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Encyclopedia > Call sign

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In broadcasting and radio communications, a call sign (also known as a callsign or call letters, or abbreviated as a call) is a unique designation for a transmitting station. In some countries they are used as names for broadcasting stations, but in many other countries they are not. A call sign can be formally assigned by a government agency, informally adopted by individuals or organizations, or even cryptographically encoded to disguise a station's identity. Broadcasting is the distribution of audio and/or video signals which transmit programs to an audience. ... The German Lorenz cipher machine, used in World War II for encryption of very high-level general staff messages Cryptography (or cryptology; derived from Greek κρυπτός kryptós hidden, and the verb γράφω gráfo write) is the study of message secrecy. ... “Cipher” redirects here. ...


International series

Main article: ITU prefix

International call signs are formal, semi-permanent, and issued by a nation's telecommunications agency. They are used for amateur, broadcast, commercial, maritime and sometimes military radio use (including television in some countries). The ITU allocates call sign prefixes for radio and television stations of all types. ... Telecommunication involves the transmission of signals over a distance for the purpose of communication. ... An agency is a department of a local or national government responsible for the oversight and administration of a specific function, such as a customs agency or a space agency. ... Ham radio station with modern solid-state transceiver featuring LCD display and DSP capabilities Ham radio station with vintage vacuum tube gear featuring separate transmitter, receiver and power supply Amateur radio, often called Ham radio, is a hobby and public service enjoyed by about 6 million people throughout the world. ... Broadcasting is the distribution of audio and/or video signals which transmit programs to an audience. ...


Each country has a set of alphabetic or numeric International Telecommunication Union-designated prefixes with which their call signs must begin. For example: The International Telecommunication Union (ITU; French: Union internationale des télécommunications, Spanish: Unión Internacional de Telecomunicaciones) is an international organization established to standardize and regulate international radio and telecommunications. ... The ITU allocates call sign prefixes for radio and television stations of all types. ...

Because these assignments were originally made in 1927, they often reflect a former political structure that has long since ceased to exist. For example, the V series (as in Victoria) was originally reserved for the British Empire; individual subseries were carved out and assigned to individual dominions and territories. The modern successor nations retain these series, in some cases supplemented by additional assignments. Similarly, the Soviet Union had the entire U series; when the USSR broke up, several former Soviet republics received blocks of U call signs. The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. ...


The U.S. was represented by the military at the 1927 conference which is why it received "A" (for Army) and "N" (for Navy). The "W" and "K" for civilian stations followed as the simple addition of a dash to the Morse code letters "A" and "N". 1922 Chart of the Morse Code Letters and Numerals Morse code is a method for transmitting telegraphic information, using standardized sequences of short and long elements to represent the letters, numerals, punctuation and special characters of a message. ...


Aviation

Call signs in aviation are derived from several different policies, depending on the type of flight operation being conducted, and depending on whether the caller is in an aircraft or at a ground facility. In most countries, unscheduled general aviation flights identify themselves using the call sign correseponding to the aircraft's registration number (also called N-number in the U.S., or tail number). In this case, the call sign is spoken using the ICAO phonetic alphabet. Aircraft registration numbers internationally follow the pattern of a country prefix (N in the U.S.), followed by a unique identifier made up of letters and numbers. For example, an aircraft registered as N9876Q conducting a general aviation flight would use the call sign November niner eight seven six Quebec. Aviation refers to flying using aircraft, machines designed by humans for atmospheric flight. ... General aviation (abbr. ... FAA radiotelephony phonetic alphabet and Morse code chart. ... This Cessna 150 displays the registration G-AVIT. The G- prefix denotes that it is registered in the United Kingdom. ... The ITU allocates call sign prefixes for radio and television stations of all types. ...


