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Some American hams are lucky enough to have four letter call signs such as: K1JT

Are American hams the only ones with the possibility of a four letter call sign? Is there another country that grants four letter call signs to individuals on a regular basis (and not just to the royal family, special events, clubs, etc).

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4 Answers 4

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The type of call signs that you referenced are referred to as 1x2 (one by two) call signs in the USA. Due to the limited number of such call signs and their historical significance, these are the most sought after in the USA.

But 1x2 call signs are not unique to the USA. Consider the well publicized (but commonly misunderstood) G5RV antenna, named after the UK 1x2 call sign holder that invented it. The call is currently held by a UK club in commemoration.

An even more rare call is a 2x0 call sign. A popular example of this was King Hussein of Jordan, JY1. While he could obviously obtain any Jordanian call sign, he was known for his personable on the air conversations despite his political standing.

In the USA, hams may apply for a 1x1 call sign that may be used for special events for a limited time. The call is then recycled for future applicants.

Note that the call sign prefix (the part before, or including, the number) is assigned by the ITU. A listing may be found here

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! I specifically ruled out royal families in the question. :) I didn’t know the UK had 1x2 callsigns - are they still in existence for individuals? $\endgroup$
    – RoboKaren
    May 28, 2018 at 3:12
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    $\begingroup$ The old 1x2 UK callsigns are all pre-war. Amateur radio operations were suspended at the beginning of WWII, and when they resumed again the callsigns started out as 1x3 (as they are today). People who had previously held pre-war callsigns were allowed to keep them. Back right at the beginning in the 1920s, there was no international arrangement of callsigns, and so the BBC for example used to use 2LO, but these callsigns were soon changed - and the BBC still holds the callsign G2LO today. A few people whose parents or grandparents held pre-war callsigns have been allowed to use them, too $\endgroup$
    – Scott Earle
    May 28, 2018 at 7:35
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    $\begingroup$ There are also 2x1 callsigns. $\endgroup$
    – Pete NU9W
    Aug 23, 2022 at 12:19
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In YU ham or club may get 2x1 call too.

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You have 4 character call signs in Ireland as well.

Example would be EI0Z (you are likely to be prompted for login following this link)

They are rare, and are either "old" or given only to clubs and only for a specific purpose, such as contesting.

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  • $\begingroup$ A number of countries save their 2x1 call signs for contests. Off the top of my head I'm thinking: New Zealand, Australia (VK?? And VL??), All of the UK except England, (GI??, GU?? etc.), Slovenia (S5#x). I know there are more, but those spring to mind first $\endgroup$
    – AI7OW
    May 16, 2023 at 14:05
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Russian hams can have four-character callsigns as well, and interestingly, they can be either 1x2 (R2AZ) or 2x1 (RA3Q; UA3A). Also of note is the fact that those are the only available "vanity" callsigns; you can't ask for a specific 1x3.

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