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W5SZK
11-26-2008, 05:04 PM
How could one look up an old callsign that existed in the 60's or 70's? It's not part of the current database. I want to look up my fathers old callsign, but I have no Idea where to start??

W9MAV
11-26-2008, 05:13 PM
How could one look up an old callsign that existed in the 60's or 70's? It's not part of the current database. I want to look up my fathers old callsign, but I have no Idea where to start??

1.Go to a hamfest.

2.Look for a call book from that year.

K9STH
11-26-2008, 05:14 PM
Contact the QCWA.

Glen, K9STH

W0IS
11-26-2008, 06:15 PM
QCWA has an extensive collection of old callbooks, but for inquiries that don't involve QCWA membership, they refer people to this guy:

http://www.geocities.com/w3hf/callbooks.html

He has an extensive collection of old callbooks, and he was very helpful when I had a request. Keep in mind that this is just a nice guy with a bunch of old books, so ask nice, and be patient.

Unfortunately, the problem you'll run into is that the callbooks are in order of callsign. Therefore, short of reading through hundreds of pages looking for a particular name and address (which has been known to be done), you can't look it up by name.

If his license was still valid into the 1970's, then there might be some hope of finding the call in some kind of online or CD database. But if it was in the 1960's, that will be a longshot.

Are you an ARRL member? If so, you have access to the online QST archive. If, by chance, your father ever had an article or letter to the editor in QST, then it can be searched by name. Or, if you know that he might be mentioned somewhere in a particular issue (field day score for a certain year, etc.), then you might be able to just browse through old articles. But there's no full-text searching, so you'll have to have some idea where to look.

If you would like to post his name and city (or PM it to me), I could try poking around and see if I can come up with any leads.

W5SZK
11-26-2008, 07:17 PM
Ok I feel really stOOpid right now, I should have dine that in the first place..

Joe I. Barnett I for Irvin

He ran teletype in Ft. Louis Washington and in Vietnam. After he retired from the military in 72 he took a correspondence course from the NRI and began working on 2 way radios for MobilFone throughout the 70s. He then worked for Civil Defense at Commanche county Ok. Then back for the military until he retired in 85.

DJ1YFK
11-26-2008, 07:51 PM
It would be an awesome project to start a historic call-book database.

Thanks to pretty advanced OCR software, it's possible to convert a scanned page into text at decent accuracy. Being listed in alphabetical order, it's easy to automatically detect mis-recognized characters at least in callsigns for most of the part. The names and addresses could be stored both as text and as a picture, if the OCR process indicates possible inaccuracies, and an interface like that of the Distributed Proofreaders Project could be used to correct mistakes.

I know, the good old paper callbooks have hundreds of pages, and this is not something that can be done in a few weeks -- but with proper coordination and some volunteers it certainly seems feasible.

Each resulting record in the database would contain the callsign with the associated name and address, plus the year of the callbook. The database could be queried like e.g. qrz.com, by callsign and name, but also by a range of years.

Entries in the database could be made in any order; but of course it'd be a good idea to try to get a full callbook for a particular year online first. Preferably something as old as possible...

Anybody think this is a good idea? I'd be able to design the system and provide technical knowhow and infrastructure, but it's something which needs the help of some volunteers.

73, Fabian

W5SZK
11-26-2008, 07:57 PM
I'm a database guy?

W0IS
11-26-2008, 08:15 PM
I think your best bet is W3HF. I'm pretty sure that some of the callbooks existed as CD's by the 1980's, so he should be able to search by name.

I did search the QST archive, and there were no articles or letters to the editor by your father.

W0IS
11-26-2008, 08:19 PM
It would be an awesome project to start a historic call-book database.

That's an excellent idea. It doesn't need to include every single callbook. In the U.S., until the late 1970's or early 80's, most licenses were valid for five years. That later became every ten years. So even if there were only one or two volumes per decade, that would provide a callsign the majority of the time.

Novice licenses were the exception. Until the 1970's, they were only valid for two years, and before that, they were only valid for one year. But even in that case, if the person renewed, they got a higher class license with a similar callsign.

IMHO, that's a very worthy project.

NN3W
11-26-2008, 08:21 PM
Doesn't http://www.vanityhq.com/ already do that?

W0IS
11-26-2008, 08:34 PM
I don't think so. If you start with a callsign, then you can get information about that callsign going back to about 1980.

But there's nothing prior to that date, and AFAIK, there's no method of searching by name.

W5SZK
11-26-2008, 09:01 PM
Well, I dont have any of the data, but I would be happy to create a searchable database if someone could provide the data?

W0IS
11-26-2008, 10:08 PM
Well, the website http://www.vanityhq.com has quite a bit of data going back to about 1980.

But what would be really helpful would be a searchable database of the various paper callbooks. These are in the hands of various individuals, such as the guy whose website is linked above.

Incidentally, I thought of one more possible lead. I assume your father is deceased. If you have his approximate date of death, it would be possible to look through the "Silent Key" listings in QST for that approximate time period. That would take some time, because they get printed whenever they get reported. Also, not everyone gets listed, since it depends on someone reporting it to them. But it might be worth checking.

I did read that the Vanity HQ site will be adding this data, so hopefully it will be searchable by name.

DJ1YFK
11-26-2008, 10:09 PM
I don't think so. If you start with a callsign, then you can get information about that callsign going back to about 1980.

But there's nothing prior to that date, and AFAIK, there's no method of searching by name.

That exactly is the point. That site only has a few complete datasets back until a certain year, and after that it relies on user-submitted data for single callsigns. And it's by callsign only.

Name search (full-text, for addresses, ZIP codes etc., if you wish) is important and interesting. With minimal extra work, generating callsign-histories for a particular licensee and elaborate statistics would be a nice by-product of a database I have in mind.

I will sleep a night or two over it (and then, mind you, it's CQWW CW, not sleep for three more nights) and then come up with a concept and contact a few more persons who are unlikely to read the qrz-forums and likely to be interested in this idea.

73, Fabian

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