Vanity Call Signs
For your primary station, you may request a call sign that was previously assigned to the primary, secondary, repeater, auxiliary link, control or space station of your now-deceased spouse, child, grandchild, stepchild, parent, grandparent, stepparent, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or in-law. An "in-law" is limited to a parent, stepparent, sibling, or step-sibling of a licensee's spouse; the spouse of a licensee's sibling, step-sibling, child, or stepchild; or the spouse of a licensee’s spouse’s sibling or step-sibling. When so requesting for your primary station:
- You may request the former call sign of a close relative now deceased even though it has been unassigned for less than two years. Upon the death of the holder, a call sign is assignable immediately to an otherwise eligible primary station of a close relative once it has been cancelled from the database.
- You must be an Amateur Extra Class operator to request a Group A call sign.
- You must be an Amateur Extra or Advanced Class operator to request a Group B call sign.
- You must be an Amateur Extra, Advanced, General, Technician Plus, or Technician Class operator to request a Group C call sign.
- You must be an Amateur Extra, Advanced, General, Technician Plus, Technician or Novice class operator to request a Group D call sign.
- Your mailing address does not have to be in a Region designated in the sequential system for the call sign requested. A call sign requested by a close relative of former holder now deceased may be in any Region.
- You must show your relationship to the deceased person exactly as listed in the instruction, i.e., "child", "niece" or "in-law".
Q: My father intends to request his former call sign under the former holder provision. The Group C call sign he will be vacating was once held by my uncle, now deceased. As a Technician, am I eligible to request my father's vacated call sign (once my uncle's) immediately?
Q: My grandfather, now deceased, held a Group A call sign although he was an Advanced Class operator. I am also an Advanced Class operator. May I request his former call sign under the close relative of former holder now deceased provision?
A. No, not unless you upgrade to Amateur Extra Class. For a Group A call sign, you must hold an Amateur Extra Class operator license. Unlike the former holder provision, under close relative of former holder now deceased provision, you must have the proper class of operator license for the group in which the call sign you are requesting corresponds.
Q: Many years ago, my deceased grandfather's station's call sign had only a number as the prefix (for example, "3BE"). Can I request that call sign?
A. No. Call signs having only a number in the prefix are no longer assignable to amateur station in the United States. FCC-licensed stations have as the prefix the number 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 preceded by the single letters K, N or W or by double letters AA-AL, KA-KZ, NA-NZ and WA-WZ.
Q: Some of those old call signs had the prefix "W" added at a later date (for example: "W3BE"). Am I eligible for that call sign under the former holder provision?
Q: I've held my call sign for over 50 years, and I can't bear the thought of it going to some new ham. Is there some way I can have it retired?
A. All persons holding the required class of operator license who are your close relatives, or another former holder of your call sign, or close relatives of another former holder now deceased, will be eligible to apply. None of these eligible persons will have filing priority over another.
Q: I do not want to give up my present call sign. But the family doesn't want my deceased father's call sign to be assigned to anyone else. Can we have it set aside or retired?
A. You may apply for it two years or more after his death under the request-by-list provision, provided it was not assigned to another station under the former holder, close relative of former holder now deceased or in-memoriam provisions.
Q: Is there some way that I can get a vanity call sign for my primary station and my son can get my current Group A call sign for his primary station?
A. Possibly under the request-by-list provision. When you obtain a new call sign, you vacate your present call sign. Although it does not become assignable under the request-by-list provision for two years, there may be other former holders of that call sign, in which case, it becomes assignable to them and to certain clubs under the other provisions when the license status is changed to expired or cancelled on the database. If you die before the end of the two years, however, your close relatives and your club also become eligible to apply for it when the license status is changed to expired or cancelled on the database.