have a sideways "Z" in them?" The Globe staffer was stumped until someone at the RMV figured out the person was referring to our lightning bolt! I have had a callsign plate for years, and the questions I get are more about the antennas when they are on the car (especially the new loops for 6 and 2 meters). However, I'm proud to advertise the fact I am a ham. No thefts of gear yet, but I do lock my doors.
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by N3HAM on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Ever been a victim of identity theft? I have. About a year ago a bank teller went rogue and decided to give my personal information: account info, DOB, driver's license, and SSN to two accomplises. The proceeded to try to take cash out of my account and were successful in opening a line of credit in my name and having fun at a big box retailer. Luckily another honest teller at another branch got suspicious when someone impersonating me tried to cash a large check and called me. All were caught and prosecuted. I hope they all had fun carving soap bars for their respective boyfriends and girlfriends in the Big House this Xmas. Still it took months to get myself and my credit wrighted and secure again. Now I have two on-line credit check agencies checking everything 24/7 and I still worry. What's this got to do with Call plates? I used to have them, I'm quite proud of my lucky sequential call sign. But I gave them up a while back when I got involved in the digital age. Try googling a regular plate and getting a name and address. It's sometimes wiser to be anonymous and not advertise.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by W4VR on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I had call sign letter plates for many years until one day someone broke into my trunk possibly looking for radio equipment. At the next registration I got regular plates.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KT4EP on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Cost too much in Shelby County, Tennessee (Memphis). Besides, with the plethora of specialty plates, it doesn't matter to the avg Jo Blow, except other hams.

Now, we got to help you with the girls :)
KT4EP
(tx for posting something)
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KD5SFK on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Hey Pete, maybe more people would ask you about your plates if you took the frame off so they could actually read "amateur radio."
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by AF3Y on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Since moving to Florida, I have not had a Ham Radio plate. I just printed out the application form. $5 a year wont break me, even tho I am kinda poor. hi hi

I used to have my AF3Y plate while in S.C., and every once in a while, while crusing down the road around the speed limit, I would have a car behind me come flying up and then all of a sudden back off, and drive at the speed limit or so. I guess the AF3Y spooked them. A friend said it looked like a US Govt. tag (Plain black on white) and the AF could be "Alcohol & Firearms".... You know, one of those G-Men types. Hi

I also have a P.O. box address, so I dont concern myself with location giveaway.

Gene AF3Y
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KF4HR on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I got rid of my ham tags. I didn't like the way they advertise to thieves there is ham gear in the vehicle. Hide away antennas help with this situation too.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by W6CAW on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
What a bunch of whiners! Just be glad you do not live in California. Ham plates are $10.00 one time, when I did it, but it costs $300.00 PER YEAR TO REGISTER A SEVEN YEAR OLD PICKUP TRUCK! If you are not proud to be a Ham don't buy the plates. As most people do not know what they are I am sure all the antennas hanging all over your mobile will be enough to tell the crooks you have something in the vehicle to steal. That's assuming the crack head who breaks into your car is paying attention. The response to this great article reminds me of the Hams who think their HF antenna is so narrow banded they have to tune up right on top of the QSO. I think we need a minimum IQ requirement added to the Element tests.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by WD4B on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Wow, I must say that the worst things that are happening to amateur radio are that operators. Let me explain... I am an AEC for my local ARES group and try to maintain a facebook page for this group. As well as awareness post on this site, I try to find educational or PR material for the non-hams that friend the page in order to show them more about WHAT we do. Now, I have been looking at the articles on this site for a while for something to share, and have found several nice articles. The problem arises is when I start reading the comments. It never fails that at least one of the top three comments is a fellow ham downing the article or other hams. Guys and gals, I won't post a link to these articles because I hate for non-hams to read theses comments from hams complaining about other hams or ham radio. If you really think the hobby, or parts of the hobby are useless or idiotic, then either get out of the hobby or let the ones who enjoy certain aspects do their own thing without criticizing them.

73s and God Bless
WD4B
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by AI2IA on December 29, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Nothing ventured. Nothing gained.
I'm the ham who told that woman that my plates were issued by the state to folks who are legally blind.

I've noticed on here that a lot of responders fear that the attention resulting from the ham plates will bring them theft.

Well, first everyone should take reasonable measures to safeguard their vehicles such as the best alarms, silent or otherwise, that are commensurate with the value of the items in the car, after that as in all of life, you have to decided if the gain out weighs the risks.

It is a shame to miss out on all the little pleasures of life if one is overly cautious.

The Romans had a saying, "Fortune favors the brave."

Look, if you are a ham, your data is all over the place, not just in QRZ and ARRL and FCC, but all over the world. It's kind of hard to be secret about it.
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KD8HMB on December 30, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I have had my ham license plate for about 4 years now. I had thought about the same privacy issues that others mentioned, but I got it anyway because:

1. Anyone with a scanner can monitor ham frequencies, copy your call sign, and look you up in the FCC database - no privacy to be found there.

2. I don't forget my plate number when filling out a form
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by K4IQT on December 30, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I've had ham license plates for more than forty years now, and on more than one occasion have been recognized on the road by other hams resulting in some nice 146.52 QSO's. Also, during regional floods in the 1970's the ham plates helped to secure my way past state police and national guard roadblocks when providing emergency H&W communications in Grundy, VA.

