1x2 or 2x1 call signs via vanity application: How hard?

Discussion in 'Becoming a Ham - Q&A' started by W3IG, May 20, 2018.

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  1. W3IG

    W3IG Ham Member QRZ Page

    AB3TQ, I appreciate your help but please don't take me for an idiot. I understand the nature of the situation. There are no freely available 1x2 / 2x1 calls. I understand long odds and take it or leave it availability.

    However, search ULS for W4 and scroll through. Its almost entirely vanity calls, even the 1x3s, 2x2s, & 2x3s. What's striking is every time a name is in the call, say, Amy, as in W4AMY there's a chick named Amy registered to that call. Its surprizingly frequent even in the 1x2s. I imagine most of those folks waited for their call to become available for years and then seized the day.

    I'm exploring ALL my options. Anyone who thinks me foolish for trying at long odds is the one with the problem.
    Last edited: May 23, 2018
  2. W3IG

    W3IG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Why is it a pain to have an out of district call sign?
  3. KU4X

    KU4X Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    It is for some, not so much for others.

    Here's my story:

    1. Initial call: WL7AH (Technician, Fairbanks, Alaska)
    2. Moved to Hawaii: WH6QJ
    3. Moved to Alabama: W4BHC (My initials)
    4. Upgraded from Tech to Extra, requested a new sequential call.
    4a. (Due to an error by the VE team, they processed my upgrade as a General.)
    5. New sequential 2x3 call: KI4URE
    5a. (Mistake promptly corrected by the VE team.)
    6. New sequential 2x2 call: AI4WA
    7. New "cutesy" vanity call: WE4AU (War Eagle 4 Auburn University) (It's an SEC thing.)
    7a. (Got lots of compliments and lots of cr@p for that call. It's an SEC thing.)
    8. New "cutesy" vanity call: KA1NOS (It's a leet for the Greek word Kainos. You can look it up if you're interested.)
    8a. (Got real tired, real quick with all the questions about a "1" call while residing in "4" land:
    Where in New England are you from? Do you miss it? Why don't you get a "4" call?)
    9. Went on the hunt for a Group A, 4-land call.
    9a. The failed attempts: N4BC, KX4U.
    9b. (And a couple of other failed attempts when I held WE4AU.)
    10. Won the lottery for KU4X. (There were 16 other active applicants for the call.)

    So there you go. A very long answer, but I hope it helps.

    K8PG, AK5B, NQ1B and 1 other person like this.
  4. AB3TQ

    AB3TQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Fine, you are in this for the long haul. You are prepared to stay vigilant for years in this quest. Are you at least aware that not so long ago there was a fee to initially apply for and then also to renew Vanity Calls. There were short Calls actually available for those willing to pay to play. Some of what you have noticed that gives you optimism was a direct result of a system that has radically changed.

    When the FCC did away with that fee it became the crazy free for all that we have today - and that reservoir of short Calls quickly dried up. It is a brave new world. Good Luck.
  5. W2PX

    W2PX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I got my 1x2 on my first try. I had multiple choices spread out over the next year with the intent to apply for them one at a time until I got one. I got lucky and got the first one I applied for. Had about 12 others competing for it. I went in knowing completely well that the likely hood of winning my first attempt was slim to none.

    I don't agree with those saying "don't bother". It takes just a few minutes to submit the application, costs nothing and you have nothing to lose. Worst case scenario, you don't win it and you stay with your current call sign.
    AK5B, NQ1B, KI2H and 3 others like this.
  6. N2SUB

    N2SUB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I received N2SUB in 1992.

    That is all.
  7. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I was the original holder of both a 1X2 and a 2X1, and I let them both go, in favor of the 1X3 I have now. I keep watching one of my former calls, because if it becomes available again, I intend to pounce on it - it was available briefly a while back, and I missed it.
  8. K7RJB

    K7RJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    The more I read the more I get confused.

    I am looking at an expiring sign.

    The rule is 2 years and one day grace, correct?

