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Aviation Glossary :: Vanity  Aviation Glossary :: Vanity FAA Written Test Preparation
Aviation Glossary Welcome to the Dauntless Aviation Glossary!

At Dauntless, our editorial staff maintains the web's largest unified glossary of aviation terms. This glossary is built from a combination of official, quasi-official, and proprietary sources (including original material that we develop oursselves). Uniquely, we often provide multiple definitions of a given term so that you can find that which best applies to you. In order to maximize your learning efficiency, this glossary (and similar ones for our international users) is incresingly fully integrated into our aviation learning apps, including our FAA written test prep and FAA practical test prep software and apps. If you like this glossary, you'll love them with their polished learning environments and world's best and clearest content (please do give them a try.).

Vanity
Vanity
The FCC offers amateur licensees the opportunity to request a specific call sign for a primary station and for a club station. A call sign is selected by the FCC from a list of call signs requested by the licensee or license trustee. Military recreation stations are not eligible for a vanity call sign.

A Vanity call sign is a special Amateur Radio call sign specifically chosen by a person or club who is currently an Amateur Radio licensee (similar in purpose to Vanity license plates on cars). Vanity call signs usually include alphabetical characters of personal significance (e.g., licensees initials, parts of names, hobbies, etc), or sometimes are simply chosen because they are shorter calls, or sometimes they have double or triple duplicate characters (e.g., W1WWW).

A Vanity call sign is a call sign that the licensee wants assigned by the FCC for use in place of an existing call sign (or for an Amateur Radio club, it is a call sign assigned to replace the existing FCC-assigned club license call sign).

Newly licensed individuals and newly licensed clubs cannot get a Vanity call sign as their first call sign. A Vanity call sign can only be obtained in exchange (traded in) for an existing call.

There is a two year waiting period after the cancellation of a call sign before it is available to be applied for as a vanity call sign. However, there are exceptions to this two year waiting period. Please see "FCC Rules" section below.

The FCC charges an annual fee for the Vanity call sign (payable up front for the entire ten year license term)

For persons who have no interest in a special call sign, the FCC will issue, at no charge, a systematically assigned call sign (next one up in their computer system, with the type {group} of call sign and call area number determined by the FCC computer based on the applicant's license class and license address).

Whether you are applying as an individual or a club trustee, there will be some limits on the types of vacant Vanity call signs that may be available to you, depending on your license class or mailing address.

First, the FCC does not limit the Vanity call sign choice numeral (0-9). For example, you can be a W1-land addressee, and have a W6 (California) type call if you so desire.

Also, aside from a very few FCC-limited choices, Extra class licensees can choose virtually any vacant but valid US call sign -- FCC call sign Groups A, B, C or D. Although Advanced class licensees cannot seek the special 1x2, 2x1 or 2x2 (beginning with letter "A") Extra class type call signs, they can seek a 2x2 or 1x3 call sign (beginning with prefix N, K or W), or a 2x3 call sign (beginning with prefix letter K or W) -- FCC call sign Groups B, C or D. General or Technician class licensees can seek a 1x3 call sign (beginning with prefix N, K or W), or 2x3 call sign (beginning with prefix letter K or W) -- FCC call sign Groups C or D. Novice licensees also have access to the Vanity program. Novices can seek a 2x3 call sign (beginning with prefix letter K or W) of their choice -- FCC call sign Group D.

Unless you have a mailing address specific to Alaskan, Pacific or Caribbean areas, you would not be able to obtain certain call signs where the second prefix letter is an L, H or P in conjunction with certain call area numbers (e.g., KL7??? is limited to Alaskan addressees only, KH6??? to Pacific Island addressees only, KP4??? to Caribbean addressees only, etc).

Club call signs are limited per above and also are limited based on the class of license held by the trustee at the time of application. Should the club trustee change and the trustees license class is of a different qualifying class, the clubs’ call sign will not change.

Even when a call sign does not appear on the FCC database, it may not be available for assignment.

According to the FCC's Vanity web page on Call Sign Availability, a call sign is normally assignable two years following license expiration, surrender, revocation, set aside, cancellation, void ab initio, or death of the grantee. However, there are exceptions to this two year waiting period. Please see "FCC Rules" section below.

Where a vanity call sign for which the most recent recipient was ineligible is surrendered, cancelled, revoked or voided, the two-year requirement does not apply.

Refer to the Sequential Call Sign System for how call signs are sequentially assigned and the grouping and geographic region attributes of each call sign.

The following call signs are not available for assignment:

  1. KA2AA-KA9ZZ, KC4AAA-KC4AAF, KC4USA-KC4USZ, KG4AA-KG4ZZ, KC6AA-KC6ZZ, KL9KAA- KL9KHZ, KX6AA-KX6ZZ;
  2. Any call sign having the letters SOS or QRA-QUZ as the suffix;
  3. Any call sign having the letters AM-AZ as the prefix (these prefixes are assigned to other countries by the ITU);
  4. Any 2-by-3 format call sign having the letter X as the first letter of the suffix;
  5. Any 2-by-3 format call sign having the letters AF, KF, NF, or WF as the prefix and the letters EMA as the suffix (U.S Government FEMA stations);
  6. Any 2-by-3 format call sign having the letters AA-AL as the prefix;
  7. Any 2-by-3 format call sign having the letters NA-NZ as the prefix;
  8. Any 2-by-3 format call sign having the letters WC, WK, WM, WR, or WT as the prefix (Group X call signs);
  9. Any 2-by-3 format call sign having the letters KP, NP or WP as the prefix and the numeral 0, 6, 7, 8 or 9;
  10. Any 2-by-2 format call sign having the letters KP, NP or WP as the prefix and the numeral 0, 6, 7, 8 or 9;
  11. Any 2-by-1 format call sign having the letters KP, NP or WP as the prefix and the numeral 0, 6, 7, 8 or 9;
  12. Call signs having the single letter prefix (K, N or W), a single digit numeral 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and a single letter suffix are reserved for the special event call sign system.
Even when a call sign does not appear on the FCC database, it may not be available for assignment.
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source: ARRL Ham Radio Glossary


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Disclaimer: While this glossary in most cases is likely to be highly accurate and useful, sometimes, for any number of editorial, transcription, technical, and other reasons, it might not be. Additionally, as somtimes you may have found yourself brought to this page through an automated term matching system, you may find definitions here that do not match the cotext or application in which you saw the original term. Please use your good judgement when using this resource.


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