However, I've seen several license plates in recent years that had the format of ham plates but were actually just vanity plates with number/letter sequences that were someone's idea of cute. In any case, there are very few hams using ham plates any more, and many non-hams equate hams with CB'ers or have no clue as to what is ham radio. Our ranks are still growing but nobody knows who we are.
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by K1CJS on December 30, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
WD4B--I wouldn't put any sort of a reference to any article on this site in a webpage, just because of the reason you gave. I once had a friend who was beginning to show interest in ham radio, and I gave him the address of this site. That was all it took. Next time he saw me, he said he wasn't interested anymore. Why? Because although the site was nice and put out some very interesting stories and articles, when he looked at the comments....

His exact words were: "Ham radio interests me, and that site I looked at was interesting, but if the comments were from a representative section of hams, all too many of them aren't worth getting to know."
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by N5SOM on December 30, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I've had Ham Radio plates for more than 20 years. Yes, and have many of the comments addressed on this great post. I had the remote head to a UHF/VHF stolen, but that is why I have a radio equipment rider on my auto insurance. When I moved from 5 land to 0 land I spent some time explaining to Kansas the difference between a o and a 0 in the callsign. Basically, my amateur radio plate allows me the chance to "dominant" (my wife says, I do anyway ) any conversation about my favorite subject.

73, Glen

PS: Concerned about your privacy? Sit-down and "Google " your name. Just be glad you're sitting ........
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by N2INC on December 30, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Agreed. It's like putting your home address on the car.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by W2RSA on December 30, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I cant believe all the paranoia out here..... No ham plate cause your worried about your idenity being put out there ?? But you'll post on this OPEN internet page ?? And another said to scary cause your inviting them to break into your car, umm what about the big antennas on your house that doesnt say here I am ?? I know, you have an alarm geez thatll only stop them from getting all of it ! Ive only had my ticket since 02 but Im proud of it (it only took my dad 24 years to convince me) Im an over the road truckdriver WITH AMATUER RADIO TAGS on my Sierra that sits in a lot for weeks at a time (never once broken into) and the SIX antennas I have on my Peterbuilt are an open invitation to break in (at what most consider dangerous places like truck stops) and guess what never broke in or robbed there either.Dont be scared SHOW YOUR PRIDE !!!
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by NW0LF on December 30, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I have had a ham call plate now for 13 years and have never had a car broken into. My only theft was an Outbacker Perth mounted on a Texas Bugcatcher quick disconnect that someone quick disconnected on me right outside my apartment door when I lived in the "hood". Purely my fault for not removing it. I never used the comment about being blind, but when I had a 'porcupine' and got questions about the antennas, I said I was a mobile lightning attractor for NOAA. One person did ask if I was with the FBI! On the plus side, I have had several positive comments, thanking me for being a ham and providing emergency communication in time of disasters. I guess everyone's mileage will vary. Here in Florida, I don't remember the initial cost, but there is no extra fee when renewing the vehicle registration.

Tom, NW0LF
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KB2VUQ on December 30, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I had Ham plates in NY...Red, White and Blue with a large blue radio tower on the left. Under the tower in red, it said "AMATEUR RADIO". Atop the tower were red lightening bolts, portraying radio waves. On either side of the tower, midway up in blue was CQ de in morse characters. Your call was centered on the plate in a large blue font...Very nice looking.

I chose not to do the same here in Florida as you only get the rear tag, which looks regular issue, except for Amateur Radio at the bottom.
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by W0HFG on December 30, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I've had call sign plates on both my vehicles for 50 years. Hardly ever get ask about them, but put a screwdriver antenna on your vehicle and look out for the questions.. Great hobby...
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by K7BAB on December 30, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
When I was living in Nevada I could have gotten ham plates for $36 and a $10 annual fee. The annual fee is waived if you certify that you will assist in an emergency. I opted for Veteranís Army plates instead. I like my privacy on the road.

In Arizona, there is $25 application fee and $25 renewal fee. I put an ARRL ham radio license plate where my front plate goes. I come out to my car and find an orange ticket under my wiper (darn, parking ticket!). It was a QSL card from a fellow ham (and his ham wife) who live in my complex. Outside of that, no responses (or break ins).

I replaced the ARRL plate with the NY Yankees about two years ago. I put a 2M whip on the trunk and a mobile mount on the side; Still no responses (or break ins).

I made up a dummy wire doo-dad with two ersatz power wires and a PL259 on about a foot of RG-58 that comes out of the defroster vents = no radio!

I recall (decades ago) my fatherís friend whose call was K2IMD. When the plate was made, it looked like K21MD. They though he was a doctor (MD and K for Kings County; Brooklyn) and he would park anywhere and not get a ticket!
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by W4SH on December 30, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My mother asked me once "Why do you have the word WASH on your license plate?" I told her I like to have a clean car. I then said to look a little closer and she laughed then when she realized it was my callsign.

Trey W4SH
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KC0KEK on December 30, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I did when I lived in Kansas, where it's a one-time fee. When I moved back to Missouri, I got regular plates because a ham plate costs an annual fee. I pay enough in taxes and fees. Plus in the three or so years that I had a ham plate in Kansas, no one ever asked about it. I figure that my ARRL Life Member window decal is advertisement enough.
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by VE7NAE on December 30, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
In British Columbia, Canada, the only fee is $18 for a normal replacement as if it were a lost or damaged plate. Trouble is, the application form is the same one used for custom vanity plates, and very few agents have even heard of amateur radio. Even if you tick the "this is an amateur radio plate application" box, agents that can normally quote chapter and verse from fine print in other contracts are inevitably blind to the line that details "vanity plates cost $120, except amateur radio plates which are free." Resolving this requires bringing printouts from their own website, lengthy explanations, and the agent making a call to their support desk... but it can be resolved.

