Choosing Your Ham Radio Call Sign

How to create your own Amatuer Radio Call Sign.

For Ham Radio applicants who do not have a call sign or the call sign expired, one will be assigned to you using the sequential call sign system. It is generated using the region live in, the operating class (novice, general, etc) and mailing address of the applicant. Each operating class has a one or two-letter prefix based on the region of the mailing address and each region has a number assigned to it. This would make up the first two or three characters of the call sign. The last characters of the call sign can contain two or three characters.

For example, if you are just starting out and are applying for your Novice license and you live in Idaho, then your call sign could begin: K7 or W7. Idaho's region is 7 and K and W are the letters assigned to a Novice in region 7. There would be three letters in the suffix.

Before you can apply for a vanity call sign, or one that you choose, you need to have a valid operator license. To choose a call sign you need to know the following information:

1) Your operating class: Novice, Technician, Expert, etc

2) Your region number (assigned by state)

For each operating class you will be required to adhere to the prefix letter(s) and number(s) assigned to the region you are in. Also, for operating classes above Novice, the letter(s) can be chosen from the operating class you are in as well as those below you. If you are an Advanced Class, then you can choose from the Advanced, General, and Novice classes for the prefix letters, the number will always be the region you are in.

Once you create the prefix under the region guidelines, you can then create the suffix using two or three (depending on your region guidelines) letters. From here you will need to create a list of 25 call signs you would like. The calls signs you list must not already be issued to another operator and cannot have been used within the past two years. Be sure to check your list against the Universal Licensing System's database to make sure the signs you are requesting are available. Once your list is submitted they will start with your first created call sign and work down the list until one of them is available to be assigned; it may be the first on your list or it may be the twentieth, it all depends on availability and verifying the call sign is correct for the region you are in.

Also, the list of call signs must be just that, a list of call signs. You cannot request with only a prefix created and suffix left for a random selection or request only the suffix leaving the prefix for random. If you request in that manner, then nothing will come of it and you will need to request again, with a list of 25 call signs.

Refer to the complete listing of regions, prefixes, and application rules on the Federal Communications Commission website or ask an Amateur Ham Operator or Club for assistance.

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