Call Letters Meaning on Wikipedia

Rob Landry
Thu Jun 13 15:32:21 EDT 2019

My understanding is that the first call signs adssigned to radio stations 
were military, and began with A for Army and N for Navy. These stations 
were not broadcasters and used Morse code, in which A = didah and N = 

When additional call signs needed to be assigned, somone had the idea of 
adding an extra dash to the prefixes: didahdah = W, dahdidah = K. After 
the war (World War I), when the alphabet was divided among various 
countries for call sign allocation, the U.S. claimed A, N, K, and W (the 
British got G, M, V, and Z).

Today the U.S. still has N, K, W, and AA through (AL? I forget). All four 
are used for ham radio call signs, but only K and W are used for 
broadcasting stations.


On Wed, 12 Jun 2019, A. Joseph Ross wrote:

> My father thought the W stood for Washington.  When I saw that some stations' 
> call letters started with K, I asked him, and he said it stood for 
> California.

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