The unique alphanumeric identifier that amateur radio (aka ham radio) operators use to identify themselves and their station in radio transmissions.

All amateur radio licenses, by international convention, have prefixes, a numerical identifier, and a suffix. The prefix identifies nation, the numerical identifier identifies location or license class, and the suffix identifies the individual operator. Developed or highly populated nations tend to follow sequential license programs, while less developed and less populated nations allow for great leeway in designing your own call. Coincidentally, the former King of Jordan had one of the most prestigious calls of all, JY1.

American "hams" use the prefixes WA - WZ, KA - KZ, NA - NZ, and AA - AL. The numerals 0 - 9 indicate geographical area, with California and Hawaii as 6 and Alaska as 7. Higher classes of licenses used to have more prestigious calls as an incentive for upgrading. AT the current time the number of "elite" calls signs available have dwindled significantly.

The order of call signs by class:

TECHNICIAN AND GENERAL Class

2x3 calls. For example, KD2xxx

EXTRA Class

2x2 "A" prefix calls. For example, AE2xx.

In the Vanity callsign lottery conducted by the FCC, operators can lease call signs for ten year terms. Though most of the 1x2 (W1AW) or 2x1 old Extra calls are almost completely gone, the old Advanced Class call signs are still available (2x2, KA9xx) as well as 1x3 (N2xxx). The cost of the lease varies every year, though it usually costs no more than US $30.

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