Grandfather's Call Sign - Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Becoming a Ham - Q&A' started by W0MCB, Jan 1, 2021.

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  1. W0MCB

    W0MCB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Good Afternoon Everyone & Happy New Year

    I am currently scheduled to take my Technician exam this January. If time permits, I will also take the General exam on the same date, and then work on acquiring my Amateur Extra shortly thereafter. I have read extensively on the history of call sign assignments as well as vanity call signs, and I know the topic is rather nuanced and opinionated. Regardless, I’m interested in a fresh perspective, would like to gather any and all thoughts on the below topic, and would greatly appreciate the responses from those who would like to contribute.

    My grandfather was a Ham for over 70 years and had a massive “Ham Shack” and radio business in his residence. He worked in the radio field during WWII in England, was a flight radio officer for an American airline after the war, ran a radio service business in ME for decades, and was a prolific CW operator his entire life until shortly before his death. As far as I can recall, he was extremely well known and respected in the Amateur Radio world. He held a number of call signs over the course of his life (mainly due to geographic relocations) but held his final 1x2 Region 1 call sign for maybe 40 to 50 years, or longer. I’m still working on discerning the actual issuance date of his last call sign (pre-ULS) but that’s a topic for another day.

    As stated earlier, my grandfather passed away in 2009 and it was retroactively considered canceled as of the date of his death. A non-relative from Region 6 acquired his Region 1 / 1x2 call sign in 2011 and held it for approximately eight (8) years before canceling it in 2019, transitioning to a new vanity call sign in his native Region 6. The expiration date is currently set for July 2021. I spoke to the FCC yesterday regarding the “close relative” preference. I was surprised to learn (according to them) that I am actually able to use the close-relative preference to apply for and receive (if I’m an Amateur Extra of course) my grandfather’s call sign prior to the new 2021 expiration date, despite the call sign being utilized by a non-relative for the referenced 8 years following his death.

    My questions/request for opinion are as follows:

    1) Is the FCC correct? Assuming I succeed in acquiring the Amateur Extra license prior to the July 2021 expiration date of the call sign, am I really able to use the close relative preference option to apply for the license (before everyone else via the preference list), even though someone else utilized it after his death? I couldn’t find any written documentation on this specific scenario. I just assumed the close-relative option became null and void once someone else acquired it.

    2) I know there are many thoughts and consternation about whether new license holders should have a 1x2 call sign. Additionally, it’s a call sign outside my region as well. I normally wouldn’t consider it. However, I figured it would be a great homage to my grandfather, and thus wanted to hear some perspectives on the matter. I have a chance to snag a 1x3 vanity that has never been used, incorporates my initials, and is specific to my region. Part of me also wants to start fresh. I’m sure I’m not the first person that has been in this spot, and I’m sure there are some of you that have had many similar experiences that might be able to shed some words of wisdom.

    Thank you very much in advance. It’s greatly appreciated!
    KW9W, K0UO and N4FZ like this.
  2. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    1. Yes they are correct.

    2. Go for it!
    N4FZ, K5PO, K6CLS and 2 others like this.
  3. KK9W

    KK9W Ham Member QRZ Page

    1. Yes.

    2. Do what you wish and don't let the opinions of others dictate how you enjoy the hobby within the confines of the rules and laws.

    You can only get his callsign if it isn't active, so you must strike while the iron is hot. Once it's assigned they can't strip someone of it.
    N4FZ, K5PO, W0MCB and 1 other person like this.
  4. W0MCB

    W0MCB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the response. Much appreciated. Yeah, I was just looking for some insight and some concepts I hadn't thought about. Not that I would necessarily let anyone dictate the direction I took. Yes, exactly, with respect to striking now. I have until early July 2021, and then then it's open season! Ha. I think what I'm planning on doing in the interim, is applying for the 1x3 vanity that's never been used as soon as I pass the Tech/General exams this month. If I end up changing my mind on my taking grandfathers' call sign, at least I didn't lose the opportunity to have my own that I like by someone else taking that one. If I do apply for my grandfather's call sign though, i'll feel bad slightly because then I've just tied up a call sign for 2 years, after only using it for a few months. I guess that's part of the debate that occurs! Thanks again.
    N4FZ likes this.
  5. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sounds like a plan.
    N4FZ and W0MCB like this.
  6. KK9W

    KK9W Ham Member QRZ Page

    Set your mind to it and reach the finish line. If what you ultimately want is his call don't bother with another.....unless you want to. ;)
    W0MCB likes this.
  7. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    As you are probably aware, new fees are being implemented for amateur applications. Right now, everything is basically free, except maybe the test, but in less than 2 months (approximately) application fees for new licenses, upgrades, and vanity call signs will be going to $35 each time you do an application. Just fyi.
    N4FZ and W0MCB like this.
  8. W0MCB

    W0MCB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the heads up. Just read an article a few days ago discussing the change. I’ve saved a few pennies over the COVID months, so I’ll hopefully put it to good use!
    N4FZ and K7JEM like this.
  9. K6CLS

    K6CLS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hoping you have success in studies and tests!! You're starting down a road of epic discovery and accomplishments. Enjoy the journey.
    W0MCB likes this.
  10. W0MCB

    W0MCB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks again to those that confirmed what the FCC told me verbally, in that I would still be able to request my grandfather's license, despite someone else holding it for 8 years subsequent to his death. I should have asked them for some documentation depicting the details of how I qualify. Even Form 605, Schedule D makes it seem i'm out of luck, noting the requirement of having his call sign depicted on his license within the past two years from the date submitted. I've included the FCC's verbiage below. Can anyone clarify or point me to more specific documentation? I know I can submit for it, and the FCC either grants it, or doesn't. It's not a big deal, but it definitely makes me curious. One would think i'd be able to locate something that aligns with what I was told by the FCC. Thanks again!

    CLOSE RELATIVE OF FORMER HOLDER: I request call sign be shown on my primary station license. By checking this box, I certify that the call sign being requested was shown on the primary station license of my deceased spouse, child, grandchild, stepchild, parent, grandparent, stepparent, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or in-law within the past 2 years and that I can provide documentation, if requested. Enter the deceased relationship to you:

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