Call Letters Meaning on Wikipedia

Bob Nelson
Fri Jun 14 04:49:25 EDT 2019

One famed radio personality who had a ham radio license (several call signs
over the years) was Jean Shepherd (WOR; "A Christmas Story") K2ORS

--Bob Nelson

On Friday, June 14, 2019, A Joseph Ross <> wrote:

> 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 ·

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