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Author Topic: Deceased Hams  (Read 3007 times)
N8TCZ
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Posts: 48




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« on: February 28, 2009, 04:08:11 PM »

I've been working on database of local hams in about a 6 county area and noticed that there were a number of expired licences that quite possibly may be of deceased hams.
  I would like to remind all that if you are aware of a license of a deceased ham that hasn't been canceled please try to get a relative or next of kin to notify the FCC.
  I know sometimes bringing up a death can be a little touchy.
The reasons for canceling a license is to make available an old call.  Some may be great vanity calls.  
A personal experience was that an old classmate (50 years ago)of mine had her brother pass away.
  While on his deathbed his widow renewed his license for him and now it will be another 10 (plus 2) years before the call will be available.
  I've tried to steer her (classmate) to get the license canceled but to no avail.
I would do it myself but I don't know his SS# to verify proof of his death positively plus I live 1000 miles away so I can't make personal contact.
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W3LK
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Posts: 5639




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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2009, 06:05:10 PM »

Very good advice.

As for your the ham you were talking about at the end, you might contact Jim Heath at High Sierra Antenna. He knows the procedure for getting a statement from Social Security confirming a death.

I am sure others know this, as well, but Jim is the one who helped me get one for the previous holder of W3LK.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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K7KBN
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Posts: 3481




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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2009, 09:18:44 PM »

It'd be a shame if a new ham didn't have the immediate opportunity to change his new call to something that made him appear to be an Old Timer, now, wouldn't it?

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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
N8TCZ
Member

Posts: 48




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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2009, 07:05:13 AM »

The object is to clean up the rolls of licensed hams, not to disquise new hams.  Why all the bitterness for new hams vs old hams.  Get over it.
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W3LK
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Posts: 5639




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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2009, 11:37:54 AM »

<< It'd be a shame if a new ham didn't have the immediate opportunity to change his new call to something that made him appear to be an Old Timer, now, wouldn't it? >>

And people accuse ME of making dumb statements.

I think you will find that most vanity calls reflect the ham's initials (mine, for instance) or something else of significance only to the ham. There is one ham I am familiar that immediately changed his call sign to reflect the initials of his deceased child.  I seriously doubt the average vanity call sign holder got it to appear they are an old timer.

FWIW, I was first licensed in 1960 as KN4ZQG, let my license lapse, was relicensed in 1996 as N3ZKP. I got my vanity call in 2006.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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K7KBN
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Posts: 3481




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« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2009, 01:43:08 PM »

"The reasons for canceling a license is to make available an old call. Some may be great vanity calls."

Yeah, especially those 1x2s and 1x3s.

Lon, I wasn't singling you or anyone else out.  I've heard newly-licensed hams on 2 meters in this area announcing that they just got their calls a couple of days ago and had already submitted vanity call requests so they wouldn't look "too new" (their words).

I would be all for a mandatory two-year restriction between the time a license is issued and when the licensee is eligible to change it.  This might mean a two-year wait for new Generals to take the Extra test.  I have no problem with that either.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
W3LK
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Posts: 5639




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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2009, 01:54:04 PM »

I think your two newbies are in the majority; at least I HOPE they are!!!

<< I would be all for a mandatory two-year restriction between the time a license is issued and when the licensee is eligible to change it. This might mean a two-year wait for new Generals to take the Extra test. I have no problem with that either.>>

You'll get no argument from me on either proposal, especially the last one. There are way too many illiterate (ham and radio-wise) Extra class hams. Some of the questions coming from these guys are almost unbelievable. I saw one post asking for help making a dipole. And then there are the ones who can't put a PL-259 on a piece of coax. Sad

BTW, sorry for the "dumb statement" remark.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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N8TCZ
Member

Posts: 48




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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2009, 04:08:42 PM »

I guess I'm missing something here.  I didn't know you could tell how smart or dumb a person is by their call sign or what their IQ is.
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WT0A
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Posts: 922




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« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2009, 01:25:50 PM »

Sometimes some of us may not want a callsign immediatly purged. See N0KXL in QRZ. eventually his daughter or one of his grandkids may get a licence and apply for his call as a vanity call.
Glen WT0A
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W3HF
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Posts: 853


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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2009, 12:03:01 PM »

"I would do it myself but I don't know his SS# to verify proof of his death positively plus I live 1000 miles away so I can't make personal contact."

You don't need to know the SSN a priori. If the widow has filed for Social Security death benefits, it's searchable in the Social Security Death Index. You can find one at

http://ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com/

You'll probably do better using the Advanced Search feature, and use parameters like city/state of last residence. Note that it may take a few months for someone to be listed in the online SSDI.

A printout from the SSDI is all that's really needed, along with a copy of a ULS printout of the license (showing a match in name, address, etc).

VanityHQ (www.vanityhq.com) describes the process for requesting a license cancellation. You can either mail in the paper copies, or submit an FCC help request electronically (attaching an electronic copy of the SSDI web page).
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W3HF
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« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2009, 12:12:02 PM »

"Sometimes some of us may not want a callsign immediatly purged."

With all due respect to the deceased (and the surviving family), it doesn't matter what people (family, friends, the deceased) want. Our callsigns don't belong to us. They're not like property, where we can build memorials to those we miss or fondly remember. The callsigns are not us, the licensees, either. Our shorthand of referring to hams by their calls is incorrect, and obscures the fact that the callsign is the station, not the licensee.

We are only allowed usage of callsigns as a privilege of being granted a license. But one of the (implicit) requirements of being an individual (as opposed to club) licensee is that the licensee be alive. As of the date of death of the licensee, the privileges cease. The fact that the FCC will cancel a license retroactive to the date of death is proof of this.
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N5LRZ
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2009, 12:26:14 PM »

It is all going to come out in the wash in the end.  At the  end of the term of a SK the license will not be renewed and two years later be open for claiming via vanity call.

However, I understand the premise of the original post--survey and remove SKs from the database.  The problem is: what formal procedure is going to work to canvas the entire database to find SK persons yet reamain inexpensive and simple.  Anyone having the working solution to that problem without the formation of a huge agency filled with worthless government bureaucratic morons all of whome are trying to justify their overblown salary is a pure genius.  

And should run for President in the next election.
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W3HF
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« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2009, 02:39:26 PM »

"what formal procedure is going to work to canvas the entire database to find SK persons yet reamain inexpensive and simple[?]"

The trick is not to search the license database looking for SKs, but to collect data on deaths, and determine which of these were licensed.

Since the most common method used to prove death is the Social Security Death Index, it would seem to be logical to get that data from the source, just as soon as it is created. In other words, the Social Security Administration must have its own database, analogous to the FCC's ULS. And there has to be a mechanism to create "daily update" files from that database, just as the FCC does. And just like it's possible to parse the ULS daily changes for specific types of transactions (such as license cancellations), it should be possible to parse the SSA database for deaths. And the resulting file could be passed over to the FCC, and run against the ULS to find matches, indicating an SK.

The US death rate is approximately 2.5 million per year, or just under 7000 per day (2005 data from the CDC). So these aren't going to be small files, but they aren't that large either. There would be some labor (=cost) to get it set up and write the scripts that would filter the data, but once the process is automated, it would run virtually for free.

Not everyone who dies is reported to the SSA--only those for which Social Security would pay a death benefit. But I'll bet that it would catch over 95% of the SKs.

The problem is the split responsibility. Who'll pay, the SSA or the FCC? SSA would have to do most of the work (to write the code to parse their own, private, database). But they don't benefit at all from the process, so they're not motivated. And the FCC really doesn't care; after all, as you point out, those licenses will just disappear in a few years. It's only the amateur community that cares.
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