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Old April 2nd 07, 07:21 PM posted to
Paul W. Schleck[_3_] Paul W. Schleck[_3_] is offline
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Default March 9 2007 License Numbers

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In . com "AF6AY" writes:


Curiously, there has been a growth of Club licenses
granted in the last year. I would have thought that Club
licenses were relatively static since the overall licensee
totals showed little growth or decline in numbers?

73, Len AF6AY

I agree that this is a very non-intuitive result at first glance. One
reasonable explanation would appear to be that there was a lot of
pent-up demand for club licenses from over the relatively long period of
time during which they were not issued, which was from at least 1978 to
1995. The official FCC answer on the subject of club and special (i.e.,
"Vanity") callsigns during that time was that it was too much of an
administrative burden to grant them. The FCC was also using a
relatively inflexible, legacy Honeywell system to track and issue
amateur radio licenses. Those that held licenses during that time,
licenses that were impact-printed on smudgy carbon "burst" forms, might
note that they were only issued one day a week (Thursday, I believe).
Existing club licenses could be renewed, but if they expired and passed
out of their grace period without renewal, they could not be reissued.
I understand that the grandfathered club licenses were tracked by the
FCC manually in an index card catalog.

I can attest personally to the fact that when members of the local
amateur radio and USAF veterans' communities noticed that the FCC was
going to allow club licenses and vanity callsigns again, they jumped at
the chance to recover a couple of them that had expired many years ago.
This included the base MARS/military-recreation station at Offutt Air
Force Base, K0AIR, and the personal Nebraska callsign of General Curtis
LeMay when he was the Commander-in-Chief of Strategic Air Command,
K0GRL. The club that was formed to hold these callsigns, and use them
for special events like Veteran's Day/General LeMay's birthday, has a
home page at:

Other local clubs availed themselves of the opportunity to obtain
special, distinctive callsigns for repeaters, contest stations, to honor
deceased members who made significant contributions to the
hobby/service, and the like. I think that the FCC has struck an
appropriate balance between allowing a reasonable number of such club
callsigns for legitimate use (such as to identify different stations or
operational missions and resources) on one hand, versus discouraging
callsign hoarding/banking on the other. I feel that it is appropriate
to recover distinctive callsigns to honor deceased amateurs who made
significant contributions to the hobby/service, and place them in
special trust/usage. As long as it doesn't degrade to the point that
huge swaths of desirable callsigns are taken out of use for other
amateurs. I recall a "Tank McNamara" comic strip some years back with
two team managers looking out over the starting lineup of a baseball
game. One says to the other something like, "Maybe we should stop
retiring numbers," as all of the players had increasingly lengthy, and
tiny, numbers on the backs of their uniforms.

- --
73, Paul W. Schleck, K3FU
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