Have a Question?
< All Topics

What is a vanity call sign and how do I obtain one?

A vanity call sign is a custom amateur radio call sign chosen by the licensee instead of receiving a sequentially assigned call sign from the FCC. Vanity call signs allow operators to have more personalized or easily memorable call signs that may represent their initials, interests, or other preferences.

Here’s how to obtain a vanity call sign in the United States:

  • Determine your eligibility: To apply for a vanity call sign, you must already have a valid amateur radio license. The type of vanity call sign you can request depends on your license class (Technician, General, or Extra).
  • Research available call signs: Before applying for a vanity call sign, you should research the available call signs that meet your preferences and are permissible for your license class. You can use the FCC’s Universal Licensing System (ULS) or other online call sign search tools to check the availability of specific call signs.
  • Check the eligibility of your desired call sign: Vanity call signs must follow the FCC’s call sign format and assignment guidelines. The call sign should be available, not currently assigned to another operator, and not in the two-year period following the expiration or cancellation of a previous assignment.
  • Log in to the FCC ULS: Go to the FCC ULS website (https://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsEntry/licManager/login.jsp) and log in using your FCC Registration Number (FRN) and password. If you haven’t registered an online account before, follow the instructions on the website to create a new account.
  • File the application: Once logged in to the ULS, click on “Apply for a Vanity Call Sign.” Fill in the required information and provide a list of your preferred vanity call signs in order of preference. You can list up to 25 call signs on the application, increasing your chances of getting one of your desired choices.
  • Pay the application fee: As of September 2021, the FCC charges a $35 fee for vanity call sign applications. The fee is subject to change, so always verify the current fee on the FCC’s website. You can pay the fee online using a credit card, debit card, or electronic funds transfer.
  • Wait for the FCC to process your application: The FCC will review your application and, if approved, assign you one of your preferred vanity call signs based on availability. The processing time may vary, but it usually takes a few weeks. You can check the ULS periodically to see if your vanity call sign has been granted.
  • Start using your new vanity call sign: Once your vanity call sign application is approved, and the new call sign appears in the ULS, you can start using it for your amateur radio operations.

By following these steps and ensuring your desired vanity call sign complies with the FCC’s guidelines, you can obtain a personalized call sign that reflects your interests or preferences.

Table of Contents