When the holder dies, a call sign is immediately assignable to a "close relative" once it is no longer in the database. You do not have to wait two years before you apply for the call sign. The FCC defines a close relative of a deceased amateur as a spouse, child, grandchild, stepchild, parent, grandparent, stepparent, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or in-law.
You must indicate your relationship to the deceased person on the Vanity call sign application.
But there is an important catch! You must hold a call sign in a Group equal to - or higher than - the deceased. That is, you must be an Amateur Extra Class operator if the deceased held a Group A call sign. It follows that you must be an Amateur Extra or Advanced Class operator to request a Group
B (2-by-2 format) call sign. You must be an Amateur Extra, Advanced, General, Technician Plus, or Technician Class operator to request a Group C (1-by-3 format) call sign . A licensee of any license class may request a Group D (2-by-3 format) call sign.
If the deceased Amateur's call sign is still listed in the licensee database, it must be removed prior to Vanity call sign application. This is accomplished by submitting a signed letter requesting license cancellation accompanied by a copy of the death certificate or an obituary from a newspaper that shows the date of death.
Send to: FCC Amateur Section, 1270 Fairfield Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325-7245 prior to filing the application for a vanity call sign. Be aware that someone could request and obtain this call sign before you do. Call signs cannot be held by the FCC for assignment to anyone.