Sunday, December 26, 2010

DMV Puts Space in Ham License Plates

To Report Ham License Plates You Have Been Issued with a Space or,
to Support the Effort to Remove the Space
email, Cliff:
(click on Blog Archieves at the Upper Left for More (Petitions, Sample Letters, Complaints/Response, News Items .......)

This is more than a personal case of an individual California ham running up against the
California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) bureaucracy in an effort to get amateur radio license plates. This is a case of the DMV changing it policy without public comment or notice by inserting a space in FCC issued callsigns on license plates. This new policy impacts every ham in California, and may set an anti-ham radio precedent for the other 49 states. Even if you have ham plates without a space, should those plates get stolen, fall off, get damaged or you change your call, you will get plates with a space in your callsign.

I, Cliff Cheng, Ph.D., WW6CC, have been trying to get amateur radio license plates “WW6CC” for 7 months (June 2007 to Dec. 2007). I have taken time off work and stood in line at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices 5 times. DMV has issued me 3 temporary paper license plates during my 7 month wait and given me nothing but a bureaucratic runaround.

DMV requires a copy of a ham’s FCC license to be attached to the ham plate application. Even if you fill out the application correctly (no space in the callsign) and your FCC license does not have a space in the callsign, DMV issues vehicle registration cards with a space in the callsign, i.e. WW6 CC. Each DMV clerk I dealt with said DMV’s software automatically puts the space in. I told DMV numerous times at each turn to make sure there is no space in the plates. Every time I said this, I was assured there would not be a space.

A month ago (Nov. 2007) I complained about waiting for 7 months without the plates I paid for, the check was cashed, the 5 trips to the DMV and the 3 temporary paper license plates and runaround DMV bureaucrats were given me. I wrote California State Assemblyman, Mike Feuer, 42nd Assembly District. Within 5 days of Assembly staffer Josh Englander taking on the case, I got plates – but only they read – “WW6 CC” (note the space in the call sign).

I thought this was a mistake; a mistake I warned them, and Josh not to make. I asked Josh how to send the plate back and get a correct one; thinking, at this point, the space was a clerical error.

Josh said a new manager at DMV is in charge of issuing licenses plates and started putting spaces in plates as a matter of policy 3 week ago (Nov. 2007). Josh said the new DMV Manager thinks unless a call sign plate has a space it is a vanity plate. The DMV thinks unless a call sign plate has a space in it, police and firefighters will think it is a vanity plate.

I was floored by this backwards argument! First, I pointed out the fact that the call sign system is governed by international treaty of which is U.S. is only one signatory. The FCC has a block of call signs it may issue but may not arbitrarily places spaces in call signs. DMV has no authority to place spaces in call signs. Josh said DMV told him they are not subject to the FCC and can do whatever they please with their license plates. I said that by international treaty through the FCC’s authority I am the sole grantee of WW6CC. No one else in the world may use his call sign. No one has authority to put spaces in call signs, even the FCC. Josh repeated DMV’s argument.

I also pointed out that the U.S. Constitution requires full faith and credit be extended from one level of government to another. DMV is to recognize FCC issued callsigns and may not change them.

I also stated as a customer of the DMV, I applied and paid for a ham callsign license plate which were ordered and paid for as - WW6CC. DMV required a copy of my FCC license be attached to the application which said WW6CC. DMV accepted the application and cashed my check by delivered another product which is not only unacceptable to this but other similar customers too. DMV accepted application and cashed my check without objection to the order saying “WW6CC” but failed to provide the ordered product for 7 months until a lawmaker’s office intervened. In this case, the Customer was given a secession of 3 temporary paper license plates for a short duration which required him to take time off work and go to DMV offices and stand in line 5 times. DMV should provide the product as it was ordered.

I also argued that DMV has issued 10,000s of ham plates on the road which have the correct call sign on them. DMV said to Josh that they will not recall the plates but will only issue ham plates with spaces in the call signs from now on. Anyone with common sense knows that with two kinds of plates on the road, it creates confusion which DMV has unnecessarily created.

I said to Josh that DMV should fix its computer system so it does not automatically puts spaces in. I also relayed that a few ham friends who have been stopped by the police were told they were driving without a valid license plates because the police had not put a space in the plate when it was entered into the DMV computer. I pointed out, the police may think an innocent ham is a criminal if the license plate does not check out. I expressed concern that the police may arrest an innocent ham or there might be a confrontation; all because the DMV has not fixed its apparent software problem.

I complained to Josh that if DMV really believed in it policy they should recall all the plates without spaces and reissue them with spaces, at no charge to the hams of course. Josh said DMV does not want to spend the money to do this. I believes this is only half-true; that if DMV attempted to take away all the license plates with the correct call sign and them replace them with plates with spaces in the call sign there would be a outrage that would force them to change policy.

