Ted’s essays


Amateur radio call signs, also known as station identification, are issued by the FCC to all amateur radio stations much like commercial broadcasters.

There is a specialized protocol and pattern for the stations. The first license issued to an amateur has two alpha characters, their region number 0 through 9 followed by another three alphas. They come out sequentially as each new license is issued.

Once licensed, operators can submit requests for a call sign change (aka: vanity call sign). The pattern is specific which limits creativity as well as selection.

Achieving the highest license level (Amateur Extra) allows for a shorter call sign though still very specific and limited in number/letter pattern.

In honor of getting there, I submitted my request for one that struck my fancy. Of fifteen requests on the first day this one became available (retired two years and one day prior), mine won the lottery. My station license has just switched from the sequentially issued KF7ZEC that I had for a decade to K9GT.

Though not nearly as much as twenty years ago, hams do still exchange QSL Cards with stations they contact. I never entered that game with my old call… but this new one is a dog of a different color.

This image I painted today to make my QSL Card captures a major reason WHY this call sign appealed to me.

Making contacts over radio waves often passes through sub-optimal atmospheric conditions causing loss in clarity of voice communications. Station identifiers are often repeated to clarify, then spelled out phonetically if that doesn’t work.

K9GT is not only shorter, but also more clear than KF7ZEC was. Better still, if I do have to repeat it phonetically, it is as short as any out there.

Compare saying the twelve sylable:
“Kilo Foxtrot Seven Zulu Echo Charley”
……………… to ……………..
“Kilo Nine Golf Tango”
Six sylables total.



P.S. The best tool for seeking out a new Amateur Extra call is http://www.ae7q.com/query/