Vanity Things To Watch For
FCC Cores Password
Make sure that prior to applying for a vanity call you have registered with CORES, have created a Personal Security Question and remember your password. It has been reported that setting this up is not an immedate process and has resulted in lost opportunities to apply for a desired call on the first available date. To avoid this, make sure this has been taken care of prior to the available date of the desired call. This can be setup by following the instruction located here.
Modifying An Application
Resets Process Date
If you modify an application after it has been initially filed it will reset the processing date. This means that if you have filed an application for a specific call and then add or delete a call from that application or make any change to it at all you will lose your place in line. This sometimes can be used to your advantage, but if someone else has filed an application for the same call as you have and they were a day later than you, you would have originally been granted the call. If you make the change after the other individual filed for the call then their application will now be processed before yours and they may be granted the call instead of you.
Must Be Valid
Make sure the call sign you list on your vanity application is a valid call sign and you are authorized to obtain that call based on your license priviledges.
Must Be Specific
Requested vanity call signs must be specific. You cannot use wild card characters when submitting your application. For example, submitting K*XYZ on your application in an effort to indicate that you don't care which district the call comes from will not be processed as you might expect. The call will be seen as an invalid call sign and will be denied. The same would be true for calls such as ?7XYZ or W7??? or any other variation.
Must Have Valid Format
The following are valid call sign formats:
- 1X2 - one character, one number, two characters
- 2X1 - two characters, one number, one character
- 2X2 - two characters, one number, two characters
- 1X3 - one character, one number, three characters
- 2X3 - two characters, one number, three characters
This information ought to be well-known for amateur radio operators; however, vanity applications often contain requested call signs which do not adhere to the formats listed above. When extra characters appear in the call sign or something other than a number appear in the district part of the call sign then the call sign requested will be deemed invalid and it will be denied.
If you have upgraded your license privileges but your new license does not yet appear in the FCC's ULS then you should wait until the new license shows up before filing a vanity application. The reason for this is that once your new license privileges are granted your old license will no longer be valid and the vanity application will be dismissed.
Similarly, if you plan on upgrading your license privileges in the next 18 to 20 days (the time it takes for a vanity application to be processed) then you will want to wait until you receive your new license before filing a vanity application. The reason for this is the same as listed above. In order for a vanity application to be granted your license privileges at the time of filing must still be valid at the time the application is processed.
Also, if you are planning on upgrading your license privileges it makes sense to wait until you get your new privileges since this will give you the ability to apply for call signs that are appropriate for the old privileges as well as those available for the new license privileges.
Call Sign Available Date
Don't file too Early
It is a common misconception that call signs are granted to the first person to apply on any given day. This has caused many to miss out on a call sign because they misjudged the time at the FCC or daylight savings time and ended up filing a day early. The truth is that everyone who applies for a call on a particular day is thrown into a hat and a winner randomly selected. So when you file your applications, go to bed early the night before and file them sometime in the middle of the day on the first "available" date.
Call Sign Available Date
Don't File Too Early
If you have your eye on a call sign that will be coming available in the next week or two you may be tempted to file the application early in the hopes of getting a jump on it. However, if you file your application prior to the available date then your application will be denied. You must wait until the available date before filing your application.