[CQ-Contest] Call sign history

Zack Widup w9sz.zack at gmail.com
Sun Jan 8 10:21:25 EST 2017

Oh, yes, I remember that! I was also in that group. That's when I got my
current callsign.

My old friend and Elmer W9RCJ ("Ragtime Cowboy Joe" - now an SK) told me
that the original holder of the W9SZ call died at Pearl Harbor and the call
was then re-issued to a ham in Lansing, IL. I'm the third holder of the

73, Zack W9SZ

On Sun, Jan 8, 2017 at 8:28 AM, James Cain <jamesdavidcain at gmail.com> wrote:

> What's in a name?
> 40 years ago this week a very large group of us were applying to the FCC
> for the long-awaited "preferred Extra Class call signs."  The FCC opened
> the gate on January 1, 1977. Decisions, decisions. You were told to list
> four desired call signs. That sent everybody to the latest Callbook to see
> what was available. It depended on what Call Area you lived in. 1X2 call
> signs starting with the letter K had never been issued in most Call Areas.
> Some had been issued in Call Areas 2, 4, and 6.
> Lots of call signs starting with the letter W were available but all would
> be "re-issues." I don't think a 1X2 call sign starting with the letter N
> had ever been issued.
> Some of us had waited many years to dump our 2X3 call signs. We had been
> Extras for nearly 10 years. The prospect of fewer characters was exciting.
> But choosing a new call sign was agonizing! A lot of us chose a new call
> sign that had some connection with our checkered past. For many, the choice
> was mode-oriented. If you liked phone, phonetics were a big consideration.
> For CW operators, bauds mattered. And, if you prefer CW, do you really want
> a call sign ending in K?
> A lot of us operated the first of two weekends of the 1977 ARRL DX CW
> Competition with our 2X3 call signs. What happens if our shiny new call
> sign arrives in the mail before the second weekend? (In those good old
> days, children, each mode of the contest was two weekends, a month apart.)
> Somebody I know really, really well, enquired about this, and the
> unofficial word from the FCC was if your new call sign/license arrives
> before the second weekend, just pretend it didn't.
> Jim Cain, K1TN (ex-WA1STN, WA9AUM)
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