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6 - Vanity Call Signs

Effective 3 September 2015, the FCC is no longer charging a fee for Vanity licenses.  The information below is provided 15 September 2015.

 

Question:  So what does this mean?

  It means there is NO FEE (as in FREE) to apply for or to renew an existing Vanity License.

  1.  If you currently have a Vanity Call Sign and it is due to be renewed (assuming you are within the 90-day renewal window), you can renew for FREE it in one of three ways:

  a.  Drop by any amateur radio license exam session, complete and sign the paperwork, show your photo ID and drop off a copy of your license.

 (1)  The Team Leader will forward your paperwork to the appropriate authority who will upload it to the FCC ULS data base.

(2)  If the exam session is coordinated by the Laurel VEC, you won’t have to pay a fee and your renewal application will usually be uploaded to the FCC ULS data base the first business day following the session. 

Note:  Weekends and Federal holidays are not business days.

  b.  Go to the FCC's ULS website (http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/index.htm?job=home) and log-in (On-Line Filing) and renew your license on-line. Just follow the prompts.  It will take about 5 minutes or less to renew your license and it’s free.

  c.  Download the FCCs Form 605, which is used to renew licenses, apply for a Vanity Call Sign (along with Schedule D) and reinstate an expired but not cancelled license. 

  (1)  FCC Form 605 can be downloaded here: https://transition.fcc.gov/Forms/Form605/605main.pdf  

  (2)  Instructions for completing the FCC Form 605 can be found here:  http://www.arrl.org/605-instructions      

  (3)  Complete and sign the form and mail it to the FCC at their Gettysburg address. 

  Note: It’s free (except for the cost of postage and an envelope

Note:  Because you are using the US Postal Service it will take 3-5 days (or longer) for your application to be received and processed.

  2.  If you want to apply for a Vanity Call Sign there  are only two options available for you and both are FREE

  a.  Go to the FCC’s ULS website (http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/index.htm?job=home) and log-in (On-Line Filing).  Just follow the prompts.  It will take about 7-8 minutes to complete your application.

  b.  Download the FCC’s Form 605, which is used to renew licenses, apply for a Vanity Call Sign (along with Schedule D) and reinstate an expired but not cancelled license. 

  (1)  FCC Form 605 (With instructions) can be download here: https://transition.fcc.gov/Forms/Form605/605main.pdf  

  (2)  Additional instructions for completing FCC Form 605 can be found here:  http://www.arrl.org/605-instructions       

  (3)  FCC Form 605, Schedule D (With instructions) can be downloaded here:  https://transition.fcc.gov/Forms/Form605/605d.pdf

  (4)  Complete and sign the form(s) as required and mail them to the FCC at the address shown below:. 

  Federal Communications Commission

1280 Fairfield Road

Gettysburg, PA 17325

  Note:  Because you are using the US Postal Service it will take 3-5 days (or longer) for your application to be received and processed.

  Question:  That seems pretty straight forward.  What else do I need to know about Vanity Call Signs?

  1.  There are eligibility criteria.

  a.  These are specific criteria which can give you a “leg up” on your application for an available Vanity Call Sign if you meet that criteria.

  (1)  Former primary station holder - You are eligible to have a previously granted call sign as your new vanity license if you are a former primary station holder and it is not already reassigned.

  (2)  Close relative of the former license holder – You are eligible to have a call sign previously granted to a close relative and that relative is deceased.  This means you can get an available Vanity Call Sign of a deceased spouse, child, grandchild, stepchild, parent, grandparent, stepparent, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or in-law on your primary station license. 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.

  b.  Primary station preference list - You may request one or more call signs that you provide in the correct Commission format in the order of your preference. ULS will validate the format of each call sign on your list in turn and select the first call sign in the correct format which is not already assigned to another licensee. 

  (1)  This is the most common method used  when applying for a Vanity Call Sign.

  (2)  You can list up to 25 call signs in priority order on FCC Form 605, Schedule D

  (3)  You may apply for a Vanity Call Sign from the call sign group associated with your current license or a lesser group.

  (a)  Group D – Novice Class licenses.  A 2 x 3 format (e.g., WN4FUI, KA2JUQ, KB3ATI, etc.).  While Novice licenses are no longer issued, licensees with a valid Novice license can apply for a Vanity Call Sign only from this group as well as the holder of any other class of license.

  (b)  Group C – Technician and General Class licenses.  A 1 x 3 format (e.g., N2XYZ, K7ZRQ, etc.).  While call signs from this group are no longer available to be systematically granted, newly licensed hams with a Technician or General license are granted a 2 x 3 formatted call sign. Call signs from this group are available as a Vanity Call Sign to anyone who holds a Technician class license and above.