In most countries the aircraft call sign or "tail number" or registration marks are linked to the international radio call sign allocation table, and follow a convention that aircraft radio stations (and by extension the aircraft itself) receive call signs consisting of 5 letters. For example all British civil aircraft have five-letter call signs beginning with G. Canadian aircraft have signs beginning with C-F or C-G, such as C-FABC. Ground effect vehicles (hovercraft) in that country are eligible to receive C-Hxxx signs, and ultralight aircraft receive C-Ixxx signs. In days gone by even American aircraft used five letter call signs such as KH-ABC but they were replaced prior to World War II by the current American type of aircraft call sign (see below for details) Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000...


The - (dash) in the registration is only written on the fuselage of the airplane for readability. In air traffic management systems (ATC radar screen, flow management systems, etc.) and on flightplan forms the dash is not used (PHVHA, FABCD, CFABC) . Air Traffic Control Towers (ATCTs) at Schiphol Airport Air Traffic Control (ATC) is a service provided by ground based controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and in the air to ensure safe, orderly and expeditious traffic flow. ...


Once an aircraft has made contact with a particular air traffic control facility the call sign may be abbreviated. Sometimes the aircraft make or model is used in front of the full or abbreviated call sign, for instance, the American aircraft mentioned above might then use Cessna seven six Quebec. Alternatively, the initial letter of the call sign can be concatenated with the final two or three characers, for instance a British aircraft registered GBFRM may identify as golf romeo mike while the American aircraft might use November seven six qubec. The use of abbreviated call signs has its dangers, in the case when aircraft with similar call signs are in the same vicinity. Therefore abbreviated signs are used only so long as it is unambiguous. [1]


The United States does not follow the five letter call sign convention and in that country a registration number begins with the letter N, followed by up to five digits and/or letters in one of these schemes: one to five numbers (N12345), one to four numbers and one suffix letter (N1234Z), or one to three numbers and two suffix letters (N123AZ). The numeric part of the registration never starts with zero. To avoid confusion with the digits 1 (one) and 0 (zero), the alphabetic letters I (india) and O (oscar) are not used in registration numbers.


Commercial operators, including airlines, air cargo and air taxi operators, will usually use an ICAO or FAA-registered call sign for their company, which is used together with the flight number. For example, British Airways flight 75 would use the call sign Speedbird seven five (with the last word properly pronounced fife), since Speedbird is the registered call sign for British Airways. For these callsigns, proper usage varies by country. In some countries, such as the United States, numbers are spoken normally (for the example above, Speedbird seventy-five) instead of being spelled out digit by digit, further reducing confusion. In other countries, such as the UK, they are spelled out. [2] Air taxi operators in the United States sometimes do not have a registered call sign, in which case the prefix T is used followed by the aircraft registration number (e.g. tango November niner eight seven six Quebec). An Airbus A380 of Emirates Airline An airline provides air transport services for passengers or freight. ... The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), an agency of the United Nations, develops the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth. ... FAA may refer to: Federal Aviation Administration in the United States Fleet Air Arm in the UK Royal Navy Fuerza Aérea Argentina in Argentina This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... For the 1930s airline of similar name, see British Airways Ltd. ...


