Call Letters Meaning on Wikipedia

Bob Nelson
Thu Jun 13 16:44:53 EDT 2019

Isn't ham radio the opposite of traditional broadcast...those west of the
Mississippi start with W and those east start with K (KA1ABC for example?)

On Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 3:33 PM Rob Landry <> wrote:

> 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 =
> dahdit.
> 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.
> Rob
> 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.

More information about the Boston-Radio-Interest mailing list