[Possible Spam(mid)]-RE: FCC call sign question

Dave Doherty dave@skywaves.net
Sun Jul 15 21:57:38 EDT 2012

Early international call sign assignments are available at
http://earlyradiohistory.us/1913call.htm. Back then Germany got D for
Deutschland, and A for Allgemeine, a German word that translates roughly as
general or universal.  (G went to Great Britain.) Germany also got KAA to
KCZ, and the US got KDA to KZZ. Canada got no C calls, only VAA to VGZ. 

Obviously, things have changed a lot since then. Here's the current list:

Sometime in the 20's, the US got AA-AL. A was for Army, N was for Navy, and
W and K were for civilians. Shipboard stations used four-letter call signs
beginning with W for West-coast based vessels, and K for those that were
East-coast based, the opposite of the pattern that developed for
broadcasting. Today, shipboard stations may use four letter calls, but most
use letter and number combinations.

Modern US calls may begin with AA-AL, K, N, or W. Only K and W are used for
broadcasting. Other services, including hams, can use any of the four.

But going back almost a hundred years, shipboard stations and broadcasters
share the universe of four-letter call signs beginning with W and K.


Dave Doherty
Skywaves Consulting LLC
PO Box 4
Millbury, MA 01527-0004
202-370-6357 (DC)
650-479-2881 (fax)

-----Original Message-----
From: boston-radio-interest-bounces@tsornin.BostonRadio.org
[mailto:boston-radio-interest-bounces@tsornin.BostonRadio.org] On Behalf Of
Kevin Vahey
Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2012 2:08 AM
To: Boston Radio Group
Subject: FCC call sign question

In playing with the FCC call sign database I discovered that call letters
near and dear to Donna (WCAS) now belong to the Coast Guard. Same applies to

So how exactly does that work as far as Coast Guard ownership?


More information about the Boston-Radio-Interest mailing list