Some variations of call signs exist to express safety concerns to all operators and controllers monitoring the transmissions. Aircraft call signs will use the suffix "heavy" to indicate a large aircraft or an aircraft that is apt to cause significant wake turbulence[1], e.g. United Twenty-five Heavy.; these are typically Boeing 747, 757, 777, or 767, Airbus A340, A330 and A300, McDonnell Douglas DC-10 or MD-11, or Lockheed L-1011 aircraft. For air ambulance or other flights involving the safety of life (such as aircraft carrying organs for transplant), the call sign prefix "Lifeguard" is used before the normal call sign, e.g. Lifeguard three three alfa or Lifeguard Northwest four fifty-eight. The word may be omitted for air ambulance services with assigned call signs, especially when they have notified air traffic control operators that they are on an air ambulance mission at the beginning of their flight and do not change from one controller to another. The Life Flight air ambulance service, for example, might simply identify as Life Flight three. Wake turbulence, also known as jetwash, is turbulence that forms behind an aircraft as it passes through the air. ... The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA, TYO: 7661 ) is an aerospace and defense corporation headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. ... The Boeing 747, commonly nicknamed the Jumbo Jet, is among the most recognizable jet airliners, and is among the largest passenger airliners. ... The Boeing 757 is an American medium to long haul commercial passenger aircraft manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. ... The Boeing 777 is an American long-range wide-body twin-engined airliner built by Boeings Commercial Airplanes division. ... American Airlines Boeing 767-300 at Gatwick Airport, England. ... This article is about the airliner manufacturer. ... The Airbus A340 is a long-range four-engined widebody commercial passenger airliner manufactured by Airbus S.A.S. a subsidiary of EADS. It is similar in design to the twin-engined A330. ... The Airbus A330 is a large-capacity, wide-body, medium-to-long-range commercial passenger airliner manufactured by EADS (Airbus S.A.S.). It was developed at the same time as the four-engined A340. ... This article is about the airliner. ... DC-10, retired from American Airlines fleet at gate McDonnell Douglas was a major American aerospace manufacturer, producing a number of famous commercial and military aircraft. ... The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 is a three-engine medium- to long-range widebody airliner, with two engines mounted on underwing pylons and a third engine at the base of the vertical stabilizer. ... The McDonnell Douglas MD-11 is a three-engine medium to long-range widebody airliner, with two engines mounted on underwing pylons and a third engine at the base of the vertical stabilizer. ... The Lockheed SR-71, remarkably advanced for its time and unsurpassed in many areas of performance The Lockheed U-2 first flew in 1955 providing much needed intelligence on Soviet bloc countries Lockheed Corporation was an aerospace company founded in 1912 which merged with Martin Marietta in 1995 to form... The Lockheed L-1011 TriStar, commonly referred to as just L-1011 (pronounced ell-ten-eleven), was the third widebody passenger jet airliner to enter operation, following the Boeing 747 and the McDonnell Douglas DC-10. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ...


Glider pilots often use a supplementary number (the competition number) in their call signs. Gliders or Sailplanes are heavier-than-air aircraft primarily intended for unpowered flight. ...


Military flights use a variety of registered call signs with flight numbers, just like commercial operators. e.g. Navy Golf Alfa Kilo 21, REACH 31792.


Ground facilities identify themselves by the name and function of the facility: e.g. Seattle Tower for the tower controller's position, SoCal Approach for a TRACON, or Boston Center for an Area Control Center. In ICAO (non FAA) airspace, 'Control or Radar is used instead of Center (Langen Radar, Brussels Control, Paris Control, ...). Air Traffic Control Towers (ATCTs) at Amsterdams Schiphol Airport (Netherlands) Air traffic control (ATC) is a service provided by ground-based controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and in the air. ... The inside of the Potomac TRACON. TRACON is an acronym for Terminal Radar Approach CONtrol. ... This temporary flight restriction map from the Federal Aviation Administration shows the boundaries of the regions controlled by the Area Control Centers within and adjoining the continental United States, as well as the IATA airport code of each such Center operated by the United States. ...


Ships and boats

Merchant vessels are assigned call signs by their national licensing authorities. In the case of states such as Liberia or Panama, which are flags of convenience for ship registration, call signs for larger vessels consist of the national prefix plus three letters (for example, 3LXY, and sometimes followed by a number, i.e. 3Lxy2). United States civilian vessels are given call signs beginning with the letter W. Originally both ships and broadcast stations were given call signs in this series consisting of three or four letters, but gradually American-flagged vessels were given call signs with mixed letters and numbers. Some 4-letter call signs are again assigned to broadcast stations after the ships to which those call signs were assigned are removed from U.S. registry, an example is WEZU which was the international radio call sign of the ship SS Lash Atlantico but is now assigned to a broadcast station. A flag of convenience is a flag of one country, flown by a ship owned by a citizen of another country. ...


Leisure craft with VHF radios may not be assigned call signs, in which case the name of the vessel is used instead.


