|Effective March 24, 1978 the FCC began issuing all Amateur Radio station call signs "systematically" - that is, in strict alphabetical order within four format blocks called Group A, B, C and D. The shorter (and theoretically more desirable) call signs were allocated to Group A ...the longest (2-by-3 format) call signs were allocated to Group D. These are the call sign groupings for the various license
classes for radioamateurs with continental (48 contiguous states) mailing addresses:
|FOR STATIONS WITH MAILING ADDRESSES LOCATED IN THE 48 CONTIGUOUS (MAINLAND) UNITED STATES
||CALL SIGN FORMAT
||1-by-2 call signs beginning with the prefix letter K, N or W; 2-by-1 call signs beginning with the prefix letters AA to AK, KA to KZ, NA to NZ and WA to WZ ...and 2-by-2 call signs beginning with the prefix letters AA to AK. Certain two letter prefixes are not available to mainland U.S. radioamateurs. ( See below ).
Be sure to read the How can I get a 1-by-2 or a 2-by-1 call sign at the bottom of this FAQ section if you are applying for a 1-by-2 or a 2-by-1 call sign.
||2-by-2 call signs beginning with the prefix letters KA to KZ, NA to NZ and WA to WZ -- but not AA-AK.
||Technician, Tech Plus and General Class
||1-by-3 call sign formats beginning with K, N or W -- but not the prefix letter "A".
||2-by-3 call sign formats beginning with KA to KZ and WA to WZ -- but not NA-NZ.
FOR STATIONS WITH MAILING ADDRESSES OUTSIDE OF THE 48 CONTIGUOUS (MAINLAND) UNITED STATES
Certain 2-letter prefixes are reserved for Amateurs with mailing addresses outside of the 48 contiguous states. AH, KH, NH and WH prefixes are reserved for the Pacific Area (Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa and certain other small U.S. island possessions); AL, KL, NL and WL prefixes are reserved for Alaska and KP, NP and WP prefixes are reserved for the Atlantic Area (U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and certain other small U.S. Caribbean and South Atlantic island possessions.) These 2-letter prefixes may NOT be selected under the Vanity Call Sign System by radioamateurs with mailing addresses in the 48 (mainland) U.S. states. (Note: It is not required that you reside in these areas, only that your mailing address is there.)
As a general rule (and there are exceptions) under the Vanity Call Sign System, Amateur Extra Class radio operators qualify for Group A, B, C or D station call sign formats. Advanced Class operators qualify for Group B, C or D formats. Technician, Tech Plus and General Class operators qualify for Group C or D. Novice operators qualify only for a Group D call sign.