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I'm a US extra class, but a little late to the party, so to get a short 1x2 I have to fight it out at the vanity call sign fair. I thought I understood the rules, but apparently I don't.

The only chance we have to get a concise 1x2 call sign (or by all means 2x1) is to get one that has been cancelled or expired and not renewed. In my research I found that the case of cancelled is most likely. The web sites are misleading as they show the original expiration date next to the cancelled status. But since I am fluent in data, I downloaded the full data dump and went hunting and found some candidates. I thought a callsign becomes available if not claimed otherwise after 2 years of the cancellation date.

But apparently I am wrong. I had an application dismissed. But the call sign I was eying for is still not otherwise assigned and it was cancelled more than 2 years ago as of the date on my application. Why was my application dismissed then (after waiting 18 + then some days for the automated decision)? Where do we find the exact rules (and how they are actually implemented)? I don't suppose there is any official I can ask with some kind of dispute over their decision, or is there a way to argue a decision?

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Your application submitted on February 18th requested two callsigns.

One of them was granted to another application submitted on the 16th, and so was unavailable when yours was processed, even though it hadn't yet been assigned when you made your application. If you submitted on the 16th or 17th you would have had a chance to get that one (along with 12 other people who submitted), but the 18th was too late.

The other callsign you requested was canceled in June of 2019, and therefore isn't available for assignment until June of 2021. You can still try for it then.

The exact rules are in Part 97, and you can find some useful explanatory text on AE7Q.

There is an appeals process, but it won't do you any good in this case.

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    $\begingroup$ wow, that reply feels eerie how you know exactly what happened in my case, but it is of course all public information and the most precise answer. I was a couple of days late to be participating in the lottery. And I do see now that indeed that change is made in the callsign database. So gone is the W9 1x2. I just have to live with KS8U for the rest of my life I suppose. But then I'm in good company as you have a 2x1 as well. $\endgroup$ Mar 17 at 17:05
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    $\begingroup$ @GuntherSchadow yeah, didn't mean to freak you out, but as you said... data. It's out there :) $\endgroup$ Mar 17 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ Can I ask a follow-up? Since they are waiting these excruciating 18 days to act, what would have happened if I had submitted my application 6 days before the actual 24 month waiting period after cancellation was up? Would they have dismissed my application because the submission date was before the waiting period end, or would they have stuck my application into the same lottery pool to be drawn 2 days after the waiting period was up? $\endgroup$ Mar 17 at 17:10
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    $\begingroup$ @GuntherSchadow only callsigns available on the day your application is received are considered; if there are none of those then it will be dismissed. (Of course they also have to be available the day it's processed, but if you submit on the first possible day then it won't change in the meantime except in very rare circumstances). $\endgroup$ Mar 17 at 17:16
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    $\begingroup$ @GuntherSchadow examples of "rare circumstances" would be someone filing a "family member or former holder" application right before it would have become available to everyone else, or the FCC reviewing and deciding that a cancellation was made in error because the holder wasn't actually deceased (I saw this once). $\endgroup$ Mar 17 at 17:21
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Here is the most relevant section of 47 CFR:

§ 97.19 Application for a vanity call sign.

(a) The person named in an operator/primary station license grant or in a club station license grant is eligible to make application for modification of the license grant, or the renewal thereof, to show a call sign selected by the vanity call sign system. Effective February 14, 2011, the person named in a club station license grant that shows on the license a call sign that was selected by a trustee is not eligible for an additional vanity call sign. (The person named in a club station license grant that shows on the license a call sign that was selected by a trustee is eligible for a vanity call sign for his or her operator/primary station license grant on the same basis as any other person who holds an operator/primary station license grant.) Military recreation stations are not eligible for a vanity call sign.

(b) Each application for a modification of an operator/primary or club station license grant, or the renewal thereof, to show a call sign selected by the vanity call sign system must be filed in accordance with § 1.913 of this chapter.

