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Author Topic: Vanity Ramblings  (Read 29102 times)
K4HXC2
Member

Posts: 51




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« on: April 20, 2012, 09:30:29 AM »


I've noticed many threads with a lot of pros and cons about vanity calls among the users here. Some are against them and then there are those who love them and have many.  I also noticed on AE7Qs web site that the number of vanities for 1X2 calls outnumber non vanities by more than double. So clearly there is a lot of it going on, with 1X2 being the most popular and also the most difficult to get.  2X1 are somewhat less popular with vanities being outnumbered 2 to 1 by non-vanities, just the opposite of 1X2s.

I love the various reasons given by the users here for their choice of a particular call. Some look like words, some are initials and many more.  All very interesting.

My current call is a vanity but my reasons for it were I found the original assignment (KK4DAZ) too much of a mouthful for me. I actually called a very helpful FCC person and asked if we could shorten it up a bit. It just so happens that the removal of one "K" was available as K4DAZ so I applied for that and it was granted. However, after working a lot of DX, I find some stations still have trouble with the DAZ part. I don't know if it's the way I say it, or perhaps my Texas accent, or the stations reception. Even when I say it phonetically as delta alpha zulu or delta alpha zed or just DAZ, all seem to have the same problem. It could simply be the particular combination of letters seems odd.

So I did a lot of research here and other places for a call I thought might be easier for me to say and be clearly understood. I read here that being wary of a call that came from a well known or famous person or entity was a good idea. Also someone still alive could be problematic too. My first try was WD1P which worked out to whiskey delta one pop or papa. Seemed to have a nice ring to it. Alas, the guy was still alive and wanted it back, not realizing it had expired. I couldn't take the guys call so withdrew the application.

So now I'm working on WK1A, which also has a nice ring to it, the guy went SK a while back and apparently was not well known so we'll see how that goes.

I find this a fascinating subject (among many great amateur radio subjects) and hope you all can chime in with your opinions, either way.

73!

Dennis, K4DAZ
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Dennis, WK1A
Formally K4DAZ
In honor of Dad, K4HXC(sk)
W3HF
Member

Posts: 696


WWW

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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2012, 12:02:51 PM »

Dennis -

Yes, there are lots of reasons for vanity choices--everyone is different.

As for your statistics:
...the number of vanities for 1X2 calls outnumber non vanities by more than double... 2X1 are somewhat less popular with vanities being outnumbered 2 to 1 by non-vanities...
I think the reason for this is historical, rooted in the licensing decisions of the mid-70s that created the current callsign assignment system. 1x2s have not been issued sequentially in almost 40 years, while virtually every available 2x1 (in the lower 48 states) WAS issued sequentially during the 70s or 80s.

1x2 calls were only issued sequentially (i.e., no ability to request a specific callsign) up until about 1976. In the late 70s, FCC created a program whereby Extras could request a 1x2 call, but this program was terminated within a couple of years as a result of an FCC employee accepting bribes to prioritize the assignment order of applications. (Calls issued under that "pseudo-vanity" program are not characterized by the ULS as vanity assignments.) After that program was cancelled, there was no way to receive a 1x2 call until the current vanity program started in 1996.

2x1s, though, were a new creation of the current Group A/B/C/D callsign system, which was introduced in (I think) 1978. They became the "standard issue" calls for Extras who wanted shorter callsigns, and were assigned sequentially. Since that time, every available 2x1 has been issued sequentially. (There was a small overlap between the pseudo-vanity program and the Group A/B/C/D system, so a few 2x1 and 2x2 Extra calls were assigned as pseudo-vanities.)

The net result is that you're seeing the different "ages" of the non-vanity assignments of each class. Although both types have been issued as vanities since 1996, there are more surviving non-vanities of the 2x1 type than 1x2 simply because they were assigned more recently.

All part of the history of amateur radio...

Steve
W3HF

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N0FPE
Member

Posts: 369




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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2012, 05:07:40 AM »

I really dont care one way or the other abt vanity callsigns.   I just find it sad that you can no longer tell a persons license class or location by their callsign. But thats the way things are so on we go!