    So a sign expired on 7/1/16
    would become available 7/2/18
    Do I apply on the 2nd or the 3rd (does the lottery happen on the 2nd or the 3rd?)
    In other words are cancelations or expirations processed before change request applications?
    Do they say 2years and a day to cover the processing so the sign expires 7/1 but is not available til 7/2? In which case I would apply on the 2nd, correct?
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  9. WD0BCT

    WD0BCT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I had absolutely no problem requesting a vanity call sign. Since I quit ham radio in 1996 I just requested my original call sign after getting relicensed in 2016. It was a piece of cake. Apparently WD0BCT was not a coveted call. :)
  10. AB3TQ

    AB3TQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Every now and then there are confusing data snafu's - so lets say the system works 99.999% of the time.
    A call that expired on 7/1/16 becomes available for the vanity application process on 7/2/18, which is the date to apply. Applications are ONLY officially accepted Monday through Friday, so if the available date falls on a weekend or a holiday, the application date is extended to include dates up to the next open for business day (a weekday that is NOT a holiday). The two year and 1 day rule gives the most recent owner a full 2 year grace period to reclaim it.

    Applying on the correct date only makes you eligible for the Lottery. The actual Lottery won't take place for about 18 to 21 days. If there is competition, that is how long you will have to wait to see who wins the call in the Lottery. If there is NOT any completion, you still have to wait 18 to 21 days to be awarded the call, but you would know that you are most likely to get the call (unless something weird happens).

    The AE7Q site does a very good job of taking much of the confusion out of the process.
  11. W2PX

    W2PX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    7/2/2018 is a Monday. So the sign that becomes available on that day would need to have an application dated that day. Since the application acceptance process only runs Monday through Friday (excluding holidays), when it runs at the end of the day on Monday, it will pull in all applications submitted Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Then, 18-21 days later, the lottery runs and randomly works through the applicants. Once the application process runs, you can go to the AE7Q site, click on the callsign of interest and scroll to the bottom to see the predictions. Any entry that says "competition" will be in the lottery. You can also see the "process date" which is the day the lottery will run.
  12. AE8W

    AE8W Ham Member QRZ Page

    My 1st vanity after many applications for many different 1x2's over ~6 months, my win was N1CZ. Initially I naively only wanted a 1x2 starting with "W" ... a real man's man call sign. HAHAHA! Those days are long gone. I thought N1CZ great until people kept screwing up the CZ. That C & Z sounded too much alike to too many hams and even on DMR. I use DMR as I cross the country from time to time.

    Soooo, what the heck. The process is free. After all my 1st General call sign lasted over 40 years and I was not planning to rotate or anything. I just wanted a call sign that old guys can understand. So I started the process again but being very selective and included 2x1 that I did not before.

    My criteria was to be in my call zone == "1", end in a dash, and have a low CW weight. When using CW, a dash at the end is less likely to be lost in QRM than a dot, "they" say. To my great surprise and ensuing razzing from my local ham friends, I won NE1U the 2nd time I tried. This luck was completely opposite the 1st try that ended up with N1CZ that took at least 20 applications trying for maybe a 100 call signs. In a word, "luck".

    So my advice, if you have noooo interest in CW then the dits & dahs are not important. What would be important then are letters that do not sound similar as not everyone is going to use phonetics. Be picky and eventually or sooner you will get what you consider a winner.
    W3IG likes this.
  13. AB3TQ

    AB3TQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    You had reasonable expectations and a little luck on your side. This post is a textbook example of properly managed expectations. Congrats on navigating the system and coming out of it with a good enough call to live with. Anything more than that is like asking to win a million dollar jackpot twice in the same month. Not impossible, but highly unlikely.
    AE8W likes this.
  14. W3IG

    W3IG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Quick follow-up question. I've noticed AE7Q's website lists the dat a call becomes available but doesn't show the call as available till the next day. Which is the correct day to apply?
  15. KU4X

    KU4X Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    You need to submit your application on the Available date. If you submit on the end date, your application will not be in competition because it was submitted too early.

    Reference: http://www.ae7q.com/query/text/Explain.php#Dates

    AE8W likes this.

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