Call Letters Meaning on Wikipedia

Bob DeMattia
Fri Jun 14 08:19:28 EDT 2019

Just like commericial like the commercial callsigns WBZ, WGY, WLS,
many amateur callsigns of today still have the 1920's callsign system
University stations like MIT (W1XM),  WPI (W1YK),  and Yale (W1YU),
began as 1XM, 1YK, and 1YU respectively.


On Fri, Jun 14, 2019 at 12:31 AM 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.
> --
> Donna L. Halper, PhD
> Associate Professor of Communication & Media Studies
> Lesley University, Cambridge MA

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