Ham Radio Vanity Callsign Quest

Amateur Callsign Regions

Image: Amateur Radio Callsign Regions - Click to enlarge.

Since we have escaped from California and now live in the 7th call area (the free state of Arizona), I am trying to dump the 2×1 6th area (California) callsign in favor of a K/N/W7×2 vanity call. As of today, I’m 0 for 19 tries with one vanity application still pending. I am hoping to have a new 7th area callsign by the end of 2018.

This post is actually a continuation of a series started on the Minstrel a while back. Those posts are currently inaccessible via HTTP but somewhat accessible to me via FTP. More on that as things progress.

The process of getting a Vanity Callsign is fairly simple. You apply for an account sign-in on the FCC ULS (Universal Licensing System) and apply for your vanity callsign there. A couple of sources to see what calls are available are Radio QTH Vanity Calls and AE7Q Query Tools. Either of these sites provide which calls are available and much more.

The competition is quite intense when applying for these popular callsigns, hence the lack of success as mentioned in the first paragraph. I have seen the odds vary from 68:1 down to 4:1 over the nineteen unsuccessful tries. The probability for success of my current application for W7EC is 5.56% with seventeen other competitors. All applications received for a given vanity call are electronically tossed into a hat and a random winner selected.

I will post updates to this effort as time progresses. Wish me luck.


  1. drjim said,

    October 20, 2018 @ 12:05:29

    Good luck!

    I’m one of those Old Skool Hams who thinks that your call should reflect where you live. My current call, but with a Zero instead of a Six, shows as available.

    Should I??

  2. drjim said,

    October 20, 2018 @ 12:54:26

    Just went ahead and applied for the change from a “6″ to a “0″!

  3. CapnBob said,

    October 20, 2018 @ 14:27:24

    Thanks for the luck wishes, DrJim.

    In about nineteen days or so, you may now stop signing “Stroke Zero,” Congratulations!

  4. drjim said,

    October 20, 2018 @ 15:03:47

    I hope we both get the call we requested.

    ALL of the resources you listed show the call as “available”, and since it’s nothing fancy or a 1×2, I’m hoping I get it.

    When I received my current call after I passed the Advanced class test, I had people who thought I was on some exotic island because of the prefix!

    Just aren’t many 2×2 calls out there since they eliminated the Advanced Class……

  5. CapnBob said,

    October 20, 2018 @ 15:10:11

    When I got my call forty years ago, nobody had heard of US callsigns starting with an A, so the call was worth an extra 6db in a pileup until folks got used to them.

    Your chances are close to 100% for getting the call you requested. If you and nobody else asks for it, you get it.

  6. drjim said,

    October 20, 2018 @ 19:22:01

    When I got back into Amateur Radio in 1995, my sister asked if there was any way I could get my WA9xxx call back. I thought about it, but a 2×2 is just ‘easier’ to use than a 2×3!

  7. CapnBob said,

    October 20, 2018 @ 22:13:45

    Yep - better on CW and Phone to have a short call. 2×2 only available to Advanced and Extra licensees. Here in W7 land they are still issuing new 2×2 calls to extras. The latest as of Friday was AG7QN. In Kaliforinistan the latest extras new calls start with “AJ6′ which is another reason I want to get rid of my AJ6 call.

  8. timothy lyle kies said,

    October 21, 2018 @ 19:20:37

    I am a ham from way back in the early 70’s. I started as a novice, WN8SZG. When I finally got my next license, it was a Tech Plus. Then of course, with all the changes, I ended up getting a General ticket. Since my novice license had expired for 2 years, I re-applied to the FCC, and I was surprised when they simply issued me another novice license. No retest, nothing. But I had to have a new callsign, since things had changed. So I am now KA8KRV. You will note that it places me in the Great Lakes State of Michigan. I live right on the far west shore, half way up the mitten. I used to be very active on the novice bands when I was young, CW of course, and had built my own transmitter from an article in QST. A 25 watt rig with plug in coils and as was the regulations back then, Xtal controlled.
    Wishing you good luck with both the callsign, but even more, well done for getting out of the Rat Race State, and moving to Arizona.

  9. CapnBob said,

    October 21, 2018 @ 20:36:46

    Thanks for dropping by, Timothy. Your story sounds a lot like mine, starting out with kits and crystal controlled transmitters. I’ve been a ham since 1958 and had my original callsign for 20 years and my current callsign for 40 years when I upgraded to Extra Class in 1978.

    There’s a lot of rat-race places and we’re glad that the Good Lord guided us away from any of them.


  10. drjim said,

    October 22, 2018 @ 15:16:37

    My first Novice transmitter in 1964 was a homebrew rig running a 6CL6 oscillator driving a 6L6 power amp. Got around 15~20 Watts on a good day.

    Then my Dad bought me a DX-60 for Christmas, and I was ecstatic. Wow….a full “Novice Gallon”, and a bit more!

  11. CapnBob said,

    October 22, 2018 @ 21:18:40

    Ah yes - DX-60 with the 6146 PA. Probably got nearly 100 watts input on CW. I had a Johnson transmitter with an 807 PA, only about 50 watts, but managed to work a bunch of other folks on 7184kHz and listening with a Knight Kit super regenerative receiver that my Dad and I built together.

    Then I got a Gonset Communicator II and got stuck in the Technician Class loop on 2 meters for too many years before getting back on HF when Techs could finally get back on the novice bands. It was all uphill from there. I had my Extra Class within a year by passing a 20 wpm code test and a serious theory exam at the FCC office in Long Beach.

  12. CapnBob said,

    October 23, 2018 @ 16:32:03

    DrJim - Here’s the result of your application - Assignment!

    app results

  13. drjim said,

    October 23, 2018 @ 20:11:32


    That means I’ll get the call, correct?


    Now I can order my Colorado callsign plates and not feel like I’m sticking out with the dreaded “6″ in the call.

  14. CapnBob said,

    October 24, 2018 @ 09:50:39

    Yep you’re gonna get the call, DrJim. AE7Q’s predictions are usually quite accurate.


  15. drjim said,

    October 24, 2018 @ 12:52:10


    As soon as I get official notification and I can print a ‘reference copy’, I’ll send away for my new Colorado license plates with the call on them.

    I held off on doing that as I wasn’t sure if I was going to change my call or not.

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