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Author Topic: Thoughts on changing call signs  (Read 16962 times)

Posts: 283

« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2014, 07:16:05 AM »

I held my novice call until I passed the extra, then changed.  Sometimes I wish I had kept the old Novice all.  But I've had this call over 30 years now and no way I'll ever change it now.  If you like the call you have, then keep it.  If you think it stinks, then change it.

Posts: 9749


« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2014, 12:38:26 AM »

The only thing I detest is allowing people to have out of district calls, and not keeping it extra only. I always thought not requiring both were  mistakes.

Posts: 2101

« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2014, 08:19:41 AM »

Good afternoon.  Last Monday I took and passed my Technician and General Class exams and got my call sign on Friday.  I haven't yet been on the air (radio is on its way) so I'm not yet known in the community and thus not attached to my call sign yet. 

Congrats and welcome to ham radio!

Quote from: KD2FQD

I'm studying hard to pass my Extra exam next month and have a few questions.  Do people generally keep their first call sign or do they usually request a new one coinciding with their newly acquired license level?  Do established operators generally have an opinion on people who test quickly and get an Extra class call sign without "earning" it via years of practical experience?

I was an Advanced for 35 years before upgrading to Extra in 2012.  I certainly did not wait because I was trying to 'earn' it with practical experience.  Grin  My initial hold-up was the 20wpm code requirement (In an FCC office where one minute of perfect copy was required it felt like 35wpm to me as a young teen).  Then when I became active again 5 years ago it was the re-acclimation to the material plus my not liking that I had to re-take all of the Advanced material since the Advanced had been done away with that made me a bit reluctant.  That and the false idea in my head at the time that it is hard to learn new things when you are old(er). was a godsend when it came to learning the Extra material in a way that was affordable, fun, and fast.

Practical experience is no longer required to obtain the Extra so don't add unnecessary hurdles to the process of getting it!  License class and level of experience are two different things and both have their merits. The fact that you appreciate the importance of experience suggests you will make a great Extra. 

Quote from: KD2FQD
Lastly, what do people think about vanity call signs beyond taking over one who has gone silent and was a family member?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice,


When I moved back to the 9 call district, after having been QRT for the most part for three decades, I decided to get back an old 2x2 callsign i had held.  Then about a year later, I began to see the desirability of having a call that was better for CW and that seemed easier to convey on phone.  I also preferred 1x3 to 2x2 calls because the history of CONUS calls make the 2x2's more 'new-fangled' and less seasoned than the 1x3's.

Now that I am an Extra, I considered a 1x2 but it would have to be a really good one and for my taste it would have to be a 9 since I live in the 9 call area.

Bottom line: if you want a 'vanity' call don't feel like there is any stigma attached to getting one.  Do it in your first few years so you don't get too attached to the one you hold now.  If you want a shorter call, wait till you pass your Extra and see what 2x1 call you are issued and then decide.  Finally, if you plan to get into CW, consider the 'weight' of various callsigns.  Your present call is pretty long for code...

Have fun and let us know what you decide.

73, Rob K9AIM 

Posts: 74

« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2014, 04:35:09 PM »

I'm studying up for my General now, aiming for my club's next testing session.  I'm tempted to apply for N4LGR at the same time.  KK4LGR is meaningless to me but I've gotten used to saying and hearing it.  Problem is, people keep coming back to me with AK4LGR, which is a legal American callsign.  I think N4LGR will be less ambiguous, way shorter to key on CW, and still recognizable as me to my local radio friends.  And I'll still be a 4 living in 4 land.  Or I'll keep KK4LGR and not bother with it.  As someone else said, you slowly get attached to your callsign.

"Well I'm sure glad we've got these ham radios to talk on."
--Unidentified station heard on 2 meters

Posts: 35

« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2014, 05:21:54 PM »

I got my Tech and General the same day as well last year and when I got my call sign it was very hard to say, I would get tongue tied so I knew I wanted a Vanity right away, so I got mine and didn't hardly even broadcast with my original. I say get one you like, if it is available and you are happy with it take it.

