People want vanity callsigns for a variety of reasons but are often confused on where to start. While the process can seems confusing, once you have seen it it makes more sense. Before you start, make sure you are registered with the FCCs Universal Licensing System (ULS) found at: https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/systems-utilities/universal-licensing-system .
Once you have your login, start at the FCC ULS main page by clicking on the “File Online” option indicated above with an orange arrow. Make sure you have your FRN (ten digit FCC assigned number) and password ready.
Worth noting is the FCC page can be very slow at times. It is not uncommon at the time of writing to receive time out errors and have to start again. As with all things HAM and Government related you need patience here.
Double check that all the information on this page is correct. If it is not, you can correct it from the left hand frame bar. If everything looks good, select “Request Vanity Call Sign” in the right window as indicated by the orange arrow.
If you are applying for a vanity call sign for yourself, then both these questions should be answered no. At the time of writing the fee for an amateur vanity call sign is free.
If you are applying for a new vanity call sign, one you or a close relative have never held, select the first option.
On the next page you will get to select the call sign you want to request. All amateur call signs start with a K, N, or W. They then can be followed my a letter or a number, but all call signs have a number between zero and nine. After the number there will be 2-3 letters for a personal call sign. For example:
W2KN: Would be a 1×2 call sign (Very hard to get)
W2KNN Would be a 1×3 call sign (Hard to get)
WA2KN: Would be a 2×2 call sign
WA2KNN: Would be a 2×3 call sign (What your first call sign probably was)
Technician class license can apply for 1×3 or 2×3 callsigns. If you want something shorter you will need to upgrade your amateur radio license to general or higher.
Before you request a callsign you should obviously check if it is available. You can check the status of a HAM call sign at the FCC Lookup Page. I suggest finding at the least 3-4 call signs that you are interested in (you can list up to 25). Once you request your call signs you will receive notification if they were awarded or not at midnight on the 17th day. For example if you applied today you would get your callsign on: Monday, April 10th, 2023
Hopefully this will help clear up some of the questions that have been floating around. If we got something wrong or you have questions or comments, let us know in the discussion forum.