Amateur radio

Amateur radio call signs are in the international series and normally consist of a one- or two-character prefix, a number (which sometimes corresponds to a geographic area within the country), and a 2, or 3 character suffix. The number following the prefix is normally a single number (0 to 9). Some prefixes, such as Djibouti's (J2), consist of a letter followed by a number. Hence, in the hypothetical Djibouti call sign, J29DBA, the prefix is J2, the number is 9, and the suffix is DBA. Others may start with a number followed by a letter, for example, Jamaican call signs begin with 6Y. When identifying a station by voice, the call sign may be given by simply stating the letters and numbers, or using a phonetic alphabet. Ham radio station with modern solid-state transceiver featuring LCD display and DSP capabilities Ham radio station with vintage vacuum tube gear featuring separate transmitter, receiver and power supply Amateur radio, often called Ham radio, is a hobby and public service enjoyed by about 6 million people throughout the world. ... FAA radiotelephony phonetic alphabet and Morse code chart. ...


Broadcast call signs

North America

Broadcast stations in North America generally use call letters in the international series. There are some common conventions followed in each country. In Canada, call signs begin with the letter C, except for four stations in St. John's which begin with VO. Currently the only Canadian series used for broadcast stations are CF, CH, CI, CJ, CK and VO. Only two stations, CKX and CKY, are of the 3-letter variety. Outside of the official series, in a curious anomaly, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation uses the CB prefix, which is actually assigned to Chile. There are a number of 3-letter call signs in the CB series as well as many 4-letter and 5-letter ones. Mexican call signs begin with an XE for medium-wave (AM) radio stations and XH in other cases. In the United States, the first letter generally is K for stations west of the Mississippi River and W for those east of the Mississippi. There are a number of exceptions, such as KDKA in Pittsburgh and WFAA in Dallas, but these are historical artifacts from a rule change in the 1930s, and most of the exceptions are located in the states immediately to either side of the river. The westernmost station in the continental United States beginning with W is WOAI in San Antonio. WVUV in Pago Pago, American Samoa, is the westernmost station with a W call-sign. KYW in Philadelphia is the easternmost station with a K call sign. Many countries have specific conventions for classifying call signs by transmitter characteristics and location. ... World map showing North America A satellite composite image of North America. ... Nickname: The City of Legends Motto: Avancez (Go forward) Coordinates: Country Canada Province Newfoundland and Labrador Established August 5, 1583 by Royal Charter of Queen Elizabeth I Government  - City Mayor Andy Wells  - Governing body St. ... KDKA is the callsign of two broadcast stations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA: KDKA AM 1020, the first commercial station in the U.S. KDKA-TV, channel 2 (DTV 25) KDKA-FM 92. ... WFAA is the ABC affiliate serving the Dallas/Fort Worth DMA with its transmitter located in the Cedar Hill. ... KYW is the callsign of two broadcast stations in Philadelphia: KYW (AM), broadcasting at 1060 kHz on radio. ...


An exception to this are that all shortwave time broadcasting stations are required to have a three or four letter call sign beginning with WWV. The two current time stations, WWV and WWVH are located in Colorado and Hawaii, respectively, both of which would normally use call signs beginning with "K". WWV Transmitter Building WWV is the callsign of NISTs shortwave radio station located in Fort Collins, Colorado. ...


The US government-operated international broadcaster the Voice of America no longer has call signs assigned to it; however Radio Canada International's transmitter in Sackville is still assigned CKCX. Privately-operated shortwave stations, like WWCR and CFRX, also have call signs. The Voice of America (VOA) is the official international broadcasting service of the Government of the United States. ... Radio Canada International (RCI) is the international broadcasting service of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). ... Radio Canada International (RCI) is the international broadcasting service of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). ... WWCR is a shortwave radio station located in Nashville, Tennessee in the United States. ... CFRB, or CFRB 1010 as it is often referred to, is an AM radio station in Toronto, Canada, broadcasting on 1010 kHz, with a shortwave radio simulcast by CFRX on 6070 kHz. ...


