website design software
Call Signs

Every licensed Ham is given a distinctive call sign. This call sign is used to identify you and your license location. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) governs the range of call signs each country gets.

Prefix and Suffix                                                                                                                                All call signs include a prefix and suffix of some type.                                                                           The prefix identifies the country of the Ham, and usually consists one or two letters and a number, such a VE9 for Canada and KD0 for the US,                                                                                             Some countries only have a number and letter, such as 3A for Monaco or E4 for Palestine.                 We have included a table of international call sign prefixes for reference.                                                 The suffix on the other hand is unique to the individual.  It may consist of one to three letters.               Also the amount of characters in your call sign can stand for your license class, how ever not always the case. KG0DX a two x two call sign, is an extra class. While KD0JZI which is a two by three is a general class in the US. Or W1L is a special call sign.

Using Phonetics                                                                                                                      Generally Hams use the phonetics alphabet when giving their call sign.This helps others to clearly understand the call sign and is especially important under poor band conditions. Such as when we use KD0JZI, some may mistake the letter Z for C, D, E, B, and so on since they closely sound the same. So we would say Kilo Delta Zero Juliet Zulu India for clarification.    Here’s a list of the accepted phonetics in ham radio.......                                                        The Phonetic Alphabet

Alpha
Bravo
Charlie
Delta
Echo
Foxtrot
Golf
Hotel
India
Juliet
Kilo
Lima
Mike

November
Oscar
Papa
Quebec
Romeo
Sierra
Tango
Uniform
Victor
Whiskey
X-ray
Yankee
Zulu / Zed

Sometimes you may here a station like KM1DTD as K M 1 Doing The Dishes. This is acceptable amongst some nets and friends, however when doing emergency nets, or making a first time contact, we advise against this.

Call Areas                                                                                                                                             In North America the number in the call sign usually refers to a general location in that country. In the US the number may be shared amongst states, such as the 1 in WX1XW could stand for Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. In Canada the number usually only represents a single province.                                                                                                                      Other countries follow a similar practice so you can have states in Brazil and Prefectures in Japan

US Prefixes                                                                                                                                            The following chart lists US prefixes. These consist of a single letter or two letters in the prefix. To make thing even more fun, if a Ham moves he can keep his call sign. So if you here KD0JZI that doesn’t mean it’s from the Minnesota anymore, he could live in Alaska now.                                                                 

Call Sign Prefix

State

W0

Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota

W1

Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

W2

New Jersey, New York

W3

Delaware, D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania

W4

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia

W5

Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas

W6

California

W7

Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Wyoming

W8

Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia

W9

Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin

AL0-7, KL0-7,
NL0-7, WL0-7

Alaska

AH6-7, KH6-7,NH6-7,    WH6-7

Hawaii

Additional prefixes

 

A, AA - AK K, KA - KK
KM - KW
KX - KZ
N, NA - NK
NM - NW
NX - NZ
WA - WK
WM - WO
WQ - WW
WX - WZ

Canadian Prefixes                                                                                                                                The following is Canadian prefixes. Note that they all contain two letters followed by one number               

Call Sign Prefix

Province or Territory

CY0

Sable Is

CY9

St-Paul Is

VA1, VE1

New Brunswick, Nova Scotia

VA2, VE2

Quebec

VA3, VE3

Ontario

VA4, VE4

Manitoba

VA5, VE5

Saskatchewan

VA6, VE6

Alberta

VA7, VE7

British Columbia

VE8

North West Territories

VE9

New Brunswick

VO1

Newfoundland

VO2

Labrador

VY0

Nunavut

VY1

Yukon

VY2

Prince Edward Island

International Call Signs                                                                                                                       For other call signs see the international call sign list

Special Call Signs                                                                                                                                 Many countries allow a station to apply for a special call sign to commemorate a special event. These stations usually have a unique or unusual call sign for easy identification. For example W0L is used by the St Louis Radio Club to celebrate Charles Lindbergh’s Trans-Atlantic Flight. Many times these special stations also offer a special QSL card to those that make contact with them.                                               Also another special call sign may be a “vanity call’. In the US the FCC allows one to apply for a a vanity sign. These may be special to someone. In example WX1MLK may be the initial’s of the person Matt Larry King, or VE3PAM, could be applied for by Pam; for obvious reason. Now just because you see, N5BOB, that doesn’t mean the persons name is Bob, or it’s a vanity.                                                  One could also try to come up with a call sign that is easy to them, or was a friend’s that passed away and so on.                                                                                                                                                     Also clubs can apply for a license, such as the Runestone Radio Club in  Alexandria, Minnesota is known as W0ALX

Portable, Mobile, Short Time                                                                                                         Some times you may hear” KC0TAF mobile”. This simple means the station is mobile, as in driving down the highway in their car.

 Or you hear” KD8NJZ short time,” while your on a net. This could mean the person is on lunch break and needs to get back quickly, so a net control operator would let them speak first.                                      

Then again there is also the portable call sign as in KG0DX/K0 (KG0DX portable KO) which means he’ in New York traveling. Or you may hear PY3RK/BG7, although he’s from Brazil, he was traveling abroad in China.                                                                                                                                     Like said earlier in the US a Ham that has moved can still use their original call sign. So is KB1WAC has moved to California, he could radio KB1WAC or KB1WAC/6.                                                              It’s customary in most parts of the world for the portable to come before the call sign, such as “3Z portable VE2QSL”   However either is acceptable.                                                                                 A little confusing, but once you hear it a couple times on the air, you’ll get the hang of it.                           Some others you may hear are: Air meaning he’s on a plane, bike, ship, and so on.  Some use them during special event or to say they made a contact from that location, and may also issue a special QSL for such.

[Home] [About The Station] [Station Log] [Pictures] [Storm Chasing] [Ham Radio 101] [What is Amateur Radio] [What Hams Do] [How to Become a Ham] [Call Signs] [The Bands] [Operating Basics] [QSL's] [Propagation] [Modes] [Activities] [Your First Radio] [Dictionary] [Become a Ham] [Recomended Links] [Shack Tools] [Echolink Status] [APRS Status] [Ham Radio Gifts]

 

free counters
Free counters 

COPYRIGHT 2012 KD0JZI ALL RIGHTS RESERVED