Are you sure your agent isn't making a similar mistake?
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by W4KVW on December 30, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Proud too display my call sign on my plate & glad that so far the State of Florida does NOT charge a FEE for the use of my call sign.Someone with a New York plate passed me a few days ago on the highway with some type of Hamstick antenna on their car on the drivers side of the car blowing their horn like a maniac when they saw my call sign & LARGE "ICOM" decal on the sliding window of my DODGE Quad Cab.They did NOT have a call sign on their plates!

Clayton
W4KVW

 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by VE7NAE on December 30, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Sorry, the above reply intended for VK2GWK and his AUD400/US$420 vanity plate fee.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KA1BIN on December 30, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Unfortunally in some states the fee is much, much, greater.

In Massachusetts, Amateur Radio Callsign Plates cost $45.00 PER YEAR, not a one time charge, but must be renewed yearly. Regular registations are about $50.00 Every 2 Years.

Our Vanity Plares here cost $75.00 PER YEAR. Why do you think they used to refer to Massachusetts as "Taxacusetts".

Steve KA1SMC
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KB2DHG on December 31, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
I have had my HAM call on my plates for over 24 years and I don't think that they helped advertise our wonderful time honered hobby. To us HAM'S they are just nice to have...
Honestly only a HAM would know what they are.

Amateur radio has been victom to cell phones and internet and lets just face it, today's kids are just not into working hard and learning about science and technology...

It still facinates me all these years later that I can create an electro magnetic wave and send it all around the world...

But I come from a different time. Kids today were born into all this technology and just don't give it any thought. Even some adults who I know have no intrest in any hobbies let alone HAM RADIO!
We have beome couch potatoes and slaves to the all mighty dollar working our lives away loosing time for life itself!
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by W6ZKH on December 31, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Do ham plates really work??? This past summer, the xyl and I traveled throughout the US for 5 months, going from Calif to Maine and all around and during this trip, I had the below mounted on my RV, and even though being passed by several hams, as I either saw their plates or antennas, not one call from them on 146.52 simplex. I called them, and only had 2 takers at that....so does advertising really work?? up in the air about that...

[IMG]http://i863.photobucket.com/albums/ab199/W6ZKHJOHN/DSCN0585.jpg[/IMG]
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KG4RUL on December 31, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
If your Wife is like my Wife (she is a ham KI4ECO - Extremely Cute Operator), she would rather listen to music on CDs. So, the radios tend to stay off when she is in the car. That being said, I used to have a license plate frame that read "Monitoring 146.520 When My Wife Is NOT In The Car".
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by WA8IUR on December 31, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
My kids friend saw mine once and aske d if I was a waiter.
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by N4KC on December 31, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Similar to WA8IUR's experience, someone who saw my tag once asked me who "Casey" was and why I "had it in for him." But no questions about "Kansas City," and nobody knows anymore what a kilocycle is.

73,

Don N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com
(Author of the new book RIDING THE SHORTWAVES:
EXPLORING THE MAGIC OF AMATEUR RADIO)

 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KE4DRN on December 31, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
hi

Both my cars have amateur radio tags,
my wife was pulling into the driveway at home
and as she gets out of the car she is
approached by a guy who drove a 2011 Mustang,
she went into heightened alter since the man
was a stranger to her.

Turns out he noticed the tag at the stop light and
followed her home, he gave her his contact info,
he had an old shortwave radio that was not working and
some friends told him to seek out an amateur operator
who could be able to help him get the radio working.

I spoke with him the next day, he apologized several
times for approaching my wife that way and I invited
him to our next club meeting and told him to bring the
radio with him.

73 james
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by N2GVO on December 31, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
ACTUALLY I GET MANY RADIO QUESTIONS B/C PEOPLE REALISE I'M A HAM. ALSO GOT TWO NEW HAMS B/C OF THE PLATE. IT WORKS.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KF4A on January 1, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Two years ago Georgia decided to help offset low tax revenue by charging for ham tags on an annual basis. They went from being totally free to $55.00 per year.. Now there are almost no ham tags in this state. To me is wasn't the money.. it was simply the idea of it all. Now a call sign sticker and a big screwdriver antenna is all I have.
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by AA4PB on January 1, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Years ago I got pulled over by a sherrif who was a ham and wanted to see what kind of gear I had in the car. That was back when I was running 6M AM and had a "halo" antenna on the car.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by K1LTJ on January 1, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
In Connecticut, the Call Letter Plates have a small 'Lightning Bolt" on the plate just following the number in the Call. I am asked "What does that lightning bolt on your license plate mean?" fairly frequently. It does offer an opportunity to talk about ham radio. The CT call letter plate on my car has started quite a few conversations about ham radio. I think the lightening bolt, since it only appears on ham plates, is what raises curiosity. I know of at least one person who got their license after they asked me about my plate.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KA8VIT on January 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I'll never put call plates back on my car. I have run mobile for 35+ years. Back in the early 90s I decided to get call plates. In the 18-months I had them my car was broken into three times. Never had a problem before or since. I guess advertising does pay !

