The USA vs Europe

Disclaimer – this is meant to be a bit of humor – let’s not all get offended!

There are many differences between the USA and Europe:

First off, Europe would fit inside the USA.

You call it petrol, we call it gasoline.
You call them chips (or whatever), we call them fries.
You use the metric system, we’re still on standard.
You use Celsius, we use Fahrenheit.
You call it the cinema, we call it the movies.

And so on, and so on, and so on ……….

But as a Ham, I’ve noticed a big difference in the way we approach special event stations.  Here in the US, for the most part but not always, we apply to the FCC through the ARRL for special 1X1 call signs.  For instance, when the Piscataway Amateur Radio Club celebrated the tri-centennial of the founding of Piscataway, we applied for and used W2P.

The 13 Colonies special event used call signs such as K2I for New Jersey, K2E for Delaware and so on.  The special event station that just celebrated the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 11?  W4A.

But in Europe, you guys take the opposite route!  Special event stations from European nations can be a mouthful.  DM200TSV, SF2014ECC, E72NATO, 3E2000PC, LZ1437MGS and my all time favorite, SV2013ATGM.

What I like about these European call signs is that they try to bear some significance towards the event they are commemorating –  SV2013ATGM was about Alexander the Great, E72NATO celebrated membership in NATO and so on.  A lot more descriptive than 1X1 call signs, that’s for sure.

I’m just waiting to hear one some day that has all the numbers 0 through 9 and all 26 letters of the alphabet. THAT would be a special, special event call sign – a bear to copy, but special, nonetheless!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

5 Responses to “The USA vs Europe”

  • Bob KE5VLI:

    Actually the USA officially adopted the Metric system in 1866. Here is the whole story:

    But I do agree that their special event call signs are very interesting.

  • Richard KWøU:

    Well, for the Bicentennial of the Constitution in 1989 the US had calls like K2øø. And the W1øøAW station is operating this year. I wish there were more like that, but the FCC says it’s too much work.

    Incidentally, there are several candidates for really long calls. Belgium had one a few years ago: ON70REDSTARLINE ( Another biggie was Australia’s Blue Mountain Club’s 50th anniversary: VI2BMARC50 Try those on CW!

  • Arne WA1ZBN:

    And General Class HAMs used to be able to get reciprocal privileges in Europe; but no more. I operated as GM5DIG in Scotland, but as I have not upgraded, I can no longer operate when I am in the UK. What happened? I can still copy & send Morse in excess of 20 wpm! And I have been a licensed HAM for over 50 years!

  • J.R. KD0PKQ:

    An interesting special event callsign currently in use stateside: WW1USA for special event stations over the next 4-5 years coming from the National WWI Memorial and Museum in Kansas City MO

  • Larry W2LJ:


    That’s a lot better than something like W1U. At least with WW1USA, you get a feel for what the station is all about!

    73 de Larry W2LJ

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