ARRL

ARRL General Bulletin ARLB022 (2004)

SB QST @ ARL $ARLB022
ARLB022 FCC no longer issuing certain 2x3-format vanity call signs

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ARRL Bulletin 22  ARLB022
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  August 4, 2004
To all radio amateurs 

SB QST ARL ARLB022
ARLB022 FCC no longer issuing certain 2x3-format vanity call signs

The FCC has ceased issuing 2x3-format Amateur Radio vanity call
signs that begin with the prefixes WC, WR, WK and WT (eg, WR1AAA,
WC4ZZZ). The Commission has acknowledged that it erroneously granted
more than 150 WR and WC-prefix 2x3 vanity call signs from 1997
through September 2003, when it began rejecting such call sign
requests.

In the late 1970s, the FCC announced a new Amateur Service call sign
assignment system. It provided four standard call sign groups,
designated Group A, B, C and D, delineated by license class and
issued sequentially with no backfilling. The FCC's Bill Cross, W3TN,
recently told the nation's volunteer examiner coordinators (VECs)
that the FCC also had a "Group X." These included WC (RACES), WR
(repeater), WK and WT-prefix 2x3-format call signs reportedly
reserved for special-use licenses.

The FCC stopped issuing repeater call signs in 1983 and ceased
renewing RACES licenses in 2000. After the current vanity program
began in 1996, several ham clubs sought new and formerly held
repeater and RACES-type call signs. When the Universal Licensing
System came along in August 1999, however, the FCC encountered some
licensing system programming shortcomings, including the anomalous
assignments of WC and WR-prefix 2x3 call signs as acceptable
formats.

When the FCC implemented programming corrections that halted the
issuance of Group X call signs in September 2003, it did not advise
the amateur community. As a result, several amateurs who filed for
2x3 WC or WR-prefix call signs had their applications dismissed
without any explanation beyond saying that the applicant's call sign
choice was unavailable. That remains the case. The FCC has not
indicated whether it plans to address the WC and WR-prefix 2x3 call
signs it's already issued.

In a related matter, the FCC's new Amateur Radio vanity call sign
regulatory fee of $20.80 for the 10-year license term goes into
effect Friday, August 6. All applications received at the FCC on or
after that date must be accompanied by the new, higher fee.
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