Posts: 534

« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2014, 06:45:34 PM »

When it comes to callsigns, I have traditionally always felt like Maxwell Smart... "Missed it by THAT much!"

Novice call: WD5CCV... WB5? BTC? CTZ? and so on, ad nauseum

My first repeater (years later): The repeater had a diode matrix (put diodes in to spell out the dits and dahs), so I went for a shorter call: KI5DM... Great... when I was a Novice, we were all jealous of old timers with calls beginning with the the letter 'K'... they weren't assigned anymore. So I was happy to have a 'K' call. Then a ham licensed much after me says, "Wow! You had a 'W' call and you gave it up?!!!" (This was before vanity calls and all that was being assigned were Ks... what goes around.)   Anyway, I kept getting mistaken for another ham in the area with a very similar call. Oh, well... moving on.

Upgrade to Extra and moved: AB5HB... was fine with that until we planned to move again and I was going to get back on HF...  and CW. Too many dits!

Moved: AC5DK... was hoping to get either AC5DC (which went to an electrical engineer; issued, not vanity!) or AC5DX. (Missed it by THAT much! Either direction!)  Sometimes it was so hard to get stations to get the DK and not hear DX... I even sent a card to a DX station once only to get back a card several green stamps later addressed to AC5DX. ARGH!!! (I wonder how many cards that guy got through the bureau that he wondered where it came from.)

After about 5 years off the air, we moved to a new call area: AJ4YC. YUK! I didn't want to be 'that guy with the 5 call' so I had put in for a callsign change when I put in my change of address. But that call was just terrible... voice and CW both.  I think the FCC shows I had that call for all of a day or so. For the first time, I looked seriously into a vanity call.

Vanity call: N4UFO. It had been available for a month... belonged to a Silent Key. Could NOT believe it was available. I hesitated for a second, not wanting to be labeled as a card carrying member of the tin foil hat brigade, but my wife said, "Go for it! Just find me a cool callsign, too!" XYL is now N4ICY... she says not because she's cold, but if anyone wonders, she points at me and they'll reply, "Oh... I-C-Y!" (I see why)  Cheesy

BUT... while I love the call and it gets a lot of comments (some DX ops will remember me from band to band)  Grin , Maxwell Smart was not far behind... unbeknownst to me at the time, W4UFO lives just 12 miles from me.  Roll Eyes

The bottom line... in my life, the different callsigns have marked different evolutions of my ham experience... it's completely personal whether you get a new one or not. Just get one that YOU are happy with... but when you find it stick with it. I have had friends that had cool calls, but spun the wheel of upgrade call re-assignment and regretted it later. But honestly, if you plan to chase DX or operate a lot of HF, getting something shorter than a 2x3 will be a big help. About the only vanity calls that I, personally, don't care for are when people get their initials... but that's my hangup, to each his own. It's just right up there with those vanity car tags where no one but the owner understands what it means...  Huh

The only real thing about changing calls is, if everybody knows you by one, may take them a while to get used to the new one... it IS like changing your name. That's why I only did it when moving or when i'd been off the air for a while.  Wink

Posts: 279

« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2014, 01:59:05 PM »

cONGRATS on your General and good luck for the Extra to come. Don't worry what others think, do what YOU think is right for your needs. I did, getting my Extra within the same year of the Tech (2013).

Changing the call is purely a matter of preference. Calls are no longer related to license level, so go for what you want now, and keep spellability in mind, if you do phone. I wanted RNO for my first name Arno and didn't try for a shorter one despite me only doing CW outside of 2m, but K7RNO is flowing pretty melodically in code. Since I am QRP exclusively, DX is not a primary concern either, so a short call is not a must. There you have my 2 cents.

What have you decided for yourself?

NAQCC #6870, SKCC #11131

Posts: 1085

« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2014, 01:43:53 PM »

I've had my call since October 1976, when I got a Tech license (late called tech-plus).  Upgraded to extra in 2000, but kept my call.  I use it as an ID on many web forums and such (It's unique, vs my name which is a really common generic white trash American name)  Grin 

I do sometimes have trouble with the phonetics on HF, "India" comes back as "Juliet" and "Sierra" also gets confused. 
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