73 - Bill KA8VIT
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by HA7WX on January 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Happy New Year Everyone! :)
Just a few words about some european plates so that you can put things into perspective and think how potentially lucky you are.
I am french and currently live in Hungary.
Vanity plates here cost the amount of 3 average monthly salaries as far as i know not to mention theft as here it's kinda national sport. Moreover, in my opinion hungarian plates are some of the ugliest in the world with so big letters one may wonder police only hires short-sighted folks.
I have always dreamt of these beautiful license plates, as european ones are so ugly compared to the US or mexican ones. Better: don't even think of a call-sign plate in France, it does not exist.
Heck, I am just envious! :)
All the best to you all: Chris HA7WX.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by W9MT on January 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I would like to add the following to the commentary:

1. I had my car broken into many years ago and my Heathkit HW-202 stolen. (Luckily I got it back when I found it being fenced at the next local hamfest. Then I got rid of that cursed radio. It never really worked right anyway.)

There were NO ham license plates on the car at that time.

I agree with the contingent that displaying callsign plates is a big billboard that says "Come rip me off !!! There's good stuff inside my car."

If I bought the plates for the wife's car, I'd still be fearful that someone would break the window just to see what's inside her car...even if no radio was visible.

2. I like my vehicles to "blend in" with others. That's why I don't buy odd colored vehicles. (e.g.: "yellow" really sticks out of a crowd; "red" is accident prone (statistically proven because it is hard to see with in changing light or with peripheral vision)...and "attracts traffic cops" (attested to by policemen as the one they notice in a "pack" of vehicles))

3. For those who proudly want to display their callsigns, I recommend they get a magnetic applique with their callsigns that they can affix to their trunk lids. I have one of those that I display while enroute to distant hamfests, or while doing public service or emergency work. I bought it at Dayton in 2000 and it still looks/works like new. When not in use, it affixes nicely to an inside metal surface of the vehicles stowage area. No yearly fee/nor permanent attachment (like a bumper sticker), either.
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by W0ANM on January 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
When I first got my plates, one of my co-workers stated, "Oh, you have whiskey plates?" I said, "What are whiskey plates?" He then told me about the new DWI laws and violators get a "W" plate indicating that they were convicted of a DWI. Now, that explains why some people give me dirty looks and give me the once over while driving. LOL.

Now and then I have to explain:
The true whiskey plates have no markings other than the plate numbers, but the HAM plates do indicate that they are amateur radio plates.

Unfortunately for me, that marking is covered up by my license plate holder.

Chris, w0anm
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by W0ANM on January 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
And some times... they think that I can't spell "woman"!

 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by N4UFO on January 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I have enough trouble having to explain my e-mail address (that uses my callsign) to people that give me funny looks when I am asked for my e-mail... and with the neighbor's thinking all the antennas in the back yard are for trying to contact aliens.

You want me to put "N4UFO" on my car tags?!!! NO WAY! X^D

 
My call plates ended up in number gumbo  
by W8NF on January 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I got callsign plates when I lived in Georgia, '82 to '84. Nearly all comments I got were from other hams, mostly to tell me that "it's not legal to have an 8 callsign in Georgia." The one memorable time though, was on a long highway trip, when a fellow motorist passed me, tooted his horn, then held up his whole handful of fingers and thumb, and then just two fingers. I switched the rig onto 146.52 and we enjoyed a pleasant QSO for the next hour before our paths crossed.

But...comments from people who were not already hams? None that I can think of.

Georgia's motor vehicle laws at the time held that license plates remained with the vehicle when it changed hands. You had to fill out special paperwork to transfer a vehicle, and not all DMVs seemed to even know this was possible.

My career changed, my new job was in Colorado. My driving trip took me through Amarillo, TX, where an unfortunate encounter totaled the car. The Texas state patrol would not allow me to remove my ham plates from the car, since they knew that Georgia law kept the plates with the car. I could not convince them. The plates would remain on the car - all the way to the junkyard. They were not required to send them to Georgia. They had no reason to keep them, but they weren't about to let me have them.

So, there are 1984-vintage license plates, with an 8-land call, on 4-land plates, in a junkyard in 5-land. Probably not the first time, but I doubt if it's all that common.

Haven't really given it much thought since then.

Amusedly yours and 73,

Dave W8NF
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by NK7J on January 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
That's amazing all the comments from people saying they have never been asked about their plates! I bet I get asked at least twice a month about them, I am always happy to explain. Even got a couple people interested enough to eventually get their tickets.

I guess part of it might be the regions we are in, around here everyone is down home and friendly for the most part.

I do get the occasional ham come up and talk to me, but I get more non-hams asking me about it by far. My wife has her call on her plates as well and she gets questioned as much or more than me (she must look more friendly ;))
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by NJ3U on January 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Information for New Jersey HAM Plates -

If you are an amateur radio operator (ham operators), you can purchase license plates for a $15 fee for passenger vehicles. Applicants must be licensed by the Federal Communications Commission.

Call MVC at (609) 292-6500 ext. 5061 or toll free in New Jersey at (888) 486-3339 ext. 5061 to request an application.

Mail the completed application to:
NJ Motor Vehicle Commission
Special Plate Unit
PO Box 016
Trenton, NJ 08666-0016


 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by WB4LCN on January 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Ha! I have just had a 1.5 year dance with the California DMV. I registered for a vanity Amateur Radio call sign plate for my motorcycle (on 2m & 70cm). Six months later, the DMV sent me TWO CAR tags, with the correct call sign, though.

