Well, the FCC rules don't say anything about borrowing callsigns, but I
think there's a loophole.
Although there's a primary station location on each license, that's not the
only station of which you can be the station licensee (as opposed to the
control operator.) You can put a rig in your car and operate it under your
call, and you're both the station licensee and control op. You can hand the
mike to a passenger and they (or you) can be the control op, depending on
who has the higher set of privileges. Similarly, you can lug a portable
radio up a mountain and you're the station licensee.
So, I think the loophole is that, by agreement with you, I can designate
your physical station as WC1M and it temporarily becomes my station and I'm
the station licensee. It's just a coincidence that the temporary address of
my station is the same as the address of your primary licensed station. In
effect, you're not borrowing my callsign, I'm borrowing your station! Then
I, the station licensee, can designate you as the control operator. I don't
think FCC rules require signing portable anymore (if they ever did), so I
think you can operate the station and sign WC1M without signing portable. I
couldn't find anything in the rules says I have to be there for the this be
So that takes care of your being able to effectively borrow the callsign.
But ultimately the privileges that can be used are determined by the license
of the control operator, not the station licensee. If you're the control
operator, and you're a General, then you're restricted to General class
So I think the answer to your question is, "Yes, with my permission you can
borrow my callsign, but you can't exceed the privileges of your own
I think the same holds true when members of a club "borrow" a club callsign.
As long as the trustee agrees, whatever station they're operating becomes a
licensed station under the club callsign. A member can use the call at home,
at Field Day, at a special event station, etc. If the trustee is an Extra,
and the trustee is present or another Extra class control op is present,
then the station can use Extra class privileges. If the trustee is a
General, and the control operator is an Extra, then the members would have
to sign trustee-call/control-op-call to operate with Extra class privileges.
The FCC rules are explicit about the case described above, where the
privileges of the control operator's license *exceed* the station licensee's
privileges. In that case, you have to sign station-call/control-op-call. For
example, if WC1M (Extra) is the control op at KA1LBW (General), and he wants
to use the KA1LBW call, he has to sign KA1LBW/WC1M. He can get around this,
however, by signing WC1M. I'm pretty sure in this case it's allowed because
the station equipment and location are "borrowed" by WC1M and this becomes
his temporary station.
But the FCC rules don't address the case where the station licensee's
privileges exceed those of the control operator. There's no requirement to
sign station-call/control-op-call in this case. So, I think when a General
class licensee borrows an Extra class call (you borrow my call in your
hypothetical case), then you can sign just the borrowed call -- but you have
to stay out of the Extra class band.
This seems like an omission in the rules. My sense is that the station ID
rules are supposed to help the FCC determine the privileges of the control
operator. But in this case they don't know who the control operator is. You
would think that the rules would require signing
station-call/control-op-call in this case. For my example, WC1M/KA1LBW. But
I don't see that requirement in the rules.
73, Dick WC1M
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tom Osborne [mailto:email@example.com]
> Sent: Monday, June 08, 2009 11:20 PM
> To: Dick Green WC1M
> Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Borrowing Callsigns
> Hi dick
> My original question was, "Can a general op borrow an extra callsign.
> Say I was a general, (I'm extra), could I do a WPX contest and sign WC1M
> you weren't around? Even if I stayed in the general band? 73
> Tom W7WHY
> > Right. What's been missing in this discussion is that if a General class
> > licensee operates at a station with an Extra class control op, the
> > op's callsign must be used if the station is operated with Extra class
> > privileges. So, if KA1LBW operates at station XYZ (it really doesn't
> > matter
> > which one), and WC1M is present as the control op, KA1LBW must sign WC1M
> > in
> > order to use Extra class privileges. If, however, the station is
> > under the KA1LBW callsign, using Extra class privileges, it must be
> > as
> > KA1LBW/WC1M. Not very practical, so unless it's some sort of special
> > station, most people would opt to sign WC1M.
> > 73, Dick WC1M
> > _______________________________________________
> > CQ-Contest mailing list
> > CQ-Contest@contesting.com
> > http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/cq-contest
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