Help Say No to This Proposed Rule

Usually, I don’t pay much attention to Notices of Proposed Rule Making (NPRMs) by the FCC. But this one—WT Docket 09-209—has got my attenion. The proposed rules would clarify certain rules regarding vanity callsigns and revise the rules applicable to club stations.

It’s the latter that I’m concerned about. The revision would add the following wording to 97.5(b)(2):

After [date reserved], no additional club station license grant will be made to a club whose trustee already holds a club station license grant for that club.

In other words, clubs will only be allowed to hold a single club call sign, unless the club already has more than one, even if there are good reasons to hold more than one club call sign. Our club, for example, has four club call signs:

  • W8PGW is our long-held club call sign.
  • WC8RC is the call sign we use at our club station at the Washtenaw County Red Cross.
  • WA2HOM is the call sign we use at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum.
  • W8CWN is another call sign that we use occasionally at the Hands-On Museum. This was the call sign of Dr. Richard Crane, one of the founders of the Hands-On Museum, and we requested it to honor Dr. Crane.

None of these callsigns were obtained for frivolous reasons and they all serve a purpose. Should this rule be enacted, however, clubs who have similar operations would be unable to get more than a single club call sign. This sounds like a solution looking for a problem to me.

I urge you to contact the FCC and ask them to strike this from the NPRM. You can make comments in the following ways: via the Federal eRulemaking Portal or via the FCC website. Comments must be submitted by March 26, 2010; reply comments are due no later than April 12, 2010.


  1. There are some pretty clear problems with abuse of the Vanity callsign system. I understand your club wanting the callsigns selected and I would not have a problem with any of those. I think the problem is the paper thin clubs that hold one or more callsigns. See for a list of multiple callsigns held by the same trustee. Some of these are multiple clubs with one trustee for a group of clubs. That looks worse than what it might be. I recognize some of the trustees and understand why they have 5 calls for 5 clubs. I have more difficulty with a ham who is trustee for three clubs holding 15 calls! All the call selected are “high value” 1 x2 calls.. almost all ending in “A”. I have a fondness for calls ending in A (obviously!), I would have liked access to those calls when selecting a call when I moved to 6 land.

    The counter argument would be that the FCC should deal with the abuse, not the rule. Changing the rule would also solve the problem, although perhaps heavy handed. A modification to the rule excluding memorial calls solve some of the issues. Perhaps also excluding 1 x 2 from club requests, unless it is a memorial callsign?

  2. How about this:

    Allow the club to have one call sign that can be changed. Then the club can apply for additional call signs but those will be assigned as next available

    You can have a call sign that represents your club and any club station, remote repeater, etc can then have a sign.

  3. I don’t see why a club can’t have more than one call. For instance, say they support a former US warship and want a call for the ship but the call isn’t all that great for Field Day. So they have a call for the ship and a shorter call for Field Day. I personally don’t see the point of limiting the number (within reason) of calls a club has. There is some abuse of them, so go after the abusers and don’t penalize everyone. in the case of club calls, one bad apple should not spoil the whole barrel.

  4. Dan KB6NU says:

    I’m with you, Floyd. Please be sure to comment on this NPRM.

  5. If the NPR is as you have written, go back and read it carefully one more time. It says an individual (one specific person) may not hold two club call signs for the same club. It does not say you are limited to a single call sign per club. All you need is another trustee for the alternate (second) site as the NPR is currently written.

    One of the big offenders was a club in southern California where they wanted a separate call for each hospital. Why not blanket them all with a single call and use tactical call signs (like the hospital name or city?) There is nothing wrong with a call sign such as W6ABC/Santa Barbra Memorial on the same frequency as W6ABC/Cedars’ They are both descriptive and legal…and they save on call signs.

    Sorry Dan, I don’t see a need for multiple call signs, just the desire and an attempt at rationalizing that desire.

  6. Actually, I think you’re misreading it, Moe. Should this change be approved, the rule will read. “After [date reserved], no additional club station license grant will be made to a club whose trustee already holds a club station license grant for that club.” Furthermore, in the supplemental information, the NPRM says the purpose of this rule change is to “to limit club stations to holding one call sign.” I guess it could be interpreted to mean that if a club has two stations they can have two trustees and each of them can be a trustee for a club callsign, but I don’t think that’s the intent of the change.

    If it is as you say, though, then those folks in Southern California could apply for a station license grant, i.e. callsign, for each of their hospital stations. Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with that. It’s not like the number of callsigns is limited.

    In Canada, as you may know, amateur radio operators can personally hold multiple callsigns. That seems to be working just fine for them.

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