Dan/NØFPE   <--not a vanity  HIA   lol!!!
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WA7KPK
Member

Posts: 129




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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2012, 11:42:29 AM »

You'd never know it, but my own call is something of a vanity call. Yes, I was first licensed as WN7KPK, but due to a clerical error at the FCC when I upgraded to Advanced I was issued WA7KDK. In the halcyon days of the mid-70s when you could do such things I wrote the FCC, explained what had happened, and asked nicely if I could be assigned WA7KPK. They were kind enough to issue it to me and I've had it ever since through moves in and out of 7-land.

Would I want a different vanity call sign? Maybe. I have always been in awe of the 1x2 callsigns, ever since they were exclusively assigned to the "old timers" when I was a padawan Novice. Those are pretty hard to get, though. K7LCL (my initials) is available, as are the calls of my SK Elmer and the radio club at my junior high school where he was the trustee. Either of those calls would honor my history as a ham.

But when it comes right down to it I've had this call for a very long time. My life member plaque in the ARRL, my WAS certificate, my RCC certificate and all of my QSL cards say "WA7KPK" on them. All of my ham friends know me by this call. It would be almost like changing my name at this point.

My license is up for renewal in December. I'll make a decision when I renew, probably in September, and then most likely philosophize over it for another 10 years.

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N7VEA
Member

Posts: 48




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« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2012, 06:36:21 PM »

I have tossed over the idea of changing my callsign as well, so spent some time on the vanity site researching different calls.  Upon checking some of the 1x2 and 2x1 calls  coming up in the next year I noticed more than a couple were previously vanity calls that were given up by guys who went back to their original calls... hmmm.  What are they finding out?  And yeah, my WAS and DXCC certs say N7VEA, and I can hear this call pretty well coming back in CW faster than I can actually copy (contest and dx stations esp).  So for now I'm keeping my "name" as it was given to me 20 years ago.

73, Bill N7VEA
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N2EY
Member

Posts: 3895




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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2012, 05:50:06 AM »

 I just find it sad that you can no longer tell a persons license class or location by their callsign.

It's been that way a very very long time.

The rule change to allow the number in the call to not match the district goes back to the 1970s - 35 years or so. When I moved back to 3-land from 2-land in 1979, it was not a new thing.

The only license class that ever had truly distinctive calls (before the vanity call program) was Novice. All the others could take almost any format.

There was even at least one Tech who had a 1x2!

What drove all these changes was growth and mobility. There are only 17,576 ways of combining three letters and 676 ways of combining two letters, so the old system that worked fine for 100,000 hams was overloaded by the 1960s.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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N2EY
Member

Posts: 3895




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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2012, 02:34:15 PM »

1x2 calls were only issued sequentially (i.e., no ability to request a specific callsign) up until about 1976.

Steve,

A data point for you:

I was issued N2EY sequentially in the fall of 1977, when I moved from 3 land to 2 land.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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W3HF
Member

Posts: 696


WWW

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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2012, 10:21:21 PM »

I was issued N2EY sequentially in the fall of 1977, when I moved from 3 land to 2 land.

Jim -

Thanks. I knew it was some where in there, but I didn't remember the actual date. (I was posting that from memory.) I guess the sequential issue of 1x2s were still going during the pseudo-vanity period, until the whole thing was replaced by the Group A/B/C/D system.

73,
Steve
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K9FV
Member

Posts: 480




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« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2012, 05:52:06 AM »

I am also somewhat unsure about the vanity call system.  While I did like the idea of telling someone's general area by the call, it was also nice to have the same call sign for life.  Your call is somewhat like a name, and for those of us who move around during our working years, it was like changing your name every time you moved.  It took me a long time, but I think I've finally settled on "better to keep same call" rather than having to change your name for each move - so I got a vanity call.

K9FV is a vanity call and was chosen for my Dad - his name is "FV" - just the two letters.  I was able to do this while he was still alive in his mid-70's.  Sure did make that old man proud - didn't say much, but the grin said it all.    AND it is shorter and easy to say compared to the WA4UBD I had before.  That was my original call from mid 70's - I used my parents farm as my "permanent" thru all my move to different places in the country.

