[CQ-Contest] disruptive event in 1977 (was: call sign history)

donovanf at starpower.net donovanf at starpower.net
Wed Jan 11 00:12:31 EST 2017

Hi John, 

Prior to 1977, personal communication with FCC staffers not 
uncommonly resulted in favorable outcomes if the request didn't 
violate FCC rules and required little or no extra effort. That 
changed after the 1977 conviction when strict adherence to new 
systematic callsign assignment rules became mandatory. 

My story is nearly identical to yours when I was required to 
change my callsign in 1974 when my move to Maryland became 
permanent. There was no request for money, nor was it offered 
or exchanged. 


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

From: "John Unger" <w4au at verizon.net> 
To: cq-contest at contesting.com 
Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 11:27:05 PM 
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] disruptive event in 1977 (was: call sign history) 

Well, I may have been the recipient of an unsolicited accommodation from 
a "right" person at the FCC in 1976-77. When I returned from Hawaii and 
moved to California in 1974, I kept my KH6IJX callsign and operated /6; 
I knew that I was going to be moving again pretty soon. (I had had to 
give up W3GOI when operating on the big Island). Sure enough, I ended up 
here in Virginia in 1976 and when I got an antenna up, again operated as 
KH6IJX/6 for a while. 

Just out of curiosity one day I called the FCC in Gettysburg (remember, 
those were the times when you could actually telephone the FCC and talk 
to someone!). Anyway, I explained that I was no longer in Hawaii and 
wondered if I could get my original callsign, W3GOI, back. (I don't 
remember when it happened, but by that time you didn't have to change 
callsigns when you moved to a different call area.) The FCC person said 
something like, "Let me see what I can do...", and a few weeks later I 
got a new license for W3GOI in the mail! 

Didn't cost me anything extra, either... 

Of course, once I started contesting seriously here I realized that 
having a 3-area call in Virginia could be confusing. Also, W3GOI was not 
the nicest callsign on CW! So in the 1996 vanity event, I applied for 
and received W4AU - a great CW call! 

73 - John, W4AU 

On 1/10/2017 11:37 AM, Ron Notarius W3WN wrote: 
> Well, $100 here, $100 there, pretty soon you're talking about real money... 
> There were always rumors at the time that if you wanted a particular call, and you knew the right person to contact in Gettysburg, 'arrangements' could be made. And to be very clear, the 'right' person should not imply that this was someone soliciting for or taking a bribe... or if you prefer, an unearned gratuity. 
> Allegedly, as memory serves, some of the FCC staff at the time were or could be quite accommodating, if you asked nicely enough, and your informal request was reasonable enough. 
> Others were very much 'by the book' and would firmly but politely decline the request -- if they even responded at all. 
> And then there were those who, well, let's just say never turned down an opportunity to take advantage of their position, even if it was for relative pocket change. Fortunately those were very few, but there were a few. (And no, I don't get it either... losing your career, your reputation, and possibly serving jail time, for a mere pittance? Never did make sense, but still, it did happen) 
> - - - 
> In addition, if memory serves, one of the issues at the time was also related to an informal call request. If memory serves, someone requested a particular call on behalf of a club station, didn't get it, and then asked his congress-person's office to intervene. I think there was at least one such situation, there may have been more. 
> All in all, in the context of the time, it's almost no wonder that the FCC went to the current sequential call assignment system when they did, and were so recalcitrant about opening up Vanity calls under almost any circumstances, for so long. 
> 73, ron w3wn 
> On 01/10/17, kr2q at optimum.net wrote: 
> Speaking as a private citizen.... 
> RE: http://lists.contesting.com/pipermail/cq-contest/2017-January/116177.html 
> I will never understand why folks risk their career for small dollar amounts. While $100 was a 
> lot more in 1977 than now (maybe not?), still, it is a paltry sum compared to one's career. WHY? 
> No doubt, there must have been a whistle-blower. 
> ------- 
> RE: K1AR's post: http://lists.contesting.com/pipermail/cq-contest/2017-January/116140.html 
> Equally, why do guys cheat during a contest? For what? These are not a life-altering events. 
> I just can't help but think back to the recent log-padding that caused a multi-year, retro DQ and 
> a multi-year ban. WHY? Was it worth it? 
> de Doug KR2Q 
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