[CQ-Contest] Call sign history

Jim N7US jim at n7us.net
Sun Jan 8 12:52:38 EST 2017

The ARRL would send a photocopy of a matrix from graph paper that showed
which calls were available.  It wasn't real-time, of course, which we would
expect today.

There wasn't a limit to the number of calls one could submit; my list had 23
(!), and I received my second choice when I submitted in the third group
below.  N calls were new in 1977.

NCJ was in a small format (5" X 7"?), and several issues contained
cross-reference lists from old-to-new and new-to-old calls because so many
had new calls.

It was a fun time.

73, Jim N7US

-----Original Message-----

Great history, JIm! Thanks for sharing.
Before they "opened the gate" in January 1977, several of us received our  
1X2 callsigns. Mine (K8IA) was late 1976 via #2 below. The procedure was;
1) Effective July 1, 1976, any Extra class licensee who had been a licensed 
 Amateur for 25 years or more could select one specific 1x2 call sign. 
2) Effective October 1, 1976, anyone who had held an Amateur Extra class  
license prior to November 22, 1967, could select one specific 1x2 call
3) Effective January 1, 1977, anyone who had held an Amateur Extra class  
license prior to July 2, 1974, could select one specific 1x2 call sign.
4) Effective April 1, 1977, anyone who held an Amateur Extra class license  
prior to July 1, 1976, could select one specific 1x2 call sign.
5) Effective July 1, 1977, any Amateur Extra class licensee could select  
one specific 1x2 call sign. 

73, Bob K8IA
Arizona Outlaws Contest Club
In a message dated 1/8/2017 7:49:33 A.M. US Mountain Standard Time,  
jamesdavidcain at gmail.com writes:

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
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
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
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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