[CQ-Contest] Call sign history

Mike Smith VE9AA ve9aa at nbnet.nb.ca
Sun Jan 8 11:53:15 EST 2017

Jim, (at your superstation?)


Interesting discussion.  I never knew the exact history of this "preferred
Extra Class call signs" history exactly, as it occurred

just before I was licensed.


On the CWops Yahoo group we recently had a bit of a discussion about
callsign weight, short calls, long calls, recognition and on/off keying

This started when Larry WB5EIN became NN5O (most believe he made an
excellent choice)


Also, there are good calls on SSB that are horrible on CW and vice versa.


In Canada, to the best of my memory, you had to be licensed 10 years before
applying for a 2 letter call.  I went to 2 letters just a little bit after
10 yrs, but got one with lots of dahs, not unlike my original call. you had
to take what you were given back then.  When new VE9 calls were made
available to New Brunswickers (and VY2 to PEI) in 1993, I applied and got my
second choice. VE9AA...as it turns out, my first choice had a
longer/slow-to-send callsign weight, so I was happy !


There are many good callsigns.  Some 2x3's in the USA and Canada I would not
dream about changing, as recognition factors into it a lot as well.


Thanks for bringing up a most interesting discussion !





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

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

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

"re-issues." I don't think a 1X2 call sign starting with the letter N had

been issued. 


Some of us had waited many years to dump our 2X3 call signs. We had been

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

had some connection with our checkered past. For many, the choice was 

mode-oriented. If you liked phone, phonetics were a big consideration. For

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

FCC was if your new call sign/license arrives before the second weekend,

pretend it didn't. 


Jim Cain, K1TN (ex-WA1STN, WA9AUM)



Mike, Coreen & Corey

Keswick Ridge, NB


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