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I passed my Technician exam today and my grandma, who's been a ham for decades, suggested that I could try to get my grandpa's call sign. He passed away several years ago, but his FCC registration is still marked active, expiring later this year. From what I've read, this would probably be surmountable by making the right kind of notification to FCC and then making a vanity request for it. But here's the rub: it's a KH6???, which I've read are reserved for pacific island addresses. That makes sense since he probably lived in Hawaii when he got it (and I grew up there), though he kept it for decades after moving to Oregon.

Is there any sort of familial transfer process that could get that call assigned to me in California?

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    $\begingroup$ I suggest you stop asking questions and just go ahead and apply for the vanity. The FCC will either allow the vanity call assignment to you or they will deny it. If they deny, they will tell you the reason. Your question then is essentially answered by the best expert source. $\endgroup$ – K7PEH May 18 '15 at 13:43
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    $\begingroup$ Having relatives that live in KH area, that can forward mails to your current address COULD be enough. Maybe a PO Box is even possible. Ask the FCC for an official response! As an example, when I got my current ham license I was already living in Japan for several years. I used an old address in the 6-area (CA) that is able to forward snail mails to me. $\endgroup$ – sessyargc.jp May 18 '15 at 20:15
  • $\begingroup$ wireless.fcc.gov/services/… Read the bullet points carefully. I think those are the clinchers. GL es 73! $\endgroup$ – sessyargc.jp May 19 '15 at 4:47
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Is there any sort of familial transfer process that could get that call assigned to me in California?


There are 3 types of vanity call sign requests:
Primary station preference list
Close relative of former holder
Former primary station holder

For your case you can apply for "Close relative of former holder".

Generally, vanity calls can not be assigned outside specific call areas but there seems to be an exception when the request type is "By Close Relative of Former Holder Now Deceased".

Request Types: By Close Relative of Former Holder Now Deceased

For your primary station, you may request a call sign that was previously assigned to the primary, secondary, repeater, auxiliary link, control or space station of your now-deceased spouse, child, grandchild, stepchild, parent, grandparent, stepparent, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or in-law. An "in-law" is limited to a parent, stepparent, sibling, or step-sibling of a licensee's spouse; the spouse of a licensee's sibling, step-sibling, child, or stepchild; or the spouse of a licensee’s spouse’s sibling or step-sibling. When so requesting for your primary station:

- You may request the former call sign of a close relative now deceased even though it has been unassigned for less than two years. Upon the death of the holder, a call sign is assignable immediately to an otherwise eligible primary station of a close relative once it has been cancelled from the database.

- You must be an Amateur Extra Class operator to request a Group A call sign.

- You must be an Amateur Extra or Advanced Class operator to request a Group B call sign.

- You must be an Amateur Extra, Advanced, General, Technician Plus, or Technician Class operator to request a Group C call sign.

- You must be an Amateur Extra, Advanced, General, Technician Plus, Technician or Novice class operator to request a Group D call sign.

- Your mailing address does not have to be in a Region designated in the sequential system for the call sign requested. A call sign requested by a close relative of former holder now deceased may be in any Region.

- You must show your relationship to the deceased person exactly as listed in the instruction, i.e., "child", "niece" or "in-law".

More answers to Frequently Asked Questions here.

On a separate note, normally vanity calls can not be assigned outside call areas. Normal, in which you were neither a relative of the deceased previous owner of the call nor actual previous owner of the call, applications fall under the "Primary station preference list" category.

Q: My mailing address is in (one of the 48 contiguous states). May I request a Group A call sign designated in Amateur Station Call Sign Systems for Navassa Island?
A. No. You do not have an address on Navassa Island where you can receive mail delivery by the United States Postal Service ("USPS"). As a operating aid for ?the amateur service community, certain places such as Navassa Island are designated small blocks of unique call signs. In the Memorandum Opinion and Order, 10 FCC Rcd 11135 (1995), the FCC decided to limit the assignability of call signs designated for these places to preclude the possibility of the call signs becoming quickly depleted. Therefore, Amateur Station Call Sign Systems provides that for Alaska, Hawaii, and the Caribbean and Pacific Insular Areas, only licensees having a mailing addresses where mail delivery by the USPS can be received in the specific state, commonwealth or island can request a call sign designated for that specific state, commonwealth or island.



72 es GL in the application!

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, I knew I'd seen something limiting the Hawaii call signs, but I couldn't find it again later. The bold at the end of your answer is exactly that. And I hadn't been able to find the mailing address exemption for Relative of Former Holder, which is exactly what applies here. $\endgroup$ – Eric Angell May 20 '15 at 20:26
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Vanity call signs are covered by §97.19:

(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:

[...]

