Re: Alpha Numeric confusion!

Peter Laws

On Mon, Jan 24, 2022 at 1:10 PM FenDrifter via
<essexmarshman@...> wrote:

Hi Peter
Many thanks for your reply, in which I suspect you’ve answered my question. But, to be sure, have a look at Paul’s logging here:,,,20,0,0,0::recentpostdate/sticky,,,20,2,0,88418148,previd=1643048957210730795,nextid=1642113225131194308&previd=1643048957210730795&nextid=1642113225131194308
Yeah, so pulling "1332 - 3SH" at random and inserting that into the
google machine, gave me this (among others):

I was surprised to see that the Australians didn't list the prefix
even back then ... but it's possible I'm confused about "VL" and that
AUS broadcast callsigns never had a prefix.

In the US, it's been W and 2 or three letters since the start of
broadcast radio. Before that, ship stations started with K. And then
they started to run out of W calls for broadcasting so they said, 'OK,
those folks out west that are barely in the US will use K'. And then
that dividing line ended up at the Mississippi R where it sort-of
exists today. Sort-of, because I don't believe that the relevant
regulations actually require it any more.

There are "legacy" W callsigns west of the river (WKY here in OKC,
WBAP and WOAI down in Texas and many others) and there are a *few* Ks
to the east (KDKA Pittsburgh because it seems to have received the
first *broadcast* license and KDKA probably meant that the ship
station license earlier that morning got KDJZ, and KYW at the other
end of the Penna Turnpike, which was physically moved from Chicago in
the 1930s and maybe the call letters were engraved on the cabinets?).

In the ham radio world, at least in the US and Canada, early callsigns
started with the radio district number (my alma mater was issued "5YM"
in 1916). Amateurs didn't get letter prefixes (W in the US) until
1927 when it was clear that world-wide transmissions were actually A
Thing. Canadian hams got VE, probably around the same time.

If you scroll around in that link above, you can see a BBC-owned short
wave station with call G5SW.

To me, callsigns are part of what makes radio nerdy for me. I'm sad
to see them dying in favor of "Bob-FM" or "Capital Radio" or "CBS
Sports Radio".

Peter Laws | N5UWY | plaws plaws net | Travel by Train!

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