Call Letters Meaning on Wikipedia

A Joseph Ross
Fri Jun 14 01:10:55 EDT 2019

Wow, that's interesting. I was just wondering why some old callsigns 
began with numbers.  So that's why!

On 6/13/2019 11:53 PM, Donna Halper wrote:
> 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.

A. Joseph Ross, J.D. · 1340 Centre Street, Suite 103 · Newton, MA 02459
617.367.0468 · Fax:617.507.7856 ·

More information about the Boston-Radio-Interest mailing list