Call Letters Meaning on Wikipedia
Thu Jun 13 23:53:56 EDT 2019
On 6/13/2019 8:41 PM, Gary's Ice Cream wrote:
> No. Ham is sequentially assigned based on the area...for example New England is usually a K with a "1", or a W with a "1"....."1" being the New England designator. Ham calls can also start with an "N" or "AA" in the U.S.
Long, long ago-- way back before Gary or I were born-- there were no N's
or AA's. The original ham calls were people's initials before 1912.
After the Radio Act of 1912, ham call letters were divided up by region
with a number at the beginning (as Gary noted, the 1 was for New
England; 2 was New York/New Jersey area, 3 was the Middle Atlantic
states, etc). A typical ham call had 2 letters, and they were assigned
sequentially. Gradually, as more hams got licensed, the government went
to 3 call letters. Thus, the late great Eunice Randall, our first
female announcer, began as ER, then in 1921, she was assigned 1 CDP. In
1927, more changes occurred, thanks to the Radio Act of 1927 (which
established the Federal Radio Commission, later the Federal
Communications Commission). That's when ham stations got the W at the
beginning of the call letters. Irving Vermilya, founder of New Bedford
radio station WNBH was originally 1-ZE, but in 1927, he became W1-ZE.
For years, you could tell if someone had been a ham for a long time
because they often kept their old 2 letter calls, except now they had
that W (or K) at the beginning. Irving Vermilya could have gotten new
call letters, but he liked his old 1ZE, and kept his chose to use his
original call letters till his untimely death in 1964. Today, hams have
more options-- including AAs and N's or they can request an old call, if
nobody else is using it.
Donna L. Halper, PhD
Associate Professor of Communication & Media Studies
Lesley University, Cambridge MA
More information about the Boston-Radio-Interest