I returned them to the DMV and re-applied, AGAIN, for a vanity motorcycle plate. Six months later I had received nothing, so I went to the DMV. The DMV had lost my application.

For a third time, I applied for a vanity motorcycle plate. 6 months later, the DMV sends me - again, TWO car tags.

So.... I mounted the car tag on my motorcycle. I ask a local cop to look at my motorcycle and determine if I'm legal. He asked me if that is what the DMV had sent me and do I have the paperwork to prove it. I did. He said it was legal, though he also said that he would try to get it changed.

I think I'll take my time, because the car tag on a motorcycle makes such a great conversation piece.

I can't wait for Obamacare to kick in. ;)
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by K7FD on January 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Ham plates? We had ham, turkey, and prime rib plates this year for Christmas. No one asked about anything, they were too busy eating...

73 John K7FD
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by K3VO on January 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Last Jan. I moved to the state of Nv and applied for call letter plates.
I was advised that K3VO my call had been taken by a commercial company. They wanted KIVO so I was told and it was gone so for some reason they selected K3VO.
I suggested to the DMV they issue me K3VO-7. They would only if I paid the heavy annual fee for a vanity plate as -7 was not allowed for ham plates.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by K3VO on January 2, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Last Jan. I moved to the state of Nv and applied for call letter plates.
I was advised that K3VO my call had been taken by a commercial company. They wanted KIVO so I was told and it was gone so for some reason they selected K3VO.
I suggested to the DMV they issue me K3VO-7. They would only if I paid the heavy annual fee for a vanity plate as -7 was not allowed for ham plates.
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KC5MO on January 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Like several of you I have had several people ask about my plates and one person actually signaled me to turn to 146.52 ( I stay on that frequency when traveling ) to talk. They are S2 new and $1 per year renewal here in Texas and you can have the same plate on up to three vehicles.

http://www.txdmv.gov/vehicles/license_plates/qualifying/occupational/radio_operator.htm

73
Herb KC5MO
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by SWMAN on January 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I really dont worry about my identity being seen if someone googles my ham plates.I really dont think that most people would even think about it. I know it can be done but probably never done unless by another ham.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KB3HG on January 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I have had a few hits on the call sign plates in the past , But I get more questions on the OBX plate on the front. I have had a few QSOs on the road in the past. There is nothing better that seeing a truck driver spinning the dial trying to find you when on 40 meters making contacts.

As for break in to the cars, stereo was cut out of the dash, radio was not touched.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by WI4P on January 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
TRUE STORY. Overheard in a parking lot was a girl about 8 0r 10 yrs old talking to her mother. The girl said "Why do they advertise that? Everybody Pees." When the mother asked what she meant the girl pointed to my tag which reads WI4P. Before I could catch up to them the mother explained that my truck belonged to an amateur radio operator and that was my call sign.

Alabama's ham tags are very distinctive looking and in the 18 months that I've had mine several people have asked or commented about it and I have used that opportunity to explain a little about our hobby.

Also, I've made several new ham friends who I've met as a result of my or their tag. I'm meeting one of them Saturday to go to Freeze Fest. Alabama's first Ham Fest of the new year.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KG4CLD on January 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I suppose I'm more security conscious. I refrain from advertising my callsign because it marks me as a target for theft. Also, this is the age of smartphones. Over 95% of these phones have internet access. "How difficult would it be for someone to type your callsign into one of these smartphones and find out your home address?" I know there are many people who have P.O.Box numbers, but many more don't. I suggest you consider that before letting every thief near you know where to find you.

"You might come home one day and find you stuff gone!"
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KG4CLD on January 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I suppose I'm more security conscious. I refrain from advertising my callsign because it marks me as a target for theft. Also, this is the age of smartphones. Over 95% of these phones have internet access. "How difficult would it be for someone to type your callsign into one of these smartphones and find out your home address?" I know there are many people who have P.O.Box numbers, but many more don't. I suggest you consider that before letting every thief near you know where to find you.

"You might come home one day and find you stuff gone!"
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KG4CLD on January 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I suppose I'm more security conscious. I refrain from advertising my callsign because it marks me as a target for theft. Also, this is the age of smartphones. Over 95% of these phones have internet access. "How difficult would it be for someone to type your callsign into one of these smartphones and find out your home address?" I know there are many people who have P.O.Box numbers, but many more don't. I suggest you consider that before letting every thief near you know where to find you.

"You might come home one day and find you stuff gone!"
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KB6QXM on January 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The simple fact is that people just do not care if you are a ham radio operator or not anymore.

In the days before cell technology and other forms of communications, the impression with the neighors is that you might be useful in an emergency. That is of course if you were not causing the neighbors TVI or any other type of interference like coming across their Stereo or landline phone (remember those?)

There was a time when you were looked up in professional circles because you were a ham. Those days are gone. With the constant lowering of license standards and the advancement of technology and infrastrure, ham radio is going the way of the dinosaurs.

The impression now is that ham radio is for old guys. Most of that is true. The new generation wants the instant gradification and does not want to study for the ability to spend thousands of dollars to put up antennas and listen to white noise to possibly talk to someone. It is easier to pick up your smartphone and send a text to someone in the next block or around the world.

Ham radio has gone the way of the 60's muscle car and drag racing. Now the young people are figuring out how to "green this and green that" Eco friendly UN agenda 21 stuff.

