I'm about to permanently move to another US state, which is in another callsign zone. Will I be forced to get a new callsign in the new zone?

Also, when I started, when one was traveling in another zone, one was required to identify that fact, e.g. "W6HAM/7" in CW, or "W6HAM mobile 7" on voice. I have vague memories of that requirement being lifted, maybe in the late 70's or early 80's... But just to check, that's not required, right? Do people still sometimes give their callsign that way anyway, or has the numeric zone largely lost its social significance, the way area codes mostly have in the cellphone era?

I haven't really been active for several decades :-)

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    $\begingroup$ Hello and welcome to ham.stackexchange.com! $\endgroup$
    – rclocher3
    Jun 1, 2020 at 18:59

1 Answer 1


No — as of 2020 you're not obligated to change your callsign if you move within the US. Even if you have an Alaska/Hawaii/Guam "restricted" callsign, you can keep it if you leave. All you need to do is notify the FCC of your new mailing address via ULS.

However, if you want to change your callsign when you move, you can. You can request the next available systematic callsign (it will be assigned based on your registered address at the time you make the request) or using the vanity system.

There's also no requirement to sign portable if you're outside of your "home" call district. You can, if you want to highlight the fact, but it's not common.

It's still true that the majority of hams live and operate in the region indicated by their callsign, and you can still talk about working 6-land from 2-land, but exceptions aren't that much of a rarity, and there's no procedural stuff to deal with anymore.

  • $\begingroup$ Hobbs is right, there's no requirement to sign portable, but you'll find until you get to know the locals better, you'll get a lot of "So are you visiting from out town?" That's part of the reason I changed my call. $\endgroup$
    – Duston
    Jun 2, 2020 at 13:09
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    $\begingroup$ Perfect, thanks hobbs. And to @Duston's point, that has occurred to me, especially with me having a 6 callsign up in Oregon! But I'm used to my 2x1 callsign, after about 40 years. And they'll probably know I'm from California anyway, from, like, my accent? :-) $\endgroup$
    – Bill Foote
    Jun 2, 2020 at 18:14

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