Vanity Calls – More practical than vain

When I was a Grasshopper Ham, and somehow stumbled my way through the 20 wpm code requirement then in effect to become an Extra Class, I wanted something more than KT4QK.  I wanted my initials (vainly, but in vain), because K4WR or W4WR were not available when the vanity calls came out in the nineties.  Living in the South, I wanted a “four” call so I did limit myself that way.

In truth, it seemed that one of those calls might be available as it had expired and not been renewed by an older ham in Alabama.  It wasn’t really up for grabs yet as less than two years had passed since expiration, so I surmised he had passed on to the land of ham radio nirvana (you know, then one where there’s no qrm or qrn and the sun spots are always hot and the DX always hears you), but I felt funny trying to reach his widow or family to see if he’d died so I didn’t do it.  Instead, I settled on K4WK (Wayne K Robertson is my name) and I love it; dandy for CW.

WA4YNE was available at the time and momentarily tempted me as something clever, but as one who operates CW more than Phone, felt it would be kind of messy, a sort of morse code tongue-twister.

WA4YNE has now been claimed by a ham named Thomas but his middle initial is W so maybe that’s for Wayne, and W4WR is now owned by someone who’s initials match, so I hope everyone’s happy and radioactive.

This is Wayne,  k4wk,  Thanks for listening; you’re in the log.

Wayne Robertson, K4WK, is a regular contributor to and writes from Georgia, USA.

8 Responses to “Vanity Calls – More practical than vain”

  • Newt N4EWT:

    I was lucky to get both a clever and fairly good cw call when I snagged N4EWT. Since I became an extra I am torn between keeping that one one something ‘simpler.’ For now I think I will keep my name call.

  • Al May WA2KFV:

    When I upgraded to Extra I thought it would be neat to have an “Extra” style call. Being a procrastinator I never got around to it. Now I’m glad because the call I was first issued in 1960 has a lot of memories associated with it and surprisingly some of my original contact hams have once again found me.

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    1964 I got KN7ZOV, followed by K7ZOV then when I got my Extra I looked into a vanity call and found K7ZO was available. I decided against it. Too many decades of this call and people calling me K7VOV, K7BOV, K7BOB AND sometimes they get it right and call me K7ZOV. It is me.. has been my and always will be me to the very end….

    73 Harry K7ZOV and proud of it…

  • Fred AE2DX:

    Before I Upgraded from Advanced call N2DCP to present call I visited a old shipmate of mine and found out he was a HAM also I liked his call AE9DX so when I upgraded I wanted AE4DX living in Florida but it wasn’t available so went with AE2DX having a previous 2 call and was granted. I have been collecting QSL cards with 2X2 calls ending with DX as to date I have collected 56 from all over the world.

  • Dave n0wft:

    my original call n0wft and I like it because my wife got a Vanity call of n8wft nice. it really confuses every one and keeps on their toes. Gigi have a nice day
    . 73
    . Dave @ Teresa

  • Dave n0wft:

    that was hi hi not gi gi

  • Gery Allen NA5GA:

    We all have our own reasons for obtaining a vanity call sign LOL — Mine was a simple choice — I live in North America — so NA was ideal for the prefix — I live in zone 5 so that was a no brainer. I can also remember my initials — so GA was a natural choice LOL — I know that using the ITU Phonetic Alphabet is suggested and recommended — and I do that from time to time — but I also like to fool around a bit so my “CQ” might come out as “North America 5 Great America” — or “November Alpha 5 Golf Alpha” — or even “North America 5 Germany America” — Oh well — whatever works and gets the message out there is just fine with me. The important thing is — get on the air – talk to others — spread good will whenever possible.


    I just earned my Extra and submitted a total of almost 75 vanity requests. I applied for every 4 char, 1X2, 2X1, and call sign starting with an “A” available as well as every call sign with a PJ in it. My old sign was N1PPJ. I love/d it. It’s got a 1 for my correct region (NH) and my full initials PPJ.

    Well as a result I now have AC3PJ. I had to accept a ‘3’ cuz there were no 1’s available that meet my criteria. It starts with an ‘A’ so I’ve got silent braggin’ rights and obvious full band privileges. It’s got “PJ”, my first and last initals. Admittedly I’ll have to add a “/1” when contesting so I don’t get the ire of any of my kindred hams, but I’m happy with this sign and I’ll take it to my SK casket! ha ha – Pete Jones Concord NH

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