I don’t usually get pulled into historical investigations, but I recently found something interesting about my call sign, KØNR. I received this vanity call in April 2002. Before me, Craig Larson W3MS held this call sign starting in 1975. These are the only two entries in the FCC database (Universal Licensing System).
The story starts with me poking around the Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications (DLARC), an online archive of radio communications media. I search on “K0NR” and got a number of hits, including an entry from a 1962 Callbook. Back in the olden days, ham radio callsigns and contact info were published in a thick book, kind of like a phone book.
The callsign was listed with “USNR” in the name or organization field. I wasn’t sure what USNR meant so I asked for help via Twitter. Quite a few people came back with “United States Naval Reserve”, which did turn out to be correct. The graphic below is from the 1962 call book and it has multiple callsigns labeled USNR and one labeled USN.
Then N8URE poked around and came up with this from a 1960 telephone book:
So there you have it: it was common for Naval Reserve centers to have amateur radio call signs assigned to them. For obvious reasons, they tended to have NR in the call sign. K0NR was assigned to the station in Dubuque, IA.
Thanks for the help from: W5IPA, N8URE, K8BCR, K4ZDH
73 Bob, Kilo Zero Naval Reserve