(1) You (as an individual radioamateur or club trustee) must be eligible for a specific group call sign. An Extra Class licensee is eligible for any available call sign (Group A, B, C or D.). Advanced Class licensee may select any available Group B, C or D call sign. General, Tech Plus and Technician may select Group C or D. Novices are only eligible for Group D Vanity
call signs. (See call sign groups.)
(2) Vanity call sign assignment is not limited to your call sign district. You can apply for a call sign with any radio district numeral, 0 (zero) through 9.
(3) Refer to the FCC Amateur Service licensee database to verify that the call sign you are requesting is not already assigned. This database is available at various sites on the World Wide Web including:
(ARRL) www.arrl.org/fcc/fcclook.php3, (Buckmaster) www.buck.com/cgi-bin/do_hamcall,
and (WM7D) www.wm7d.net/fcc_uls/ulsquery.html.
A very good Vanity call sign search resource is Eldon Lewis's - K7LS web site RadioQTH.Net located at: www.radioqth.net. This website lists immediately available and soon to be available call signs. Keep in mind, however, that amateurs are constantly filing for specific call signs and a call sign shown as available one minute may not be available the next. You can also query the FCC's ULS database on the web by accessing the application or license search utilities. These can be accessed at www.fcc.gov/wtb/uls. Click on the button labeled
'Application Search' or 'License Search' and use the 'General Search' option. (Amateur Radio Information can be accessed by searching on radio service codes 'HA' - sequentially assigned call signs and 'HV' - vanity call signs. Both can be selected during the same search.)
(4) Even where a call sign does not appear on the database, it may not be available for assignment. Remember, some call signs are not assignable to anyone for various reasons. (See above.)
(5) A call sign is normally assignable two years,plus 30 days, following license expiration or death of the licensee. The Amateur Service database contains licensees with expired licenses, that is, in the "2-year" grace period. Therefore, any call sign that is still in the FCC database and shown as active is not assignable as a Vanity call sign.
(6) Even though the licensee may be deceased for two years, be certain that the call sign of the deceased is still not shown in the Amateur Service database. If it is still in the database, you must send a copy of the death certificate (or a obituary notice from a newspaper) to the FCC and request cancellation of the call sign from the FCC records prior to filing
the application for a Vanity call sign.. Send to: FCC Amateur Section, 1270 Fairfield Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325-7245. A call sign can not be held for you during the cancellation process.
Finally, be aware that thousands of Vanity call signs are issued every year and someone else may also be requesting the same call sign you want. It goes to the application that files on time and is selected by the FCC. Vanity applications filed online are handled first by the FCC. It is always a good idea to select as many call signs as possible to increase your chances of getting a
Vanity call sign.