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[CQ-Contest] Callsigns & People

To: "reflector cq-contest" <cq-contest@contesting.com>
Subject: [CQ-Contest] Callsigns & People
From: "Bob Davis" <bob@reconstructinghistory.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2007 10:08:42 -0500
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
However, an inconceivably large number of electrons was terribly
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Michael Coslo" <mjc5@psu.edu>
To: "reflector cq-contest" <cq-contest@contesting.com>
Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2007 8:44 AM
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] QSL ethics

> On Dec 5, 2007, at 5:49 PM, K0HB wrote:
> > Good point.  People don't have call signs.  Radio stations have
> > call signs.
> >
> Is there a good online reference for this? I've always had a few
> questions on that matter, and would love to see the total rationale,
> since an exact reading of it would imply that a person without a
> station would not be licensed - and that isn't the case.
> Looked through part 97 a bit and didn't see anything definitive.

I've always held that people are licensed and the station holds the
callsign.  Look at it from the broadcast perspective - an entity, whether a
singular person or a corporation - is licensed to operate a station.  For
example, the Central Pennsylvania Broadcasting Company owned and operated a
5kw AM broadcast station, the callsign of which was WKVA. To the best of my
knowledge, neither a particular person nor the company itself was licensed
as WKVA; the company had a license to *operate* WKVA.  (Note: I could be
misremembering; it's been ten years since I was involved with that

Thus, I see it that R P Davis has a license to operate an amateur radio
station called NQ3X.  Another person I designate could operate my station
and use that callsign. Happens all the time with special event stations,
club stations and multi-operator contest stations - and even sometimes in
single-op roles, where I might lend my WPX-savvy call to a regular ol' W3.

That said, we as a hobby tend to use our callsigns as personal identifiers,
since they - generally speaking - are issued to a singular person, not an
entity (club calls and special event calls notwithstanding).  There aren't
many people who would recognize the name Bob Davis, even in my local club;
many more, comparatively speaking, will recognize my callsign.

Tangentially, this is an interesting onomastic exercise. One could argue
that ham radio callsigns serve the same purpose as locative, familial or
occupational bynames in past cultures.  A fellow named Will from the town of
Crecy becomes Guillaume d'Crecy; Will's son, who puts stones on top of each
other, becomes known as Tom Mason. In turn, Tom's son might be known as Jack
Tomson (locative, occupational, and familial respectively). In the same
manner do we assign further onomastic identifiers through the conjunctive
use of our callsigns - thus, we are Tim Duffy and Mike Coslo as well as Tim,
K3LR and Mike, N3LI or even just K3LR and N3LI.

You've made me think.  I'll be wary of you in the future. ;-)

Bob NQ3X (See!?)

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