I also complained DMV has changed policy without public comment. Josh said DMV told him they are correcting a mistake in not enforcing the policy which should have been followed all along. Cliff said he is not a lawyer but wonders if the Brown Act (open meetings) was violated.

Vanity Plate Fees

Later as I researched the issue, I discovered an August 1977 JPL (Jet Propulsion Lab) Amateur Radio Club newsletter that told of California Senate Bill 915 which was controversial for it initially wanted to charge hams who ordered ham plates a vanity plate fee. The ham community was successful in defeating the legislation. The vanity plates fee, currently, $41 and up, per year, depending on which plate style you choose. I wonder if DMV declaring callsign plates without the space are vanity plates, is an effort to circumvent SB915 and charges us extra fees – knowing we object to DMV tampering with our FCC issued callsigns?

Getting the Word Out

I sent an email to my ham friends in LA about this problem to see if they had a similar experience. Apparently the email was in-turn widely circulated and posted in multiple places.

One of those hams responding was D.W. Thorne, K6SOJ, founder of the World Radio Relay League and Editor of EmComm Monthly. DW lost one of his correct (no space in the call sign) ham plates after a long road trip. He drove 130 miles to the nearest DMV office to order a replacement. He was given “K6 SOJ.” He was told by DMV, that the FCC required the DMV to put a space in callsign plates. DW called FCC and was told “that’s not true.” If you lose your ham plates (with no space), or they are stolen or damaged, and you want a new one, DMV will replace it with a plate with a space in your callsign.

I called both Directors of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL, national organization of amateur radio) who cover Calif. He left a message for Dick Norton, N6AA, Southwest Director, who covers southern Calif. Dick said he would write a letter to Assemblyman Feuer.

I spoke to Bob Vallio, W6RGG, Pacific Director who covers northern Calif. Bob’s inquiry had stalled after DMV told him federal law required a space in ham plates. Yet DMV failed to provide citation to the alleged law. At least D.W. Thorne, K6SOJ, if not many other hams who complained, were told the same thing. Bob pointed out none of the other 49 states puts spaces in call sign license plates. Bob called ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, Esq., W3KD. Chris said there was no such federal law.

I also had initiated a complaint to the FCC’s LA Field Office about the DMV’s preemption of FCC policy and U.S. treaties.


Cliff requests all California amateur radio clubs and emergency communications groups place on the agenda of their next meeting an item to inform their memberships about this problem and to either write a letter of protest or circulate a petition for members’ signatures (sample letter and petitions on

Individual hams can be effective by writing and mailing or faxing a letter to their Calif. State Assemblyperson, State Senator, Governor and the Chairs of the Assembly and State Senate Transportation Committees, which have oversight over the DMV:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
300 So. Spring St., 16h floor
LA CA 90013
(213) 897-0319 (fax)
Attn: Karen Kukaren
Emails are not as effective as hard copy.


Senator Alan Lowenthal
California State Senate
27th District
Chair, Transportation & Housing Committee

115 Pine Ave, Suite 430
Long Beach, CA 90802
Phone: (562) 495-4766
Fax: (562) 495-1876

Serving the communities of: Artesia, Avalon, Bellflower, Cerritos, Downey, Florence-Graham, Hawaiian Gardens, Lakewood, Long Beach, Lynwood, Paramount, Signal Hill, South Gate, and Willowbrook.


Assemblyman Pedro Nava
35th Assembly District
Chair, Assembly Transportation Committee
Chair, Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Services and Homeland Security

District Offices:
Santa Barbara County
101 W. Anapamu Street
Suite A
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Tel: (805) 564-1649
Fax: (805) 564-1651

Ventura County
201 E. Fourth Street
Suite 209-A
Oxnard, CA 93030
Tel: (805) 483-9808
Fax: (805) 483-8182


To find your Calif. State Assemblyperson and State Senator, click
Usually Assemblypeople give better service to their constituents than State Senators or the Governor.

Please copy your letter to Cliff, and Office of Assemblyman. Mike Feuer, Josh Englander,, put in the subject line: No Space in Ham Plates.

If you want to do more, call your Assemblyperson’s office and call Josh Englander at of Assemblyman. Mike Feuer’s office (310) 285-5490 and express your opinion to him.

Writing the DMV directly does no good. Let the DMV see the opposition to their policy from lawmakers to whom they are accountable to.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Sample Petition

Amateur Radio Callsign Consistency Act

We the undersigned support the Amateur Radio Callsign License Plate Consistency Act – “The California Department of Motor Vehicles is required to issue amateur radio callsign license plates so that the callsign appears on the plates exactly as it was issued by the Federal Communications Commission. California Department of Motor Vehicles may not charge a vanity license plate or any other special fees for amateur radio callsign license plates other than a one-time printing fee.” We oppose the Calif. Dept. of Motor Vehicles policy and practice of putting a space in FCC issued callsigns on new and replacement amateur radio callsign license plates (example below) and declaring these plates to be vanity plates and charging yearly vanity plates fees.

