Differences between US and UK Amateur Radio license rules and restrictions – part 3: Callsigns

Continuing my posts looking at the differences between US and UK amateur radio licenses (part 1, part 2), I’m now taking a look at callsigns.

In the US, callsigns are assigned using the following format (described in FCC doc here):

Technician

For regions 1 through 10:

  • K, N or W prefix + additional letter + region 1 through 10 + 3 letter suffix (aka 2 by 3)
  • Other regions beyond 10 have slight variations in the prefix, such as KH for Hawaii (Region 13)

General

For regions 1 through 10:

  • K, N or W prefix + region 1 through 10 + 3 letter suffix (aka 1 by 3
  • Other regions beyond 10 have slight variations in the prefix, such as KH for Hawaii (Region 13)

Amateur Extra

For regions 1 through 10:

  • K, N or W prefix + region 1 through 10 + 2 letter suffix (aka 1 by 2)
  • 2 letter prefix starting A, N, W or M + region + 1 letter suffix (aka 2 by 1)
  • 2 letter prefix starting A + region + 2 letter suffix (aka 2 by 2)
  • Other regions have slight variations in prefix

UK Licences

For UK licenses there are similar differences between Foundation, Intermediate and Full, but with the addition of a required ‘Regional Secondary Locator’ (RSL) character to indicate the country where you are transmitting from:

Foundation License

Prefix starts:

  • M#3
  • M#6
  • M#7

… where # is the placeholder for the RSL. Interestingly, the UK licenses are issued showing the # where you are expected to substitute your RSL yourself.

RSLs used are:

  • none : England (E is not used for Foundation callsigns)
  • M : Scotland
  • I : Northern Ireland
  • EI : Ireland
  • W : Wales
  • D : Isle of Man
  • U: Guernsey
  • J : Jersey

Intermediate

Prefix starts:

  • 2#0
  • 2#1

RSLs used are (note ALL RSLs are used, including E for England, where this is not used for Foundation and Full):

  • E : England
  • M : Scotland
  • I : Northern Ireland
  • EI : Ireland
  • W : Wales
  • D : Isle of Man (for Douglas, capital of Isle of Man)
  • U: Guernsey
  • J : Jersey

Full

  • M#0
  • M#5
  • G#0 to G#8

RSLs used are:

  • none : England (E is not used for Full callsigns)
  • M : Scotland
  • I : Northern Ireland
  • EI : Ireland
  • W : Wales
  • D : Isle of Man
  • U: Guernsey
  • J : Jersey

Optional callsign suffixes

/A : used to indicate operating from a different address than your normal station location, if the alternative location has an address

/M : operating mobile, e.g. in a car

/P : away from main station location, but NOT at an address that has a postal address, e.g. if camping in a field

  • note that /P does not include operating an HT when mobile which is /M

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