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Author Topic: What's Your Callsign History  (Read 23345 times)
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W1RKW
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« on: April 13, 2007, 03:53:35 PM »

I posted a note on the forum about a callsign I was curious about in another thread.  The callsign was WB2KCR.  My post was if anyone knew this AM'er.  I'm assuming this person was an AM'er because I have a schematic of an AM rig with his callsign penciled on it. 

This got me to thinking about the history of callsigns in general.  Some of us have callsigns that go back years and some of us have old looking in callsigns that are not old because of the vanity callsign system. I fall into the vanity call category 

I'm curious to know and I'm sure there are others that might be intrigued by the history of others callsigns and callsigns one has held over the years just as I.

I know there are some AM'ers here that have had a license for over 20 or 30 years and there are some who are newbies too.  What's the history of your callsign or callsigns you've had?  Let us know whether you've been licensed for 1000 years or 1 month.

I'll start off.  I was first licensed as KA1IHQ back in 1982.  I hated the call I was assigned and as soon as I upgraded to Technician I had the call changed to N1EBA.  I wasn't sure which one was better but when I was first licensed I always wished to have a "W" callsign.  When vanity licensing took place I debated with myself whether to change my "N" call or keep it.  It took several years to come to the final decision which is what I have now, W1RKW.  N1EBA was great for CW but on phone it was a PITA.  KA1IHQ was a PITA on CW but never knew on phone as I didn't have phone privileges then.

I've often wondered who held my current call but never really researched the history of the call.  I often wonder at times. I did a quick search on the I'net but couldn't turn up anything.  I don't have any old callbooks to find who held this previous to me. Maybe someone can send some info.

What's your callsign history?

PS. You don't necessarily have to be an AM'er to answer this question
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Bob
W1RKW
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His fear was when I turned it on for the first time the
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AB1GX
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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2007, 04:05:33 PM »

I wish I had a call sign like K1KW (also great for a license plate on a classic car), but you have to wait a long time for those guys to die before the call sign becomes available.

My call, "AB1GX" means "Newbie".
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W9GT
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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2007, 04:35:35 PM »

Well, it is certain that we can't take our callsigns with us when we head to that great hamshack in the sky.

This is an interesting topic of discussion, and I think it is a worthwhile exercise to do a little research and find out a little about the history of our calls.  We might also do well to have a little respect and appreciation for those who came to ham radio before us, and those who might have previously held our callsigns.

I have been a ham for 48 yrs or so, but I certainly am not old enough to be the original holder of a W9 by 2 call!

I started out as a 14 yr old Novice in 1959 with the call KN9UBF, then upon upgrading to General class....became K9UBF.  I held that call until 1977, when I became the original holder of N9GT.  After 22 years and a overall shift in my interests to classic and vintage radio and AM, I thought it would be appropriate to obtain the "W" prefix so I applied for W9GT when it became available in 1999.

I have attempted to do a little research in old callbooks and other sources about the history of W9GT.  I learned that the call was probably first issued in the 'teens as '9GT.  It then became W9GT during the twenties.  The gentleman that held the call from the late twenties through the early 40's was in Chicago and then moved to the Upper peninsula of Michigan, which at that time was in the ninth call area.  After that...the call was dormant for many years and was reissued in about '77 to another gentleman in Illinois who was a somewhat prominent 160M operator as well as a DXer.  Apparently that fellow did not renew his license in the mid ninties and subsequently became a silent key.  The call was again dormant until it was issued to me in 1999. 

I certainly appreciate the privilege of holding a classic two letter "W" call sign with a long history.....perhaps after I'm gone it will again be passed on to another operator.  I just hope that I can show respect for the previous holders of W9GT by continuing the tradition of ham radio at its greatest!

73,  Jack, W9GT
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73, Jack, W9GT
W2XR
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« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2007, 04:58:29 PM »

I've been a licensed radio amateur since 1970, receiving my Novice call WN2OGS in March of that year at the age of 16, while a Junior in high school. In May of 1970, I upgraded to General Class and became WA2OGS, and in January of 1972, I received my Advanced Class license as well as my First Class Radiotelephone Operators License. Later, I obtained my Amateur Extra Class license.