Now, I'm settled in 4 land and plan no more moves......  my Mom says "finally got the rabbit out of my feet"<Smiley

73 de Ken H>
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W9KDX
Member

Posts: 771




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« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2012, 06:08:45 PM »

I was perfectly content with my original call.  The problem came with virtually every single DX call I made had a problem with saying the call back when they confirmed.  During the ARRL sweeps last fall (ahh, the good old days when 10 was open) it was obvious I had a tongue twister.  So I spent a considerable amount of time and effort looking for a call that cut down the number of syllables and at the same time, allowed the tongue and lips to work together rather than colliding, and the DX at the end was a bonus.

Since the change, problems are gone.  And I was able to get a 9 number so that the beams are still pointing in the right direction, for those who do such.  I am very glad the system exists.  It was well worth the cost of re-doing my QSL cards.
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Sam
W9KDX
KJ4YAC
Member

Posts: 8




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« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2012, 04:59:54 AM »

I've thought about getting a vanity call but I kind of like having the one that was issued to me when I got my Technician ticket.

First, it's mine.

Second, during a QSO it tells anybody who thinks about it that I'm a fairly new ham. I quite often tell people that I've only had my General for a little over a year, especially when we're talking about antennas.

73 all..

Then again, at times I think about getting a call with the letters WBZA somewhere in it as that was the station I listened to with my Philmore crystal set all those years ago.  Maybe someday....
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KCJ9091
Member

Posts: 0




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« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2012, 06:10:58 AM »

My assigned call was a KG5.  I got tired of being asked how long I had been and what did I do on Gitmo.  Never been there.
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K7KBN
Member

Posts: 2817




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« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2012, 08:29:52 AM »

My assigned call was a KG5.  I got tired of being asked how long I had been and what did I do on Gitmo.  Never been there.

Hmmm... Guantanamo was KG4 back in the day; probably still is if there are any hams there.  When I first started DXing, I noticed that U.S. stations offshore had call signs starting with K, and then a letter identifying the actual "country", and a number that related to the nearest call district of the U.S.

Guantanamo (KG), was geographically closest to the 4th call district, so KG4 was the prefix. US stations in Greenland, closest to New England, were KG1.  The Canal Zone, closest to Texas, was KZ5 (Z for Zone, I guess).  All the Pacific Islands, being closest to California, had a 6 in the call:  Hawaii KH6, Guam KG6, Johnston Island KJ6 and so on.  The Marshall Islands, where the first thermonuclear bomb test occurred, was KX6.  Don't know if that represents "secrecy" or what; it's an anomaly.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
NK6Q
Member

Posts: 202




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« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2012, 04:52:52 PM »

So, is a Vanity callsign the ham equivalent of getting a nose-job?

When I decided to return to ham radio after 40 years QRT, since my old license expired in 1974 I had to retake the exams. After passing the Technician I was assigned KJ6CVO.  Subsequently I took and passed the General and Extra exams before I even got on-air. 

As a CW-only Op, KJ6CVO would have been pretty clunky and long, so I took advantage of the Vanity Callsign program and selected NK6Q.  Much easier and faster to send and it has good code rhythm.

I like to say: the 2-by-1 means "Extra"
                  the "N" in front means "Novice"

Bill in Pasadena
NK6Q

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KG4NEL
Member

Posts: 414




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« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2012, 05:57:39 PM »

My assigned call was a KG5.  I got tired of being asked how long I had been and what did I do on Gitmo.  Never been there.

Hmmm... Guantanamo was KG4 back in the day; probably still is if there are any hams there.  When I first started DXing, I noticed that U.S. stations offshore had call signs starting with K, and then a letter identifying the actual "country", and a number that related to the nearest call district of the U.S.

Guantanamo (KG), was geographically closest to the 4th call district, so KG4 was the prefix. US stations in Greenland, closest to New England, were KG1.  The Canal Zone, closest to Texas, was KZ5 (Z for Zone, I guess).  All the Pacific Islands, being closest to California, had a 6 in the call:  Hawaii KH6, Guam KG6, Johnston Island KJ6 and so on.  The Marshall Islands, where the first thermonuclear bomb test occurred, was KX6.  Don't know if that represents "secrecy" or what; it's an anomaly.

Pretty sure Gitmo is still a KG4 followed by two letters. The US used the 2x3s; in any event, I've never had someone ask me if I've run into Jack Nicholson on base...

:-D
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