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Author Topic: N-Prefix Callsign -- when ?  (Read 3837 times)
K7PEH
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« on: May 15, 2011, 01:01:18 PM »

I am curious -- when did the N prefix callsign usage begin.  When I was a Novice in the mid-1960s there were no N-prefixes used, at least I never heard of them.  Now they seem to be as abundant as the K or W prefixes.

I am also wondering how they were introduced.  Did the N prefix become part of the standard sequential issue of new call signs or did you have to request an N-prefix?

Anyone know?

Thanks,
73, phil, K7PEH
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W8JX
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2011, 01:28:08 PM »

It runs in my mind mid 80's. My wife got a N no code tech call in late 80's.
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N5NA
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2011, 01:58:57 PM »

I received my call in 1977.  That was when the FCC had a program to allow Extra class operators to choose a call.  That may have been the time frame the first N calls were issued.

73,  Alan  N5NA
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K7PEH
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2011, 02:19:51 PM »

I received my call in 1977.  That was when the FCC had a program to allow Extra class operators to choose a call.  That may have been the time frame the first N calls were issued.

Interesting.  So, did the Extra Class operators have special early access to the N prefix?  I guess I never thought about it much but I am not even sure if N prefix is limited to Extra today.  Maybe it is.
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W8JX
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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2011, 02:22:06 PM »

They burned up a LOT of N calls with no code techs until they were used up.
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NO2A
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2011, 02:50:11 PM »

I got this call in early `86. Throughout the 80`s techs and generals were issued N2_ _ _ calls. I think in the early 80`s they were issuing the AA2_ calls for extra also. Never knew the N2_ _ calls went that far back to `77.I don`t remember at the time whether extras could request vanity calls or not.
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N1UK
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2011, 04:15:41 PM »

I was issued N9HJV as a general class operator in April 1988


Mark N1UK
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N2EY
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2011, 04:53:16 PM »

The following applies to amateur radio callsigns. MARS and other services use a different rules.

In November 1976, FCC began issuing 1x2 callsigns with the first letter  N for Extras and 1x3 callsigns with the first letter N for special-event stations.

In January of 1979, FCC began issuing callsigns with a system essentially equivalent to what we have now.

73 de Jim, N2EY 
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N8CMQ
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2011, 06:08:36 PM »

I got my call in the early 80s.
N8CMQ general...
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N5NA
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« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2011, 07:39:01 PM »

Interesting.  So, did the Extra Class operators have special early access to the N prefix?  I guess I never thought about it much but I am not even sure if N prefix is limited to Extra today.  Maybe it is.

In 1976 a rule was passed allowing an Extra Class licensee to request a specific callsign.  There were various dates one became eligible to apply.  The fee was $28 if no renewal was desired or $29 with renewal.

Beginning July 1, 1976, a person holding the Extra and holding a 1x2 call could turn it in for his choice of 1x2; also a person holding Extra and licensed 25 years could request a specific 1x2

Beginning October 1, 1976, a specific 1x2 could be issued to an Extra who held that class prior to November 22, 1967.

Beginning January 1, 1977, a person who acquired Extra prior to July 2, 1974, could request a specific 1x2 call.

Beginning April 1, 1977, a person who acquired Extra prior to July 1, 1976, could request a specific 1x2 call.

After July 1, 1977, all Extras were eligible.

Many 1x2 calls were acquired during this program.  They aren't treated as vanity calls and there is no vanity call fee upon renewal.

This information was from the June, 1976, QST.

73,  Alan  N5NA
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K7PEH
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« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2011, 08:32:18 PM »

Thanks guys for the updates on history of things.  I had been out of this hobby completely from 1967 to February 2004 so there is a lot that I am missing.  One of my last memories of those early days is seeing a new Drake transceiver.  I can't even remember what it was but it was after I dropped out of the hobby so it could have been 1967 or 1968.  Around 2001 to 2002, I wandered into a ham radio store in south Seattle and looked over the equipment.  I was very surprised at how small everything looked and front panels filled with buttons and dials.  I have no idea who the vendors were of this equipment but I am guessing (now) it was probably Yaesu, Kenwood, and Icom.

73, phil, K7PEH
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K7KBN
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« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2011, 09:02:41 PM »

I used an "N" call back in the early 1960s.  Of course, it didn't have any number in it: NZFF.  (USS Kitty Hawk).  Even used "NLK" (Naval Radio Station Jim Creek) a few times.

The "N" block of calls, as with the "W", "K" and "A" blocks, have been assigned to the USA for quite some time.  I'm not sure just when the first "N" calls for amateur use were issued, but the USN has used them just about forever.  N+3 letters for ships, N+2 letters for shore stations.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
K2OWK
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« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2011, 09:38:01 PM »

Hello, I do not know if this means anything, but I got my first ham license in the mid 1950s. It was a novice license KN2OWK. After becoming a general the N was dropped. I think all novice license in the early years had an "N" as the second letter WN, KN, etc. This N was dropped when the next grade of license was obtained.

73s
K2OWK
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K7PEH
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« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2011, 09:44:26 PM »

Hello, I do not know if this means anything, but I got my first ham license in the mid 1950s. It was a novice license KN2OWK. After becoming a general the N was dropped. I think all novice license in the early years had an "N" as the second letter WN, KN, etc. This N was dropped when the next grade of license was obtained.

Yes, my novice call in the mid-1960s was WN7ECQ.  I never did upgrade to General as I was too busy with college but if I had upgraded to General, my call sign would have become WB7ECQ (if I remember correctly, they had moved from the A letter to the B letter around 1965 or so for the 7th zone).  But, the N in the WN or KN calls was the standard practice for Novices back then.
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N2EY
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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2011, 05:49:45 AM »

I think all novice license in the early years had an "N" as the second letter WN, KN, etc. This N was dropped when the next grade of license was obtained.

Almost.

From its inception in 1951 until about the 1970s, Novices had distinctive callsigns. The usual method was the inserted "N".

However, in the 2 and 6 call districts, there was a period when the inserted letter was a "V" (from "noVice"). So there were Novice calls such as WV6ISQ.

Outside the 48 continental states, all "regular" calls began with K, and had two-letter prefixes. So the Novice calls began with W, and upon upgrading became K. WL7XYZ became KL7XYZ, etc.

Novices were the only individual amateur license class with mandatory distinctive callsigns. (There was a time when repeaters had distinctive calls, for example).

73 de Jim, N2EY
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