Call signs in the United States used to be very easy for one Ham Operator to tell which area in the US the Ham they were talking to was from! A 6 call was from California or some state near, or a 0 call was New York or a state near New York, they did not even need to look at the call map! Today a Amateur Radio Operator can move from North Carolina where it is a 4 call to Texas where it is a 5 call and keep their 4 call.
Call signs (in the United States) consist of one or two letters, a number, and one to three more letters. The first part of the call sign denoted what country they are from, with the US being A, AA – AK K, KA – KK, KM – KW, KX – KZ, N, NA – NK, NM – NW, NM – NW, NX – NZ, WA – WK, WM – WO, WQ – WW, and WX – WZ.
Also in the US, AA – AK was issued only to Amateur Extras. Each country has been assigned a country designation by a governing body. This group is made up from representatives from all over the world and is not only concerned with ham communication but all communication. I am not going to get into the designations for the countries. There are several charts available that shows the different designations and the country it relates to. The number in the Call Sign tells what part of the US they reside in.
0 (zero) told they reside in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri,Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota.
1 in the call sign Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont.
2 is New Jersey, New York.
3 is Delaware, D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania.
4 is Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina,
5 is Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas.
6 is California.
7 is Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Wyoming.
8 is Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia.
9 is Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin.
Hawaii and Alaska have a little different scheme in their call sign.AL0-7, KL0-7, NL0-7, WL0-7 is Alaska. AH6-7, KH6-7, NH6-7, WH6-7 is Hawaii.
The first part of the call sign told what country the Ham Call was from and the number told what area, the last one to three letters of the call sign is never issued to another Ham in a call sign that has the same first letters and area number.
This makes a call sign only one of a kind in the world. A valid call sign could consist of 1 letter, a number, and 1 more letter. In Alaska or Hawaii a valid call could be two letters, a number, and one letter!
Source by Dave Glass