Is there an uncomplicated way to get a 4-digit call?

Discussion in 'Becoming an Amateur Radio Operator/Upgrading Privi' started by AK5B, May 12, 2020.

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  1. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've been a Extra for about 8 years but have only recently decided to upgrade my KH6 vanity call to a shorter area-correct W5 call---if I can figure out how to do so.

    I've made several visits to the AE7Q site but I find it very confusing.

    I use phone 100% of the time and I like to chase dx and work major contests (so saying "NH7RO/W5" over and over gets old fast).

    If I don't apply for a specific 4-digit call will the process be any simpler? Are all 4-digit calls subject to a lottery?

    I know I could probably get a 2x2 or 1x3 call a lot easier but I want to go for the shortest call as I can.

    Any tips or clear advice ( Step 1, Step 2, Step 3...) given will be much appreciated by this old timer.


    Jeff, NH7RO/W5
  2. W5UAA

    W5UAA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I just changed call signs last August. You can apply for multiple call signs at once, in order of your preference, in hopes of getting one of them or only apply for one at a time and either get it or be rejected.

    Bottom line: you and everyone else wants a short call sign. And, yes, it's a lottery system.

    When a call sign expires or is cancelled, two years later people can ask for it. If it's a relative's call sign, you can ask for it before that two years is up (first dibs!) After two years, anyone can ask for it. If only one person asks for it, that person gets it. If more than one person asks for it, it's a lottery.

    I applied for my 1x3 and since I was the only one who asked for it, I got it. (Dropped the "B" in my WB5UAA)

    If you have a relative who cancels their call sign or it expires, you can ask for it and get it before the two year waiting period is up. (father's, mother's, uncle's, aunt's, and a few others I think.)

    I regret not getting a sequential 2x1 when I made extra back in the 80's.

    One day, I'll have my father's 2x1. He upgraded to extra when I did and traded in his WD5GIV call sign (that call sucked!) for the next sequential: WW5F -- phonetic weight of 7, morse weight of 48 -- I'll be initiating the cancellation process and then snagging it up one month after that way before the end of the 2 year waiting period. And then, one day I'll give up the ghost and by then there might be as many as 100 or 200 folks throwing their applications at it to get it next.

    Simple answer: there's only two steps. Step 1) find a call that's available. Step 2) apply for it. That's really all you can do. And since it doesn't cost anything, when a short call sign becomes available, I see a growing number of folks going for it these days.

    Some people change their call sign every 6 or 8 weeks?
    AK5B likes this.
  3. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Why would you want a call with 4 numbers ? :rolleyes:
    K3XR likes this.
  4. W7UUU

    W7UUU Super Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    This guy did it!! ;)



    Last edited: May 12, 2020
    W0AQ, WJ4U, N0TZU and 1 other person like this.
  5. K7TRF

    K7TRF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'd recommend visiting the RadioQTH site that supports simple searches to see what calls are available. If there's some there you like then you can file an application ordered from your top priority downward.
    AK5B likes this.
  6. K7TRF

    K7TRF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Wow, that seems like a terrible call when working CW :)
  7. W7UUU

    W7UUU Super Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    NO KIDDING!!! :eek::eek:

  8. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    So I can match my debit card PIN:D

    OK, I should have written 4 characters instead...:rolleyes:
    K6CLS and KA9JLM like this.
  9. AK5B

    AK5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    Never knew about this tremendously helpful site until now; I've already spotted a couple of possibilities I like the sound of---now I will figure out exactly when to submit my application...

    Cheers, Dave! (And thanks to all others who responded)

    K7TRF likes this.
  10. KU4X

    KU4X Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Jeff,

    I would give Dean's site ( a second, third and ... try.
    It may seem daunting because he provides so much good info.

    Start at the first page. Scroll down just a bit and you will see the 1x2 and 2x1 callsign availability summary tool.
    Since you're looking to get a 5-land call, press the '5' button under the callsign region column.

    Scrolling down just a bit, you will a chart that lists every 1x2 and 2x1 call coming available in the next two years.
    Today (12 May) there is one call available: KF5R. The key item here is the availability date. This is the day one can apply for the call. If one applies on the end date, the application will be rejected for being submitted too early. And as mentioned in the comments above, there will be in almost all cases more than one application for these sought-after callsigns, so if one applies after the availability date, the application will be rejected for being too late.

    All the callsigns in bold will be coming available within 30 days.

    That should be enough to get you started. It took me several visits to get a good grip on all the content of Dean's site. Once you do, it will make your search for "that call" much easier, along with the attempt to make it yours.

    Good luck!

    W0AQ and AK5B like this.

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