Australia

In Australia, broadcast call signs begin with a single-digit number indicating the state or territory, followed by two or three letters for AM stations and usually three letters for FM. Some AM stations retain their old call signs when moving to FM, or just add an extra letter to the end. Australian broadcast stations originally used the prefix VL-, but since Australia has no nearby neighbors, this practice was soon discarded, although the VL prefix can still be implied in an international context. (Certain ABC radio stations, particularly outside of metropolitan areas, may use five-letter call signs for FM stations: xABCFM for ABC Classic FM, xABCRN for Radio National, and xABCRR for ABC Local Radio - the x being the state number.) The states and territories of Australia make up the Commonwealth of Australia under a federal system of government. ... AM broadcasting is radio broadcasting using Amplitude Modulation. ... FM broadcasting is a broadcast technology invented by Edwin Howard Armstrong that uses frequency modulation (FM) to provide high-fidelity sound over broadcast radio. ... The Australian Broadcasting Corporation or ABC is Australias national non-profit public broadcaster. ... ABC Classic FM is Australian classical radio station available in major centres around the country. ... ABC Radio National is an Australia-wide radio network with many various programs, involving news and current affairs, arts, music, society, science, drama and comedy. ... ABC Local Radio is a network of publicly-owned radio stations in Australia, operated by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. ...


Television station call signs begin with two letters usually denoting the station itself, followed by a third letter denoting the state. For example, NBN's call sign stands for Newcastle Broadcasting, New South Wales. There are some exceptions: NBN Television is an Australian commercial television broadcasting company, broadcasting from its main studios in Newcastle, transmitting to the northern half of New South Wales (including the Central Coast, Newcastle and The Gold Coast). ...

  • ABC television stations outside of state capitals add a fourth letter (and in rare cases a fifth) between AB and the state. This is used to denote the area, e.g. the Newcastle station is known as ABHN, standing for Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Hunter Valley, New South Wales. State capital stations follow the same rule as commercial stations, also using AB as the first two letters; for example, ABN is Sydney's ABC television station.
  • SBS television stations all use SBS in their call signs, regardless of the state. Also, SBS FM radio stations use a five-letter call sign, xSBSFM. (Sydney and Melbourne's AM stations use xEA, short for Ethnic Australia.)
  • Commercial station Imparja Television uses IMP, even though they are based in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.

Letters and numbers used by Australian stations: The Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) is one of two government funded Australian public broadcasting radio and television networks, the other being the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). ... Imparja Television (callsign IMP) is one of 4 public access television stations that service Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and other parts of Southern Northern Territory, which are outside of the broadcasting range of Darwins television stations. ... Alice Springs on a large scale map Alice Springs is a large town in the Northern Territory of Australia located at 23°42′ S 133°52′ E. Its population of 28,178 (2001 Census) makes it the second-largest settlement in the Territory (the only other towns of... Capital Darwin Government Const. ...