(c) Unassigned call signs are available to the vanity call sign system with the following exceptions:

(1) A call sign shown on an expired license grant is not available to the vanity call sign system for 2 years following the expiration of the license.

(2) A call sign shown on a surrendered or canceled license grant (except for a license grant that is canceled pursuant to § 97.31) is not available to the vanity call sign system for 2 years following the date such action is taken. (The availability of a call sign shown on a license canceled pursuant to § 97.31 is governed by paragraph (c)(3) of this section.)

(i) This 2-year period does not apply to any license grant pursuant to paragraph (c)(3)(i), (ii), or (iii) of this section that is surrendered, canceled, revoked, voided, or set aside because the grantee acknowledged or the Commission determined that the grantee was not eligible for the exception. In such a case, the call sign is not available to the vanity call sign system for 30 days following the date such action is taken, or for the period for which the call sign would not have been available to the vanity call sign system pursuant to paragraphs (c)(2) or (3) of this section but for the intervening grant to the ineligible applicant, whichever is later.

(ii) An applicant to whose operator/primary station license grant, or club station license grant for which the applicant is the trustee, the call sign was previously assigned is exempt from the 2-year period set forth in paragraph (c)(2) of this section.

(3) A call sign shown on a license canceled pursuant to § 97.31 of this part is not available to the vanity call sign system for 2 years following the person's death, or for 2 years following the expiration of the license grant, whichever is sooner. If, however, a license is canceled more than 2 years after the licensee's death (or within 30 days before the second anniversary of the licensee's death), the call sign is not available to the vanity call sign system for 30 days following the date such action is taken. The following applicants are exempt from this 2-year period:

(i) An applicant to whose operator/primary station license grant, or club station license grant for which the applicant is the trustee, the call sign was previously assigned; or

(ii) An applicant who is the spouse, child, grandchild, stepchild, parent, grandparent, stepparent, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or in-law of the person now deceased or of any other deceased former holder of the call sign, provided that the vanity call sign requested by the applicant is from the group of call signs corresponding to the same or lower class of operator license held by the applicant as designated in the sequential call sign system; or

(iii) An applicant who is a club station license trustee acting with a written statement of consent signed by either the licensee ante mortem but who is now deceased, or by at least one relative as listed in paragraph (c)(3)(ii) of this section, of the person now deceased or of any other deceased former holder of the call sign, provided that the deceased former holder was a member of the club during his or her life.

(d) The vanity call sign requested by an applicant must be selected from the group of call signs corresponding to the same or lower class of operator license held by the applicant as designated in the sequential call sign system.

(1) The applicant must request that the call sign shown on the license grant be vacated and provide a list of up to 25 call signs in order of preference. In the event that the Commission receives more than one application requesting a vanity call sign from an applicant on the same receipt day, the Commission will process only the first such application entered into the Universal Licensing System. Subsequent vanity call sign applications from that applicant with the same receipt date will not be accepted.

(2) The first assignable call sign from the applicant's list will be shown on the license grant. When none of those call signs are assignable, the call sign vacated by the applicant will be shown on the license grant.

(3) Vanity call signs will be selected from those call signs assignable at the time the application is processed by the FCC.

(4) A call sign designated under the sequential call sign system for Alaska, Hawaii, Caribbean Insular Areas, and Pacific Insular areas will be assigned only to a primary or club station whose licensee's mailing address is in the corresponding state, commonwealth, or island. This limitation does not apply to an applicant for the call sign as the spouse, child, grandchild, stepchild, parent, grandparent, stepparent, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or in-law, of the former holder now deceased.

So those are the core of the vanity call sign regulations, verbatim. I haven't read them; the FCC may have left themselves some room in there for flexible policies as far as they are implemented.

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    $\begingroup$ thanks, it turns out that I did understand the rules, and what I missed was 24 hours in both my application submission deadline and my check of the results. $\endgroup$ Mar 17 at 17:07

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