Brave new world we live in. I love that I have my ham rig and that I will do ham radio until I become a SK. But then I am a part of that aging ham radio community. Look at the average age of "most hams"

The next thing that the ARRL will do is to look to make ham radio an unlicensed service to get their numbers up. A kind of self-preservation move.

Do I have a ham plate?...yes. Do I have a P.O. box?...Yes. Do I want everyone to know where I live by putting my call into a call database. No....

Before you know it, they will outlaw ham radio in mobiles as it is a distraction just as texting is, but it does not mean that I do not fly my ham radio colors and am proud that I am a ham. An advanced class ham at that. Remember that license class? You had to pass a code test to get that license.

Happy 2013 to all.

73

Robert
Group Owner/Moderator
Ham Radio Open Conversation forum/group-Yahoo
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KG4RRN on January 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Most people when asked about ham radio think morse code key and tube radio, not digitial APRS or DSTAR capable.
Its really ashame that in its report to Congress last August regarding emergency communications capabilities of our frequency agile hobby, we don't yet do public safety nets at 11:00on a Wednesday, only when the SHTF.
Got to love PSK and DSTAR noone but the 1% can talk to you on it.When in the course of human events it becomes necessary.....
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by W7VO on January 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
My wife was originally issued the callsign of N6DUI. She had many people question her at the gas pumps if "6" was how many DUIs she had. When we moved to Oregon, we changed her call to N7DUI, and in this state ham plates are bright yellow, different from standard car plates so they stand out more. After the same questions about how come she had so many DUIs that the state had to issue her special plates we changed her call to W7VOX. Nobody hassles her any more!
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by K8KS on January 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
A couple of years ago, I happened to read a blog in a Michigan culinary website written by a woman who apparently had seen my ham license plate in traffic somewhere in the state. She blogged, "K8KS, hmmmmm, oh yeah, how ingenious: CAKES." She thought I was a baker (a witty one, at that). How clueless, but cute.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by VK3DWZ on January 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
What a nice article with which to start the new year. Amateurs in the U.S.A. do't realise how luck they are. When I purchased a "new" motor almost two years ago, The cost of transferring registration, new number plates, etc., almost bankrupted me. Whilst going thru the (very lengthy) procedure to re-register the motor, I was asked if I would like "vanity" plates, Yes I would like my Amateur call-sign, but I was too scared to ask how much they would cost!
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KF6VCI on January 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
My Dad chose the license plate # PI VY 88. DB9Sa wasn't an option... 73 de Chris KF6VCI
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by LNXAUTHOR on January 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
i would love to get an Amateur Radio plate, but my state wants to charge an outrageous fee (to keep the public-sector pigs feeding well at the public trough). instead, i went to Lowes and got small metal reflective mailbox letters and numbers and used auto trim glue to create my call on the back of the vehicle - has lasted for years and cost less than $10! interestingly, if you renew your registration for two years at a whack, you get a new plate anyway!
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by N7XEI on January 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I have had my call sign plates for many years. I do get more comments from other HAM's but I have had more than one person ask what it means. And this leads to a conversation about HAM radio.

Some may think the hobby is dying, but the FCC shows there are more active licenses now than in the history of amateur radio. So this is an opportunity to make active HAM's out of inactive ones!
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by WA4KCN on January 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Why not just purchase from the hardware store sticky letters that read " Ham Radio Is Fun" and stick the letters to the rear windshield. Include call letters if you wish.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by VK3DWZ on January 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
A very good idea. Upon our old motor I had stuck, on the rear window, a sticker from the Eddystone User Group. It elicited a number of comments over the years. Just one thing, tho', what is a windshield, please?
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by K4JC on January 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
When I was a teenager and finally got a car registered in my name (the first few years after getting my driver's license my cars were registered in Mom's name otherwise the insurance would have been outrageous!) the first thing I did was install a new stereo. The second thing was to get my callsign plates (a kid's gotta set priorities, ya know! 8>) Then I went through a series of cheap cars and just used regular issue tags.

Now I've had callsign plates pretty much continuously for the past 20 or so years, but the current one is getting kind of ratty looking. It's been on 3 different cars since 2000 and was "supposed" to be replaced this last registration renewal, but I paid online so the state let me keep it one more year. Next time, though, I'm seriously considering replacing my amateur radio plate with a regular issue, or even one of the 103 "specialty" plates Florida now offers. It's not that I don't want the world to know I'm a ham, but I think that privacy concerns are much greater today than they were when I was a kid. I'm not freaked out over the issue but as I've always heard, discretion is the better part of valor. Besides, if I really want my call sign on my license plate I can always have it issued as a vanity plate, or put it on one of the aforementioned "specialty" plates - they all seem to have odd letter/number combinations anyway. That way another ham would most likely recognize it as a callsign, but the average Joe would see it as just another everyday license plate.

(Incidentally, this is a fascinating topic for me as I've been a license plate collector since I was about 3 years old! I can still remember my father attaching his old tags to my little red Flexible Flyer wagon. To this day I still collect them - just ask my wife about the boxes and boxes full of old license plates in the garage!!)
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by K1CJS on January 5, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"Just one thing, tho', what is a windshield, please?"

A windshield is simply the front glass of the passenger compartment of a car. We sometimes have strange words, don't we? ;-)
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by K1CJS on January 5, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The hams who had license plates through the years overlook one thing, although they don't seem to realize it. With the internet today, it's possible to get information that was next to impossible to get years ago when they started with their ham call plates.