Capital Canberra Government Constitutional monarchy Administrator none Chief Minister Jon Stanhope (ALP) Federal representation  - House seats 2  - Senate seats 2 Gross Territorial Product (2006)  - Product ($m)  $19,167 (6th)  - Product per capita  $57,303/person (1st) Population (End of November 2006)  - Population  333,667 (7th)  - Density  137. ... Capital Sydney Government Constitutional monarchy Governor Professor Marie Bashir Premier Morris Iemma (ALP) Federal representation  - House seats 50  - Senate seats 12 Gross State Product (2004-05)  - Product ($m)  $305,437 (1st)  - Product per capita  $45,153/person (4th) Population (End of March 2006)  - Population  6,817,100 (1st)  - Density  8. ... Capital Canberra Government Constitutional monarchy Administrator none Chief Minister Jon Stanhope (ALP) Federal representation  - House seats 2  - Senate seats 2 Gross Territorial Product (2006)  - Product ($m)  $19,167 (6th)  - Product per capita  $57,303/person (1st) Population (End of November 2006)  - Population  333,667 (7th)  - Density  137. ... Capital Melbourne Government Const. ... Capital Brisbane Government Constitutional monarchy Governor Quentin Bryce Premier Peter Beattie (ALP) Federal representation  - House seats 28  - Senate seats 12 Gross State Product (2004-05)  - Product ($m)  $158,506 (3rd)  - Product per capita  $40,170/person (6th) Population (End of September 2006)  - Population  4,070,400 (3rd)  - Density  2. ... Capital Adelaide [[Government of South Austra Fullname = State of South Australia|Government]] Constitutional monarchy [[Governor of South Austra Fullname = State of South Australia|Governor]] Marjorie Jackson-Nelson [[Premier of South Austra Fullname = State of South Australia|Premier]] Mike Rann (ALP) Federal representation  - House seats 11  - Senate seats 12 Gross State... Capital Perth Government Constitutional monarchy Governor Ken Michael Premier Alan Carpenter (ALP) Federal representation  - House seats 15  - Senate seats 12 Gross State Product (2004-05)  - Product ($m)  $100,900 (4th)  - Product per capita  $50,355/person (3rd) Population (December 2006)  - Population  2,050,900 (4th)  - Density  0. ... Capital Hobart Government Const. ... Capital Darwin Government Const. ... For other uses, see Canberra (disambiguation). ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...

New Zealand

The use of broadcast call signs in New Zealand historically consisted of a digit, and two letters for AM or three for FM. The usage was:

  • Number
    • 1 - Northern half of the North Island
    • 2 - Southern half of the North Island including Marlborough & Nelson regions of the South Island
    • 3 - South Island, north of the Waitaki River, excluding Marlborough & Nelson
    • 4 - South Island, south of the Waitaki River
  • First letter

For example - 1ZB was a Radio NZ commercial station in Auckland; 4XF was Foveaux Radio in Invercargill (now More FM); 4YC was the Concert Programme in Dunedin. National Radio is a New Zealand radio channel owned and operated by Radio New Zealand. ... Concert FM is a New Zealand radio network owned by Radio New Zealand. ... The Radio Network was created when the commerical activities of Radio New Zealand were divested by the New Zealand government in the 1980s. ...


FM stations appeared to have no standard format for the letters, just picking three that 'fit' the station. To make matters more confusing, some stations such as 4ZA-FM (now Classic Hits Southland 98.8FM) and 4XO Gold (now More FM Dunedin) retained their AM call signs.


Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin as major centres for the four regions had specific Radio NZ call signs used:

  • xYA - National Programme
  • xYC - Concert Programme
  • xZB - Community Network commercial
  • xZM - Music commercial (except Dunedin)

During the early 1990s the use of call signs became less common, to the point that most broadcasters do not use them at all. Some are retained in some form for branding - for example, 4XO Dunedin (until it was rebranded More FM Dunedin in 2004), Newstalk ZB (using the old 1ZB, 2ZB, 3ZB, 4ZB and various other Radio NZ commercial frequencies) and ZM (originally ZMFM, replacing the old 1ZM, 2ZM and 3ZM, now nationwide). Stations licensed since 1990 have not had call signs allocated.


With consolidation in the commercial radio market, the only stations now using a call sign in New Zealand are the long.established 1XX in the Bay of Plenty, and the recently-arrived (2005) LPFM Primetime 1ZZ [2] in the Bay of Islands, whose "call sign" is self-assigned[citation needed].


Brazil

In Brazil, some radio stations still broadcast their call signs few times a day, but this practice is becoming very rare. For TV stations and radio stations it's used letters ZY, plus one letter (ZYB for TV, ZYK for AM radios, ZYG for short wave radios, ZYD and ZYM for FM radios) and three numbers, for example: ZYB883 (analog ch. 18) is TV Tribuna in Santos. Shortwave radio operates between the frequencies of 3,000 kHz and 30 MHz (30,000 kHz) and came to be referred to as such in the early days of radio because the wavelengths associated with this frequency range were shorter than those commonly in use at that time. ... for the Australian oil company, see Santos Limited; for the football team, see FC Santos. ...