  (c)  Group B – Advanced Class licenses.  A 2 x 2 formatted call sign that does not start with the letter A (e.g., KK0MY,WW3ZZ, KI3DS, etc.).  While Advanced class licenses are no longer granted, licensees with an Advanced class or Amateur Extra class license may apply for a Vanity Call Sign from this group. 

  Note:  In the 4th call region, all of the Group A call signs have been exhausted and so all systematic call sign grants for an Amateur Extra class license come from Group B.

(d)  Group A – Amateur Extra Class licenses.  There are three formats for this class of license -  1 x 2 ( e.g., N3MB, K8JW, etc.); 2 x 1 (WR3Q, KJ2F, etc.); and 2 x 2 starting with AA through AL (e.g., AA3RR, AC2WM, etc.).  Call signs in this group are available only to those licensees with an Amateur Extra Class license.

  Bottom Line:  You cannot receive a vanity call sign from a call sign group for which your operator class is not eligible. For example, if you are operator class T (technician), you can only receive call signs from groups C & D. If you request a call sign from groups A or B, your application will be dismissed by the Commission.

  c.  For certain call signs you must have a mailing address in a specific location in order to be granted one of those call signs.  These areas include but are not limited to the following

  (1)  Hawaii and specific Pacific islands (e.g., Call sign prefixes that begin with AH, KH, NH, and WH)

  (2)  Alaska (e.g. Call sign prefixes that begin with AL, KL, NL, and WL)

  (3)  Puerto Rico and specific Caribbean islands (e.g., Call sign prefixes that begin with KP, NP, and WP)

  (4)  Antarctica - The FCC reserves call letters in the block KC4AAA to KC4AAF for the National Science Foundation's use at the South Pole

  (5)  Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (e.g., 2 x 2 formatted call signs whose prefix begins with KG4). 

  Note:  KG4 call signs are granted by the US Navy,

  d.  The following call signs are not available for assignment:

  (1)  KA2AA-KA9ZZ, KC4AAA-KC4AAF, KC4USA-KC4USZ, KG4AA-KG4ZZ, KC6AA-KC6ZZ, KL9KAA- KL9KHZ, KX6AA-KX6ZZ;

Note:  Except as noted above)

(2)  Any call sign having the letters SOS or QRA-QUZ as the suffix;

(3)  Any call sign having the letters AM-AZ as the prefix (these prefixes are assigned to other countries by the ITU);

(4)  Any 2-by-3 format call sign having the letter X as the first letter of the suffix;

(5)  Any 2-by-3 format call sign having the letters AF, KF, NF, or WF as the prefix and the letters EMA as the suffix (U.S Government FEMA stations);

(6)  Any 2-by-3 format call sign having the letters AA-AL as the prefix;

(7)  Any 2-by-3 format call sign having the letters NA-NZ as the prefix;

(8)  Any 2-by-3 format call sign having the letters WC, WK, WM, WR, or WT as the prefix (Group X call signs);

(9)  Any 2-by-3 format call sign having the letters KP, NP or WP as the prefix and the numeral 0, 6, 7, 8 or 9;

(10)  Any 2-by-2 format call sign having the letters KP, NP or WP as the prefix and the numeral 0, 6, 7, 8 or 9;

(11)  Any 2-by-1 format call sign having the letters KP, NP or WP as the prefix and the numeral 0, 6, 7, 8 or 9;

(12)  Call signs having the single letter prefix (K, N or W), a single digit numeral 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and a single letter suffix are reserved for the special event call sign system.

  Question:  How long does it take for the FCC to grant me my Vanity Call Sign?

  Typically it takes 18 calendar days for a vanity application to be processed and granted after receipt of the application.

  Question:  Why 18 days?

  1.  In the past the FCC

  a.  Since not everyone filed on-line, the FCC allowed 10 days to pass so that Vanity applications received by mail and on-line could compete fairly for the same requested call sign.

  (1)  The FCC to reviewed all applications for eligibility, confirm priority status for prior holders, deceased family members, etc.

  (2)  Ensure the applicants did not owe the FCC any money

  b.  An additional 7 days were allowed to pass to that the then-required fee could be paid.

  c.  On the 18th day, a vanity call sign was granted

 2.  Even with the deletion of the fee for a vanity license, the FCC expects the processing time

  Question:  This all great information but where can I get additional information?

  1.  Visit www.ae7q.com for great up-to-the-minute information, guidance and tips.

  2.  Visit http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/index.htm?job=call_signs_3&id=amateur&page=1 for more information but please note that the FCC has not update all of their pages concerning fee-based vanity license.  Please keep in mind that where there is any discussion regarding fees for vanity licenses, it is old information.