Obtaining A Vanity Call Sign - A Few Hints
Besides getting my own vanity call sign, W4ZT (was wa4upe), I've helped several other people get their vanity callsigns. They include Bob Warner - K4API (SK)(kg4tfc), Patty King - W4PTK (kg4ncp), Eddie Wilson - K4UN (k4qff), Bob Wilson - W4BW (wa4puj and w4bd), Kathy Wilson - W4KLW (kg4vve), Henry Kelley -W4HK (SK)(km4o), Dennis Morris - K4ZJ (wa4zjj), John Lesak - N4JML (kg4vkj), Chris East - K4HAC (ke4hac), Jackie Steele - W4NUZ (kg4ipw), Daniel Peppers - W4DSP (kf4zat), and Frank Jordan - K4ZC (ka4fhw).
Vanity applications seem to be mysterious to most folks and difficult at best for the vast majority. Most of the problems stem from computers which don't handle java very well.
The following links will point you in the right direction for information, instructions and help. I don't pretend to be the source of information but I can help you with the links that I found useful.

You want to know something about the vanity calls that are available and the process of making application for one. There are multiple resources out there. You will use two most often and they are:

  • http://www.vanityhq.com/ Click on "HELP" along the left side.
  • http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/ This is also where you will file your application.
  • http://www.radioqth.net/ Eldon, K7LS, has put the FCC info into a format useful for Vanity searching.

    The web page at vanityhq.com has several resources that are useful in picking a call sign. The first of these is found along the left side of their page and is titled "CALL SIGN AVAILABILITY". When you click this link you will be given choices that seem confusing at first. Most folks are either looking for a 1x2 call sign (like W4ZT) after obtaining an EXTRA class license or a 1x3 call sign (like W4PTK) to shorten the call they were originally issued or to get their initials or satisfy some other yearning. There are links for call signs that are available immediately and links for those that are date controlled. That is to say those that WILL become available when the 2 year waiting period has elapsed.

    Speaking of the 2 year wait, now is a good time to point out a very important item. DO NOT apply for a call sign until it has been cancelled for 2 years PLUS one day. Do not make the mistake of submitting an application before that time (yes I did it too) because it will be denied for call sign unavailability.

    If you are looking for a 1x2 call and there just don't appear to be any, you can mine one out. That is the process of finding a call sign that belonged to a ham that is deceased but which has not been cancelled. That process is described at vanityhq.com in the message archives. Click on "P" in the archives and look for "Panning for 1x2 Gold: A Reprise" by Alvin, W6WJ.

Once you have picked out a call sign that is available or will be available you will make appliation at the FCC using the Universal Licensing System (ULS): http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/

To make an application you must have a Federal Registration Number (FRN) and it must have your current call sign associated with it. You can obtain an FRN or associate your call sign with your FRN using the Commission Registration System (CORES):

The following links will help you understand the process and get your application handled:

Vanity Application Processing Schedule
Here some facts about the timeline for application processing:

  • Vanity applications are usually processed on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
  • Applications received on Monday are processed on Friday, 18 days later.
  • Applications received on Tuesday are processed on Saturday, 18 days later.
  • Applications received on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday are processed on Tuesday, 18 days after the Friday date.
  • Holidays occuring between the received date and the processed date don't seem to change the schedule. However, Monday holidays cause the Tuesday processing to be a day late.
  • Applications filed on Saturday, Sunday, or a holiday are marked "received" and date stamped the next business day. Applications are processed as a batch job in the early morning hours while the ULS system is off-line. If the batch job fails it may cause grants to be delayed.
NOTE: The FCC will only accept ONE vanity application per day from any one applicant.