Europe/Asia

In Europe and much of Asia, call signs are normally not used for broadcast stations. Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Taiwan are exceptions to this general rule. Other countries have yet other formats for assigning call signs to domestic services.


Military call signs

In wartime, monitoring an adversary's communications can be a valuable form of intelligence. Consistent call signs can aid in this monitoring, so in wartime, military units often employ tactical call signs and sometimes change them at regular intervals. In peacetime, some military stations will use fixed call signs in the international series. Police units in the United States tend to use a tactical designator (or tactical callsign) consisting of a letter of the police phonetic alphabet followed by one or two numbers. ...


U.S. Army

The United States Army uses fixed station call signs which begin with W, such as WAR, used by U.S. Army Headquarters. The United States Army is one of the armed forces of the United States and has primary responsibility for land-based military operations. ... Headquarters (HQ) denotes the location where most, if not all, of the important functions of an organization are concentrated. ...


Tactical call signs are often assigned to a company sized unit or higher. For example the collective "Checkmate" might be assigned to an entire company and thus "Checkmate 1" would be the first platoon leader , "Checkmate 2" to the second platoon leader, etc. As there are usually only 4 platoons, "Checkmate 5" becomes the Company XO and "Checkmate 6" is the Company Commander. A company is a military unit, typically consisting of 100-200 soldiers. ... Platoon is a term from military science. ...


A humorous reference to a person in the household, usually the wife, is "Household 6" or HH6. This is because the number six denotes the element leader on the radio when using unit call signs. (i.e. If you heard "warrior six" on the radio, you would know you were speaking to the leader of the unit known to those on that radio net as warrior.)


U.S. Air Force

Fixed call signs for the United States Air Force stations begin with A, such as AIR, used by USAF Headquarters. The USAF also uses semi-fixed identifiers consisting of a name followed by a two or three digit number. The name is assigned to a unit on a semi-permanent basis; they change only when the U.S. Department of Defense goes to DEFCON 3. For example, JAMBO 51 would be assigned to a particular B-52 aircrew of the 5th Bomb Wing, while NODAK 1 would be an F-16 fighter with the North Dakota Air National Guard. The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial warfare branch of the United States armed forces and one of the seven uniformed services. ... The defense readiness condition (DEFCON) is a measure of the activation and readiness level of the United States armed forces. ... The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, jet strategic bomber flown by the United States Air Force (USAF) since 1954. ... The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multirole jet fighter aircraft developed by General Dynamics in the United States. ...


The most recognizable call sign of this type is Air Force One, used when any Air Force aircraft is transporting the U.S. President. Similarly, when the President is flown in a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter, the call sign is Marine One. When President George W. Bush, a former Air National Guard fighter pilot, was flown to the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln in a Navy S-3B Viking, it was the first use of the "Navy One" call sign. For other uses, see Air Force One (disambiguation). ... The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. ... The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is a branch of the United States military responsible for providing power projection from the sea,[1] utilizing the mobility of the U.S. Navy to rapidly deliver combined-arms task forces. ... VH-60N Presidential Hawk Marine One in front of the White House Marine One Sikorsky VH-3D Landing on the lawn President George W. Bush surveys the damage to Enterprise, Alabama from Marine One after the February-March 2007 Tornado Outbreak. ... George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is the 43rd and current President of the United States, inaugurated on January 20, 2001. ... The Air National Guard (ANG) is part of the United States National Guard and a reserve component of the United States Air Force (USAF). ...


Individual military pilots or other flight officers usually adopt a personal aviator call sign. An aviator call sign or callsign is a nickname given to a military pilot or other flight officer. ...


U.S. Navy/Coast Guard

The United States Navy and United States Coast Guard use a mixture of tactical call signs and international call signs beginning with the letter N. For example, the carrier USS John F. Kennedy has the call sign NJFK for unclassified and navigation communications with other vessels, but uses varying tactical call signs that vary with its mission. The United States Navy, also known as the USN or the U.S. Navy, is a branch of the United States armed forces responsible for conducting naval operations. ... The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is a branch of the United States armed forces involved in maritime law enforcement, mariner assistance, search and rescue, and national defense. ...