I selected the call W2XR for historical reasons. It was first assigned back in 1929 to an experimental station operated by the late John V.L. Hogan for purposes ultimately of transmitting facsimile images and high-fidelity audio in the AM broadcast band. Hogan was a well-known electrical engineer who had worked closely with Lee de Forest and Major Edwin H. Armstrong in advancing the radio art, and W2XR became the first station on the AM broadcast band to transmit true wide-band high-fidelity audio. In 1936, W2XR became commercial broadcast station WQXR, the Radio Station of the New York Times, and WQXR was and is still reknowned for it's superb technical quality. At that time, the call W2XR was removed from circulation, and was not reissued until the late 1970s, when the "X" series of call sign suffixes first became available to the amateur service. For more information on the history of the original W2XR, you can Google W2XR; I believe that you will find this to be interesting reading

The previous holder of the call, the late John Seaver, was probably the first amateur holder of the call since it had been reissued sometime in the late 1970s. John had passed away back in July of 2002, and it seems the call was forgotten about after his passing. I petitioned the Commission to cancel the license based upon his death, which they did, and then the call became immediately available. I applied for the call W2XR in August of 2006, and fortunately for me, there were no other applications, and I became the new holder of W2XR on Sept, 1, 2006.

73,

Bruce
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« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2007, 05:50:25 PM »

And Bruce, you now know what the back of John's head looked like back in the late 70's.



* radio club seaver2.jpg (32.2 KB, 361x316 - viewed 222 times.)
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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2007, 06:00:22 PM »

Original W1RKW

Harold Z. Valois
POB 214
Seymour, CT 06483
Advanced 1/4/85
Born 11/20/1907
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W2XR
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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2007, 06:03:58 PM »

Hi Pete,

Yes, I have that photo of John Seaver here; you had sent it to me a number of months ago. I recall that you had worked with him at Bell Labs back in the 1970s.

Thanks, anyway!

73,

Bruce
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W1RKW
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2007, 06:11:42 PM »

Here's what Doug, K2JJ sent me regarding my call;  I have a few old callbooks here and did a little research on your call. I saw your posting on the AM Forum. From 1948 to 1995 W1RKW was held by a fellow named Harold Valois who lived in both Beacon Falls and Seymour CT. during this time period.  The government did not start issuing W prefixes until 1928 so previously there could have been a 1RKW. I don't have any books previous to 1948 except a few that go back to the teens and twenties nor anything post 1995 so he could have held it longer. Well that accounts for 47 years of W1RKW anyway. 

Thanks for the lookup Doug
Bob
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Bob
W1RKW
Home of GORT. A buddy of mine named the 813 rig GORT.
His fear was when I turned it on for the first time the
 earth would come to a stand still.
k4kyv
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2007, 06:15:16 PM »

Wonder if there are still any original holders of W prefix 1 X 2's still around?  It had to be no later than the early 30's when the FCC stopped issuing them.  Many callsigns issued even in the early 20's were  already 1X3's.  I'm not sure any 1X2's were issued as late as 1930.

I can recall when there were still quite a few original holders of 1X2's on the air.  After WW2, the FCC began to re-issue the calls, but only to hams who could document that they once held an original 1 X 2.  In some districts they ran out of the W prefix, so began to issue 1X2's with K prefix.  You could not request a particular call, but had to accept whatever random assignment the FCC gave you.

And thus the slippery slope begins:

Sometime in the late 60's or early 70's, as more and more original holders went SK, the FCC decided to re-issue 1X2's to any Extra class  licensees who could document having a 25 year tenure (as I recall) as a licensed ham. Payment of a one-time $20 fee was required.  The idea was to maintain the 1X2 as an indicator of a licensee with many years of experience and above average expertise.  Still no choice of any specific 1X2.