(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

There is no restriction on the numeral in the call sign according to region. As the ARRL puts it:

First, the FCC does not limit the Vanity call sign choice numeral (0-9). For example, you can be a W1-land addressee, and have a W6 (California) type call if you so desire.

Also, aside from a very few FCC-limited choices, Extra class licensees can choose virtually any vacant but valid US call sign -- FCC call sign Groups A, B, C or D. Although Advanced class licensees cannot seek the special 1x2, 2x1 or 2x2 (beginning with letter "A") Extra class type call signs, they can seek a 2x2 or 1x3 call sign (beginning with prefix N, K or W), or a 2x3 call sign (beginning with prefix letter K or W) -- FCC call sign Groups B, C or D. General or Technician class licensees can seek a 1x3 call sign (beginning with prefix N, K or W), or 2x3 call sign (beginning with prefix letter K or W) -- FCC call sign Groups C or D. Novice licensees also have access to the Vanity program. Novices can seek a 2x3 call sign (beginning with prefix letter K or W) of their choice -- FCC call sign Group D.

The FCC excludes a few calls from vanity assignments, none of which seem to apply to "KH6???":

  1. KA2AA-KA9ZZ, KC4AAA-KC4AAF, KC4USA-KC4USZ, KG4AA-KG4ZZ, KC6AA-KC6ZZ, KL9KAA- KL9KHZ, KX6AA-KX6ZZ;
  2. Any call sign having the letters SOS or QRA-QUZ as the suffix;
  3. Any call sign having the letters AM-AZ as the prefix (these prefixes are assigned to other countries by the ITU);
  4. Any 2-by-3 format call sign having the letter X as the first letter of the suffix;
  5. Any 2-by-3 format call sign having the letters AF, KF, NF, or WF as the prefix and the letters EMA as the suffix (U.S Government FEMA stations);
  6. Any 2-by-3 format call sign having the letters AA-AL as the prefix;
  7. Any 2-by-3 format call sign having the letters NA-NZ as the prefix;
  8. Any 2-by-3 format call sign having the letters WC, WK, WM, WR, or WT as the prefix (Group X call signs);
  9. Any 2-by-3 format call sign having the letters KP, NP or WP as the prefix and the numeral 0, 6, 7, 8 or 9;
  10. Any 2-by-2 format call sign having the letters KP, NP or WP as the prefix and the numeral 0, 6, 7, 8 or 9;
  11. Any 2-by-1 format call sign having the letters KP, NP or WP as the prefix and the numeral 0, 6, 7, 8 or 9;
  12. Call signs having the single letter prefix (K, N or W), a single digit numeral 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and a single letter suffix are reserved for the special event call sign system.

Of course the transfer happens more or less at the pleasure of the FCC, so the only way to know for sure is to make the application and see.

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    $\begingroup$ The issue is that certain prefixes can not be assigned to a person if you don't live (or have a mailing address in a specific region). qsl.net/aa3rr/Vanity%20Call%20Signs.htm check the text under "Mailing address". This is officially mentioned in the FCC website: wireless.fcc.gov/services/… $\endgroup$ – sessyargc.jp May 18 '15 at 20:07
  • $\begingroup$ @sessyargc.jp I don't see anything in your FCC reference to support that claim -- the FCC link seems to merely lay out the rules for sequentially assigned (ie, not vanity) call signs. And I would hardly call some ham's personal website an authority on regulations. The FCC does have a list of calls not available for vanity assignment, and although my eyes glaze over every time I try to read the list, I don't think the call in question matches any of those exclusions. $\endgroup$ – Phil Frost - W8II May 19 '15 at 0:47
  • $\begingroup$ Vanity call signs are normal call signs that can be requested by a person or club. A ham can not construct his/her own call using arbitrary sequence of letters/numbers. Call signs (vanity or sequential) are assigned per geographic region based strictly on the licensee's mailing address. "KH6" KH is a prefix for a call in Region 13 that applies to all license classes. The "KH6" call is specifically for Hawaii given the numeral "6" after the prefix. $\endgroup$ – sessyargc.jp May 19 '15 at 4:36
  • $\begingroup$ @sessyargc.jp Yes, and the "AC8" prefix is specifically for Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia when sequentially assigning call signs. But when that call expires and becomes eligible for vanity assignment, there's no reason someone in any other part of the US can't get it. I don't see why KH6 would be any different, and I can find no official source that says it is. Can you? $\endgroup$ – Phil Frost - W8II May 19 '15 at 11:49
  • $\begingroup$ It is a case-by-case basis. In the OP's case, he/she can get the vanity call sign without limitation of call areas provided the proof of relationship is verified. Yes, the official information is in the FCC ULS site. $\endgroup$ – sessyargc.jp May 19 '15 at 23:28

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