British Army

Tactical voice communications ("combat net radio") use a system of call signs of the form letter-digit-digit. Within a standard infantry battalion these characters represent companies, platoons and sections respectively, so that 3 Section, 1 Platoon of B Company might be F13. In addition, F13A might be the 2ic of that section, in charge of its Delta fire team. A fire team is the smallest recognized military unit. ...


Note that the letter part of the call sign is not the company's own letter (B vs F in the above example) - indeed, the letter designations are randomly assigned using BATCO sheets, or appear on CEI's (communication electronic instruction), and change along with the BATCO codes every 24 hours. This, together with frequency changes and voice procedure aimed at making every unit sound the same, introduces a degree of protection against simple traffic analysis and eavesdropping.


Not all radio users fit into the standard battalion model, but in order to continue the obfuscation they will be assigned a call sign that appears to be part of such a system. Presumably, the well-known B20 falls into this category. Bravo Two Zero (B20) was the callsign of an eight-man British Special Air Service (SAS) patrol that was tasked with observing the M.S.R. (Main Supply Route) between Baghdad and north-west Iraq and finding and destroying Iraqi Scud missile launchers in 1991 during the Gulf War. ...


Finally, the controller of each net has the call sign 0 ("zero"). There may also be a second controller - either a backup station or a commander who has delegated communication tasks to a signaller but may occasionally wish to speak in person - with the call sign 0A ("zero alpha").


Transmitters requiring no call signs

No call signs are issued to transmitters of long-range navigation systems (LORAN-C, Decca, Alpha, Omega) or transmitters on frequencies below 10 kHz, because frequencies below 10 kHz are not subject to international regulations. In addition, in some countries low-power personal and broadcast radio (Citizen's Band, Part 15, and the like) is allowed; a call sign is not always required for such stations, though especially on personal radio services it is considered a matter of etiquette to create one's own. A typical mobile citizens band radio Citizens band radio (CB) is, in the United States, a system of short distance radio communication between individuals on a selection of 40 channels within the single 27 MHz (11 meter) band. ... In the U.S., Part 15 is an often-quoted section of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules and regulations, regarding unlicensed transmissions. ...


International regulations no longer require a call sign for broadcast stations; however, they are still required for broadcasters in many countries, including the United States. Mobile phone services do not use call signs on-air for obvious reasons; however, the U.S. still assigns a call sign to each mobile-phone spectrum license.


See also

Most airlines employ a distinctive and internationally recognised call sign that is normally spoken during airband radio transmissions as a prefix to the flight number. ... An aviator call sign or callsign is a nickname given to a military pilot or other flight officer. ... Most American space flights, with the exception of those of Project Gemini and early Apollo flights, have had their spacecraft officially named. ... The ITU allocates call sign prefixes for radio and television stations of all types. ... A Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) is a series of nine digits which are transmitted over the radio path in order to uniquely identify ship stations, ship earth stations, coast stations, coast earth stations, and group calls. ... A pseudonym (Greek pseudo + -onym: false name) is an artificial, fictitious name, also known as an alias, used by an individual as an alternative to a persons true name. ... Station identification is the practice of any type of radio station identifying itself, typically with a callsign. ... Procedure words or prowords are words or phrases limited to radio telephone procedure used to facilitate communication by conveying information in a condensed standard form. ... FAA radiotelephony phonetic alphabet and Morse code chart. ...

References

  • United States Federal Aviation Administration, Aeronautical Information Manual, Official Guide to Basic Flight Information and ATC Procedures, 2004. Chapter 4, Section 2
  1. ^ United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority, CAP 413: Radiotelephony Manual, Edition 16, paragraph 1.8.2 and table 9. CAA, 2006.
  2. ^ Ibid, paragraph 1.4.2(a).

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is the public corporation which oversees and regulates all aspects of aviation in the UK. It was established in 1972. ...

External links


 
 

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