But soon licensees who couldn't qualify (sound familiar?) began to petition the FCC to eliminate the 25-year  clause.  Eventually, the FCC granted the request, and in addition, agreed to assign a specific requested callsign if available.  By then the FCC had stopped collecting the $20 fee.  The callsign was available upon request to anyone with an Extra class licence.  And you didn't have to give up your original callsign.  You could order your 1X2 as a secondary station  licence, at a different mailing address.  Many licensees used their parents' or in-laws' address as their "secondary"  location.

But when the present callsign system was adopted in the mid-70's, the FCC eliminated the secondary station licence.  Those with two or more callsigns had to give up all but one, and choose which one would be renewed as their permanent call.  The FCC began to randomly re-issue the remaining 1X2's as part of the standard block of calls assigned to the Extra class format.  When all the 1X2's were used up, they reverted to the 2X1 format, and then to the alpha-alpha 2X2 format.

Eventually, the vanity callsign system went into effect, as we have it today.

With each change, the 1X2 took on less and less of a special significance, until to-day it is practically meaningless.


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WD8BIL
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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2007, 06:40:21 PM »

First licensed in '68 as WN8NQN.
Didn't upgrade and it expired. I was out chasing girls and playing football in high school at the time.
Second licensed in '73 as WN8BIL.
The 2X3 WD series was first issued in 1974 so when I upgraded to general
that's when I got this call so I'm the original WD8BIL.
Yes.... the original WD8 Bud In Lorain!
 
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Steve W8TOW
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« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2007, 06:52:49 PM »

Got a friend here in Lansing who is W8EGI....got his ticket in 1929 or so...still active at 84 ...
I looked into my own call...W8TOW was a gent from Detroit...a Mason...for real...practice
his trade by working on a BIG Catholic Cathedral in Detroit...lots of stories about him...
too bad I never been able to find more info....
73 steve
8tow (2nd)
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Always buiilding & fixing stuff. Current station is a "Old Buzzard" KW, running a pair of Taylor T-200's modulated by Taylor 203Z's; Johnson 500 / SX-101A; Globe King 400B / BC-1004; and Finally, BC-610 with SX28  CU 160m morn & 75m wkends.
73  W8TOW
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« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2007, 07:06:49 PM »

Had the same call sign since i was licensed in 1958. WA2AAE is a good call for CW, but unfortunately I don't operate that mode very often. Never considered a vanity call.

73, Harvey
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Harvey
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« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2007, 07:14:09 PM »

I think I got my first call in 82. KA3LMJ. I was in the last batch of exams to be taken at the Baltimore FCC office. They never had exams there again. I dunno exactly when i got N3DRB, except I loved it right away because it rhymed, it had a good beat, and you could dance to it. I'll never change it.
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« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2007, 07:25:22 PM »

Got my ticket in the 70s, WB1GFH. When vanity appeared, I wrote to the guy who owned W1GFH. He was a big contester from RI, and he planned to trade it in for one of those strange 2 letter calls (like A1AA). So when he bailed out, I took W1GFH.
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« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2007, 08:16:36 PM »

Here's what Doug, K2JJ sent me regarding my call;  I have a few old callbooks here and did a little research on your call. I saw your posting on the AM Forum. From 1948 to 1995 W1RKW was held by a fellow named Harold Valois who lived in both Beacon Falls and Seymour CT. during this time period.  The government did not start issuing W prefixes until 1928 so previously there could have been a 1RKW. I don't have any books previous to 1948 except a few that go back to the teens and twenties nor anything post 1995 so he could have held it longer. Well that accounts for 47 years of W1RKW anyway. 

Thanks for the lookup Doug
Bob

As I posted earlier, if this guy (Harold Valois) was still alive today, he would be 107.

I have several DOS and early Windows databases that allows me to look back into early call sign listings.
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WA1GFZ
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« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2007, 08:27:51 PM »

WN1GFZ till '67 then WA1GFZ......it ain't pretty
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Carl WA1KPD
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« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2007, 08:34:36 PM »

WN1KPD in Novemebr 1968


WA1KPD since 1969..... Took the test in the Boston Customs house (now a Marriott vacation hotel)



I took the general /advanced on a warm October day and the windows were open while they drove foundation piles right next door. The original design was a Greek temple, with columns on all sides, and a domed roof. Before land reclamation was done in the mid-1800s, Boston's waterfront extended to this building. The Custom House was built at the end of the City docks to allow inspection of cargo. The tower was built as an addition to this existing base between 1913 and 1915 Boston at that time had a 125 ft height restriction but since the Custom House was federally owned it was not subject to these restrictions Until the 1960s Boston would not allow a building taller then the Customs house to be built.