Just go ahead and search your callsign in just about any search engine. You may well be surprised at what you find--including just about every post you've made here and on other websites if you use your callsign.

Google earth will take your address and give you a satellite view of that address, including all the area around it. Talk about 'casing' your home? Google makes it easy. Nice views of any outside equipment that you may have as well. YOU may be surprised at what you may find!

It seems that the term made popular by the book '1984' has come to pass, it's only that that term was made twenty years too early. "Big brother IS watching!" Kind of makes you think that a Post Office box is the way to go--if only it was so simple.
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by W1RKW on January 5, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
plate or no plate one can simply glean a bunch of info from the net, google earth it and case a place.
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by W1RKW on January 5, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Now if the FCC and the state that issues gun permits can link the callsign to a permit number, that would be nice.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by AK4EK on January 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I have other HAMs telling me you must have radio in car to get call sign plates. with folks passing rumors like that no wonder alot of folks dont have plates.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by N9YNG on January 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Before the www, or at least before most people had access to the www, I had my call on my plate. I'm not comfortable with that today. I literally may as well drive around with my home address and phone number in my rear window.

I do, however, agree with the OP's sentiment. Maybe a ham radio and/or skywarn sticker would do the same trick?
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by W5DQ on January 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"You might come home one day and find you stuff gone!"


That, my friend, is why I have insurance, an 24x7 alarm system and a BIG dog! They get by all that and I'll have a bunch of new toys :)

On topic, in CA, we aren't allowed to have "-6" or any other suffix on ham plates. I wanted to get a second plate that has my call as W5DQ-2 for my motorcycle but it would not be a ham plate then.

I understand Texas lets the hams have as many plates as they want to pay for, all with the same call letters???

Gene W5DQ
SoCAL
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by AC4RD on January 9, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
A pal, some years ago, was sitting in his car when a policeman walked up, pointed at the ham-radio license plate, and sternly asked, "Are you one of those radio kooks who mess up my radio and TV reception at home?"

The friend was still trying to figure out what to say in reply when the cop grinned, stuck out his hand, and introduced himself, with his own callsign. ;-)
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by K6CRC on January 9, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
When I got ham plates for my last car, I started noticing other cars with ham plates. Most were rolling wrecks. Many had antenna farms on the roof. Some out-there bumper stickers. Scary looking people driving.

There was one cool Porsche 911 Turbo with a ham plate, however...

I also considered how easy it is to find someone if you know their callsign.

Current car ? No vanity plates.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KK8ZZ on January 10, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Aw crikey... I've had ham license plates in MI, VT and OH totaling over 40 years and no one's broken into my car or found my house and robbed it. I've had fun talking with people in supermarket parking lots who ask about the license plate and the HF antenna and let them know that ham radio is there in times of trouble. Anyone can bitch about "things that might happen" but let's live in a real world. Yes it can happen, but so can finding Elvis in the mall... what a bunch of whiners...

But then there's the story of my friend Steve, K8SAS, who was asked "how'd you get away with that plate?" "What do you mean?," he asked. "You know", the guy said... "Kate's ass...."
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by VE6XMX on January 11, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
My car was broken in and radio stolen in 2003 because I had my call sign as my registration plate. Also, I don't want EVERYBODY to know my whereabouts by googling. So got rid of it. It's now displayed in the sahck! 73
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KD7YVV on January 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I wouldn't have plates on my car since my YL does all
the driving. APRS, well, unless you're a ham or know
a ham or know what APRS is, I doubt that your common
thief would look you up on aprs.fi just to rob your
car. I remember back in the 70's when the CB craze was
going strong, many cars had CB antennas on them, and
a lot of them were broken into and the radios stolen.
Then you had radios you could hide, and antennas that
could be used in place of your car's regular antenna.
I think the expression was, security through obscurity.
As one poster said, nowadays with Google Earth and sites
that provide instant call lookup, it's a lot easier to
find hams in your neighborhood. One measure of security
that I like is, you have to log into these sites now to
see detailed information on a ham. As far as the rest
of the world knows, my radio could be a police or fire
radio. I don't volunteer info unless asked, and that's
usually by another ham. Otherwise, I keep my mouth shut.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by N4PGW on January 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I have never been approached by any non-ham because of my tag since I started using one in 1987. However, I have been approached by a couple of private pilots asking me what I flew!

On the other hand, I have found a couple of eye-ball QSL cards on my windshield left by other hams who first saw my antennas.

Other than that, the tag gave me an invitation into a disaster area once.

 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by WQCC256 on January 18, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I just ordered amateur tags in VT. In Vermont, they are $15 one time fee (unlike any other Vanity plates which are $50 per year!). I thought to get a vanity callsign before I got the vanity plate, so now I have a vanity license plate and vanity callsign for $30. In VT, we have a cool plate with a schematic on it ;)

http://dmv.vermont.gov/sites/dmv/files/image/0amateurradiooperator.jpg

I wanted "K2MAD" but my wife liked "N2MRG" "Mad River Glen" (the ski area where we frequent and live near) better.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by N4VNV on January 21, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Yeah, I did that and then I changed my Call Sign. Guess how much money I have to spend all over again, and how long I must stand in line to do it. Another solution is to get a Vanity License Plate for the front of your vehicle (in States that don't require a front plate), then if you change your call it's not so expensive or as much trouble.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by VE3VHB on January 21, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
When I came from England in 1957 I was very excited to find that, for a modest sum. I could get my call on my license plate. I happily displayed VE2AYY for many years, but then came the age of Google and the Internet. Not to mention qrz.com. Since we traveled extensively then around North America the thought came that anyone who knew what a Ham call-sign was could find out my home address and see that we were far away from home and likely to be for some time. So although we've been in Ontario since 1992, I've never displayed my call-sign on my car. Better safe than sorry, I'm afraid.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by PHINEAS on January 22, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I mostly get asked if I am a storm chaser or a police officer.

