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How do I obtain a special event call sign?

In the United States, obtaining a special event call sign involves a few steps. Special event call signs are temporary and are used to mark unique occasions, such as ham radio club anniversaries, local events, or commemorations. Here’s how you can obtain a special event call sign:

  • Plan your special event: Determine the date, time, and duration of your special event. Keep in mind that the FCC allows the use of special event call signs for a maximum of 15 days.
  • Check call sign availability: Visit the FCC’s Universal Licensing System (ULS) website to search for available special event call signs. Special event call signs follow a 1×1 format (one letter, followed by a single digit, followed by another letter; e.g., K1A). Make sure your preferred call sign is not already in use during the time of your event.
  • Coordinate with a Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC): In the United States, the issuance of special event call signs is managed by Volunteer Examiner Coordinators. The two main VEC organizations that handle special event call signs are the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and the W5YI-VEC. Reach out to one of these organizations to determine their specific application process.
  • Submit an application: Complete the special event call sign application form provided by the VEC organization you’ve chosen to work with. Include all necessary information, such as the event’s purpose, the desired call sign, and the event’s start and end dates.
  • Wait for approval: After submitting your application, wait for the VEC organization to review and approve your request. Once approved, they will coordinate with the FCC to reserve the special event call sign for your event.
  • Operate under the special event call sign: During the approved time frame, you and other participating amateur radio operators can use the special event call sign. Make sure to follow all FCC rules and regulations while using the special event call sign.
  • Submit logs (if required): Some VEC organizations may require you to submit logs of your special event operations. Check with the VEC you are working with to determine if this is necessary.

By following these steps, you can obtain a special event call sign for your amateur radio event and share the excitement of the occasion with other radio operators on the air.

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