I considered W1CHN or W1KPD from time to time, but by now a WA1 call is pretty authentic so I think I will keep it into my buzzardly days.

For extra points does any 1 lander remember what floor the exams were on? I think it was the 8th.
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« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2007, 08:50:20 PM »

I obtained my first call, KA2FFS, on April 15th, 1979 at the tender age of 14.

I held the call for about 19 years and decided to apply for an "Advanced" call.  The FCC issued me KG2MY.  UGH!  I hated it, but I lived with it.

Seven years later, I decided enough was enough, and I applied for W2WAS.  I wanted the call since I was always a big fan of the original W2WAS, Joe Lambias.
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73, Tony W2WAS
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« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2007, 09:09:46 PM »

Yup I also did the customs house under the watchful eyes of Sarno.
I did get my second phone in S.F. while visiting friends

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« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2007, 09:36:04 PM »


For extra points does any 1 lander remember what floor the exams were on? I think it was the 8th.


It was one of the upper floors. High enough to be scary. The windows were huge old casement style with no screens - nothing between you and oblivion -  and were thrown WIDE open in winter due to the old steam-radiator heat on that floor.
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Carl WA1KPD
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« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2007, 09:46:47 PM »



It was one of the upper floors. High enough to be scary. The windows were huge old casement style with no screens - nothing between you and oblivion -  and were thrown WIDE open in winter due to the old steam-radiator heat on that floor.
[/quote]
At my tender age, I was sure they would toss  those who did not pass the code out those windows. And yes they were open during my test
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W1TAV
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« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2007, 10:40:40 PM »

Well I held the call WA1ZUF from 1975-2006. My uncle and I took our exames at the same time and he recived WA1ZUG. My Dad, W1TAV referred to us as “ZUF” & “ZUG.”

When WA1ZUG went SK, in 2005, the novelty of having a consecutive call went away.  So 19 years after my Dad went SK, I took his call. W1TAV.

One interesting item was while going though some of my Dad’s stuff, I found the etched steel and wood block engraving he used for his QSL cards back in the 50’s. Because there was no personal information on the front of the QSL, I have used it for my own cards.  I also have his original license; he was first holder of W1TAV issued in JUNE of 1950.

Steve W1TAV
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Steve - W1TAV
K9ACT
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« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2007, 01:02:53 AM »

1955 Kn9ACT
1956 K9ACT
let it expire
1983 N9GHV
1983 NR9Q
2006 decided old was better than ego so I applied and got K9ACT back.

Jack K9ACT Marengo Il 

The Noon Time Forum 3875, weekdays at Noon of course, AM of course.

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w3jn
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« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2007, 08:18:53 AM »

WN0POZ April '75  WORST frigging call EVER - phone or CW.
WB0POZ when I upgraded to Tech circa 1976-77
Upgraded to Extra circa 1980-82?  Can't remember but it was at the downtown St. Paul, MN FECES office.

W3JN 1999.  I had no idea of the significance of "JN" in the AM community.  When I first met Timmy and introducedmyself at the Timonium Hamfest I though he was gonna die laughing  Grin

I have an old QSL card from the 1950's from the original W3JN.  I'm at the lake QTH now so I don't have it handy, but it was a fellow in the Philly area.  Harry something-or-other.
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« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2007, 09:12:25 AM »

I was KN3EZS for 6 months in 1958, then K3EZS in 1958.   I was determined to keep the call after getting the Extra when forced to,  but when they downgraded the call sign system I got K3ZS a few years ago.    I picked up a 1959 Callbook at a garage sale, there are many real 1X2 calls in it.    Anyone wanting a look-up, send me an email.
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