FCC Corrects Call Sign Error
In October 2006, Peter Birk (formerly WB2DCG) of Virginia Beach, Virginia, applied for a vanity call sign, K4ZL, under the FCC's Vanity Call Sign Program. This call sign was previously held by Elmer B. Jackson, Jr of Lavergne, Tennessee. Jackson held this call sign since before 1978; it was set to expire June 11, 2008. In October 2006, the Commission received notification that Jackson had passed away February 14, 2004, so the FCC canceled his license as of this date. More than two years after the date of Jackson's death, Birk applied for and received K4ZL.
Per FCC rules pertaining to vanity call signs, certain family members and previous holders of the call sign are eligible to receive the dead person's call sign; after the two year period, the call sign is open for anyone to acquire it under the vanity call sign program.
In June 2008, Jackson notified the FCC that he was still very much alive and that he wished to renew his license. According to the FCC, based upon information they had received, "it appears that the call sign K4ZL was made available under the vanity call sign system as a result of a defective cancellation of the license originally held by Jackson. Further review determined that the information submitted to the Commission in 2006 pertained to a different person with the same name."
On March 23, the FCC released an Order Proposing Modification and concluded that cancelling K4ZL in 2006 "was defective" and that the call sign should not have been made available in the vanity call sign pool. To correct this error, the FCC "propose[s] to exchange K4ZL with the call sign previously assigned to Birk's amateur radio station, WB2DCG; and concurrently to assign call sign K4ZL back to Jackson's license, which was reinstated under call sign AJ4JT."
The Commission cited Section 316(a)(1) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, saying it "provides the appropriate vehicle for resolving this matter. Section 316(a) permits the Commission to modify a station license if the action will promote the public interest, convenience, and necessity. In this connection, we note that the proposed modification would serve the public interest by ensuring that a licensee is not harmed by having his or her license canceled based on erroneous information submitted by a third party."
In accordance with Section 97.27(b) of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the FCC will not issue a modification order "until Birk has received notice of our proposed action and has had an opportunity to file a protest." Birk has 30 days from March 23 to submit a written statement to the FCC "with sufficient evidence to show that the modification would not be in the public interest." If Birk chooses not to file a protest, he will have waived his right to protest the modification and will have deemed to have consented to the modification.