Also, I do not have vanity plate. I use a custom made magnetic bumper sticker with K0KMA on it. Removable, I can get 3 $30.00, no license fees, and I can use them on rentals!

K0KMA
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KK4MMJ on January 22, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I would get one, but for security and privacy reasons I won't. People can easily find out where you live based on your call sign, and since I have a wife at home to worry about, I'd rather not risk it. I live in a big city too and would rather not take a chance, especially if my wife happens to be driving the car.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KE6TDT on January 23, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Another problem with the plates, with technology available:

Bad guy#1 runs your call from his cell, sees that you're traveling say, 200 miles away from home. Bad guy#1 calls his buddy, bad guy #2, who lives in your town to go see if anyone is home...A loot fest ensues...

I am confident not all hams or former hams are honest and would be able to quickly spot a plate and could possibly use it for their own gain.

Just a thought.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by ZL2UFI on January 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Heres a cheap solution and no call sign give out to those that find this this an issue:

Advertising Amateur Radio: Cheap option

http://www.zl2vh.org.nz/pdf/newsletter/68_zl2vh_Newsletter_Sep_12.pdf

Mark ZL2UFI
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by WQCC256 on January 28, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Don't put your home address on your call sign. PO Box, or get someone to receive mail for you.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by N7WY on February 1, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Two points -
I was stopped once by a California policeman who asked me about my CA N7WY call sign plate. He said he could not find it in the database they use when running plates. Go figure.

In Wyoming, you can have both a passenger car and a truck, in my case a pick-up truck, with the same call sign plate. Other states should follow Wyoming's lead since the truck plate has TRUCK on it as well as the call.
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KG6WLV on February 1, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I pulled up to a red light and the 20-something riding shotgun in the next lane over asked if "all of those antennas actually do something." (There were two besides the AM/FM whip.) I told him they were for different ham radio bands and he said he'd google it.
It also occurred to me to tell him I used them to contact Jimi Hendrix on Venus, but I changed my mind.
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by N2HBX on February 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I've had ham tags on my vehicles pretty much since I've had my ticket. They have elicited comments and questions from non-hams as well as made new ham acquaintances.

If you're really that worried about somebody "finding" you because of your ham tags, you probably should get the gear out of your car and house, surrender your license, and go pull the covers over your head.

I believe in security, but you can't live your life in a bubble. Paranoia is not an acceptable lifestyle, IMHO.

73,
Larry, N2HBX
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KG5UN on February 4, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I like having them because I have 3 vehicles with the exact same plate number. Makes it easier to remember!
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by G3SEA on February 5, 2013 Mail this to a friend!

YES ! ESPECIALLY IN EMERGENCIES !

KH6/G3SEA
 
'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KK4JUG on February 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I believe K8QV is right. Most people don't recognize the tag as belonging to a ham operator. Most people with non-standard tag are trying to spell a name or convey a thought.

And it's already been brought out that the tag can maybe be too revealing. In many states (including mine), tag information is restricted, i.e., it's not available to the general public. Anyone, however, can do a quick search on someone's call letters and get their address, possibly opening the door to more nefarious activity.

On a lighter note, many years ago, I saw a young lady driving a Datsun B210 with the tag "O2BNAZ" (Oh, to be in a Z). Years later I saw that same young lady and the same tag. It was on a 280Z.

My tag does not reflect my call letters. I'm a retired police sergeant and my tag is "WUZDFUZ.)
 
RE: 'Ham Radio? They Still Do That?'  
by KD7YVV on February 10, 2013 Mail this to a friend!

If you're really that worried about somebody "finding" you because of your ham tags, you probably should get the gear out of your car and house, surrender your license, and go pull the covers over your head.

I believe in security, but you can't live your life in a bubble. Paranoia is not an acceptable lifestyle, IMHO.

Hi Larry, no one is talking paranoia, people are talking
about security. If the world were an ideal place, there
would be no crime, and I would have no problem with
putting tabs on the YL's car. However, as we both know,
the world is not a perfect place, and there are people
in it that will kill you for the dime in your pocket.

Ham radio is a hobby for me, with some EMCOMM in the
mix. Sadly, there are hams who will break in your car
to steal what you have, and those same hams will have
no trouble seeing your plate at Walmart etc., know
you're away from home, going to your house, breaking
in and be gone within 10 minutes. For instance, if
you meet someone for the first time, do you introduce
yourself as Larry and state the fact right away you're
a ham operator? I know I don't. Here's another example,
would you meet someone for the first time and tell them
you've got a brand new flat screen tv and thousands
of dollars of radio equipment? Of course not.
Therefore, I see no reason to advertise to everyone
that sees YL's car, that there's possibly a lot of
expensive equipment to be had for a five finger discount.
As I said, security through obscurity.
As far as I'm concerned, there's already TMI about me
out there. Much more than I would like, but what can
you do? Just my 1/4 penny. I can't afford 2 cents. :)

 
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