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September 22, 2014
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VE Manual : Obtaining a new call sign

New amateurs may get on the air once their license has been granted and their call sign has been assigned. According to 97.9(a), the FCC authorizes operation on the basis of the license data appearing in their amateur service licensee data base. First-time licensees no longer have to wait until they receive the actual "hard copy" license document. The rule requiring licensees to have a "paper" document in their possession when operating on the amateur airwaves has been dropped.

VE teams should advise examinees that some applications may have to be held temporarily at the VEC Office and not filed with the balance of the test session. This may be caused if:

* an applicant has more than one application "in the pipeline" at the same time, or;

* other problems exist ...such as illegible, incomplete, questionable or wrong application information.

Only complete and error-free NCVEC Form 605s may be transmitted to the FCC. The Commission also permits only one NCVEC Form 605 application per applicant to be filed at a time.

All licensees may obtain their new call sign by telephoning W5YI-VEC at: (800) 669-9594 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (CST). As a general rule, new call signs are available about two weeks after testing ...although they could be available in 2 to 3 days depending upon how fast the test session paperwork is sent to the VEC.

The FCC posts all license grants to their web server on the Internet, but it is very difficult to read. All FCC call sign information is compressed and contained in six different files which must be combined into a relational database. An easier way to get new call signs from the Internet is to access the QRZ, WM7D, ARRL or other Internet servers that offer call sign lookups.

The FCC Universal Licensing System (ULS) database lists all license information probably the fastest. On the FCC ULS License Search page click on License Search, then change the pull down to search by name. Then enter applicant's name -- Last name first, followed by a comma and then first name.

QRZ.com and FCC's ULS databases also provide the applicant's "FCC Registration Number" (FRN) which may be used in place of a Social Security Number (SSN) on a subsequent application. Most applicant FRN's are initially generated as a result of the "automatic registration" of an applicant's Social Security Number during the VEC electronic filing process.


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