Discussion in 'On-Air Operations - Q&A' started by KJ4IRX, Sep 11, 2019.
The FCC rule that your callsign must match your station location went away in the mid-to-late 1970s - more than 40 years ago!
It was eliminated because Americans tend to be mobile, and having to change your callsign multiple times is a real hassle for folks who move a lot. But what finally killed the call-must-match-location rule was that FCC realized it was costing them resources to be constantly issuing new callsigns when hams moved. So, just as in the case of going to 10 year licenses, saving admin work was the key - and why you won't see it changing back.
Some hams figured out ways to game the system. One way was to use the address of relative or friend inside the original district, to hold onto the old call, even though the ham lived far away. Another was to get a second station license, just to hold the call, even though the ham never went there and never used the call. (And then FCC eliminated second-station licenses...)
Think about it. Suppose you've got a call you like, and you've had it for a long time, and then something comes up and you move to a different district. Would you want to have to give up that call and get a new one? How about if it's a nice 1x2 or 2x1, or some other combo such as your initials, and there aren't any where you are going? What if the call you hold was your dad's and your granddad's? What about all the stuff you have with your old call on it? What about all the other hams who know you by your callsign of many years?
Would you want to be forced to give it up, as it was "in the old days"? We all still have the option - and vanity calls are free now.
Some folks say it was better in the old days when, if you heard a particular call, you "knew where it was". But let's look at that....
1-land is New England. It may seem small - but try driving from the CT panhandle to down east Maine. 6 states, too - ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI.
2-land is NJ and NY. Quite a distance from Cape May NJ to Niagara Falls NY. Heck, try driving from Montauk Point to Dunkirk NY....
3-land is probably the most compact, being just PA, MD and DE. Still, from Fenwick Island MD to Erie PA is a considerable distance.
4-land is huge - from the southern tip of Florida, to northern VA, west to the Mississippi. 8 states - FL, GA, SC, NC, VA, KY, TN, AL. Huge area...but not the largest!
5-land is big too - Mississippi to New Mexico, the Rio Grande to Arkansas. Six states - MS, LA, TX, NM, OK, AR
6-land is CA...nuff sed.
7-land is the biggest. 7-land extends from Canada to Mexico, from the Pacific to the Dakotas. Heck, from one end of 7-land to the other is about as far as from 5 land to 1 land, crossing several other districts in the process. 8 states - WA, OR, ID, MT, UT, NV, WY, AZ. The distance from one corner of 7-land to the other is over 1400 miles.
8-land is only three states (MI OH WV), but look at how far it is from the upper peninsula of MI to the eastern parts of WV.
9-land is three states too IN IL WS. Probably one of the smallest - the exception that proves the rule.
0-land stretches from the Rockies to the Mississippi and beyond. Colorado to Minnesota, Canada to Oklahoma. 8 states - ND, SD, NE, KS, MN, IA, CO, MO.
So it's not as much of an indicator as some might think.
Whether it "helps you point the beam" depends on where you are.
Most of all, in the modern world, if you want to know where a ham is, you just come here to the 'zed, or go to the FCC website.
73 de Jim, N2EY
Maybe it is my geezering. But I sure wish they would have kept the call signs associated with locations. I find if very disappointing when I hear something like a weak KH6 or KL7 call, and find out I'm working somebody via groundwave from a few 10s of miles away.
I'm not even sure I know how many call signs I've had over the many years I been moving around. Most were mandated changes based on FCC regulations. This is my 3rd 4-district call sign. It is my last call sign change -- I hope!
My present 4-district call is a vanity call sign, the other two previous 4-district call signs were assigned due to geographic changes to/from other districts.. I changed my call from an 8, back to a 4 a few years ago. I was really disappointed when we moved about a dozen miles back across the WV/VA border. My WV ham license plate and my WV drivers license were much nicer looking.
I wish I wouldn't have made the change. I'm even in the same basic Madenhead. I still accidentally voice or send the CW version of my old call.
No, it is not an "alias." And yes, it was technically a rule violation to use your old call, (especially if it had been reassigned) since you have a new (or at least different) call. But if unintentional, it won't be serious enough to warrant much concern. Accidents DO happen.
I use a wire antennas in different directions on an antenna switch to handle the fact that calls no longer indicate where to point the beam. Cheap and effective if you have suitable trees as antenna supports.
* Two dozen antennas on four switches.