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Author Topic: New Ham; question on call signs  (Read 8107 times)
K8ASY
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« on: October 03, 2012, 09:32:19 PM »

Hi everyone - Just got my General license. An intro, and then a couple quick questions:

My Dad, and his dad, were both hams way back when. When I was young – 35 or 40 years ago – I was interested as well, and I studied for the Novice exam (even learned 5WPM code, tuning in to W1AW every night to practice). But my dad was inactive at the time, and couldn’t get any of his xmitters working, so in the end I never bothered to take the exam. Fast forward to now: I needed a Tech license in order to operate a video transmitter, and maybe some APRS stuff, for some hobby interests of mine. I took and passed the Tech and General tests the same day, and got my ticket. I don’t know how much I’ll be on-air on phone, as I am mostly interested in the video/digital stuff, but I did pick up an inexpensive dual-band HT, so we’ll see.

Question:  I thought it might be nice to take my Dad’s 1X3 call in remembrance of him. Though he passed away many years ago, his call is still available, and it looks like I could easily grab it using the ‘close relative’ provision. However, I’m operating in the US region 7, but my Dad’s call sign is region 8 – all the way across the country. Will it be odd/inconvenient/confusing or frowned upon to operate in region 7 with a region 8 callsign? Will I have to explain to every local contact that I’m not a DX? I’m a newbie here, and so trying to avoid newbie mistakes.

Also, my grandfather was a ham - I have fond memories of visiting him in his shack – and I’m trying to find his call sign. He doesn’t seem to be in the ULS, I’m guessing because he passed away in ~1964, and I suppose the system doesn’t go back that far. Is there some other way to get info on licenses that old?

Thanks,

Kelly
KF7YMG
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W3HF
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« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2012, 05:50:56 AM »

Kelly -

First of all, congratulations on your license. As for your questions:

1. Don't worry about the region. Right now about 11.5% of US hams have callsigns that don't match their current mailing address. You've got more than enough reason to have the call. In my book, family tradition trumps a mailing address. You won't have any problems, especially if you mention it was your dad's call.

2. When you apply, don't bother with the close relative clause. That only matters if you are applying for a callsign that's been vacant for less than two years. It really won't hurt your application, but it truly is irrelevant if no one else has held the call since your dad held it. Just do a regular "request by list" application.

3. FCC records only go back to the late 1960s. Records earlier than that were stored at an FCC office that was flooded out during a hurricane in the mid-1970s (I think), and were destroyed. So the only records that exist are paper callbooks, and they only list hams by callsign--there are no alphabetical listings by name. It's possible to search them, but you have to read through each listing in the entire district. It's kind of like trying to find someone in a paper telephone directory when you only know the phone number, not the name. The information may be in there, but it's not indexed in the most useful way. There's someone who has managed to get a few callbooks into a searchable format, and one of them may be in the data range you're talking about. At this moment his callsign escapes me. I'll try to find it for you.

Steve
W3HF
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WT3O
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Posts: 16




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« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2012, 07:49:24 AM »

Kelly,

Congratulations and welcome to ham radio!

As Steve (W3HF) said, it isn't necessary to have a call sign in your district anymore. If you are using a dual-band HT for now, your contacts will mostly be through repeaters and the "locals" will begin to associate your out-of-district call as local. My brother got his ticket when he was in California, but he kept is 6-land call sign when he moved to Pennsylvania (district #3).

As a General, you can get a 1x3 call sign, so it shouldn't be a problem and I wouldn't bother with the "close relative" exemption, just apply as a regular vanity call sign.


73 de WT3O
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WN2C
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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2012, 02:55:07 PM »

I disagree with Steve W3hf for this reason: if someone else puts in for the same call on the same day (unlikely but could happen) then that call might go to that other requester.  If you put in under the close relative it wont.

de wn2c Rick
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W3HF
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« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2012, 11:18:13 AM »

I disagree with Steve W3hf for this reason: if someone else puts in for the same call on the same day (unlikely but could happen) then that call might go to that other requester.  If you put in under the close relative it wont.

de wn2c Rick

Rick -

Sorry, but your analysis is incorrect.

1. Part 97 doesn't say that "close relative" applications have priority. It says that callsigns are not available to be assigned as vanity calls within two years of expiration or cancellation, but that applications from defined "close relatives" are exempt from the two-year period. (See 97.19(c)(3)(ii) .) There's nothing about priority or order of processing.

2. As a result, the FCC implementation of vanity processing doesn't process different types of applications separately. ALL applications received on a given day are processed together, in a random order. It doesn't matter if it's a club app, a close relative app, or a request by list app--all are (effectively) put into the same "hat." One is then drawn at random, processed to completion, and then the next is drawn. The key is that different criteria can be applied depending on the applicant and the application. Some criteria are applied uniformly across all applications, for example the callsign requested must be of the format available to the Amateur Radio Service in the US. Some differences are obvious--Techs can't apply for Group A calls, for example. But these differences also cover the rules regarding the applicability of the two-year rule.

When the FCC processes a vanity app, it looks to see if the requested callsign is available. There are three possible answers: 1) No, it's not available because it is currently assigned. 2) Yes, it's available because it's been vacant for more than two years. 3) "It depends" because the call is not assigned but it hasn't been vacant for more than two years. For a "request by list" app, only case 2 results in an assignmentl. For a "close relative" (or "former holder", or "club in memoriam") app, both cases 2 and 3 result in an assignment.

We sometimes describe this situation as "close relative applications have priority", but that's not really accurate. If there are ten applications for a call that's within the two-year window and only one is a close relative, it's a sure thing that the relative will get the call. But it's not because his application has priority. It's because the other nine apps are guaranteed to be denied, even if they are processed first.

For Kelly's case, the call has been vacant for over two years. Therefore it is available to anyone, and will be assigned to the first person or club that applies. And if multiple applications are received on the same day, it will be a random draw, regardless of the types of applications submitted.

Steve
W3HF
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K8ASY
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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2012, 08:45:56 AM »

Can a general get an out-of-region (district?) call, without invoking the 'close relative' provision?  I thought I saw something to the effect that if you were requesting one from a list it had to be in-region (unless you were extra, or something).  It's likely I'm mistaken, though.  Anyhow, I applied online, and checked the 'close relative' box.  Couldn't hurt.

Thanks guys,

Kelly
KF7YMG
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W3HF
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« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2012, 12:40:38 PM »

Can a general get an out-of-region (district?) call, without invoking the 'close relative' provision?  I thought I saw something to the effect that if you were requesting one from a list it had to be in-region (unless you were extra, or something).  It's likely I'm mistaken, though. 
ANY ham (of any class) can get an out-of-district callsign, at least for regions 1 through 10 (CONUS). You can't get a Caribbean, Pacific or Alaska call, but you can get any other. If what you read said anything different, it's wrong.
Anyhow, I applied online, and checked the 'close relative' box.  Couldn't hurt.
Actually it could, but it doesn't. Some people have proposed that the FCC should reject a close relative application that is submitted after the two years are up, because a close relative app is ONLY applicable within those first two years. So far, the FCC just seems to ignore that part and processes it as a request by list.
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K8ASY
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« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2012, 01:47:40 PM »

Thanks, Guys!  I am now K8ASY.

Kelly
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