For additional information, please visit:
(To Signature Gatherers, thank you for collecting signatures. Please email Cliff Cheng, Ph.D., WW6CC, when finished).

1. _________________________________________________________________
(name, callsign, email)

2. _________________________________________________________________


3. _________________________________________________________________


4. _________________________________________________________________


1. _________________________________________________________________
(name, callsign, email)

2. _________________________________________________________________


3. _________________________________________________________________


4. _________________________________________________________________


5. _________________________________________________________________


6. _________________________________________________________________


7. _________________________________________________________________


8. _________________________________________________________________


9. _________________________________________________________________


10. _________________________________________________________________


Sample Letter to Calif. Legislature

There are many letters to DMV posted on this site that can be used as examples.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Got It!

In June 2008 I found one of the seven 6th call district 1x2 or 2x1s which have my initials had become available. I immediately applied for AC6C. By this point my corrected WW6CC plates had not arrived.

In July 2008, the day AC6C was granted, my corrected WW6CC plates arrived. Since WW6CC was no longer my callsign, I had to order AC6C plates. After a few months, DMV sent me another WW6CC plates (no space). There was trouble getting corrected, as the contact person in DMV was on leave and then transferred to a new job. I finally got AC6C plates in late-October 2008.

Friday, May 2, 2008

No Corrected Plates Yet, 5-2-08


Here is it May 2, 2008 and I and other hams still have not yet gotten our corrected ham callsign license plates from the DMV yet. I applied for them on Feb. 11, 4 business days after they were available. If you count from when I first ordered ham plates, it has been a year and 1 month! Some of hams got their plates already.

Cliff, WW6CC

Friday, April 4, 2008

No Corrected Plates Yet, 4-4-07


I have heard from several of our California ham friends who have not yet gotten their corrected plates from the DMV. I applied for them on Feb. 11, 4 business days after they were available. I have waited for 7 weeks. If you count from when I first ordered ham plates, it has been a year!

Some of hams got their plates within a few weeks. I finally got through to DMV today and was told that their have been several lockdowns at Folsom Prison, where the plates are made. The prisoners have not been allowed to make license plates. DMV said it would take a few more weeks to catch up.

Cliff, WW6CC

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Joe Kao, N6KAO, Waiting Since Sept. 2007

my name is joe, n6kao. i am too a victim of the "space in ham callsign license plate". when i received my plate in late jan, i thought dmv made a mistake by adding a space. later i found out from a lady in special plate unit in sacramento that dmv purposely put the space in, then decided to remove it due to compliants from ham operators statewide.
just a quick history of my journey....
late sept 07 - went to dmv and applied for a ham callsign plate. they took my original plate away and gave me a red sticker to put on window (temporary registration).
mid nov 07 - received registration paper and sticker, but no plate.
late nov 07 - temp reg expiring and still didn't receive plate. went back to dmv for temp reg extensiono. i was told the order didn't go in system until late oct.
late jan 08 - received the plates (with space). went back to dmv and reordered another plate. local dmv officals had no idea why a space was inserted within callsign.
late feb 08 - again, found out the order didn't go into system until 1 month after initial inquiry.
mid mar 08 - received registration with sticker, but no plate.
currently i am still waiting for my plate to come. in feb when i found out from the dmv's special plate unit about the decision to remove space from callsign, i went online and found your blog entry.
my current temp tag is about to expire. i am about to go back to dmv and request for another extension for my temp reg.
it has been a frustrating experience so far. i've gone to dmv many times to get extension on the temp registration. i even asked them to give me as far out as possible, but local dmv office was reluctant to give out more than 2 months. after arguing with a manager, finally i was able to get 3 months temp registration.
thanks for reading.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Another Ham Stopped by Cops, K6PIC


Thank you so much for your efforts in getting the word out about the "Space" in the ham radio callsign license plate issue. I first noticed the extra space when I got my registration renewed in December and was slightly concerned but I've always known there was an issue of the plates being mistaken as "peronalized plates" by law enforcement when they call in for a 10-28.
In the past even renewing my registration at the DMV took some effort. They once had to call two supervisors over to finally figure out how to look up my vehicle in the computer. Seemed back then the addition of an astrik infront of the callsign would do a search and they would find it. It seems idiotic to think by adding a space they would solve if not complicate even further the whole issue. In the past especially when paying parking tickets I've alway put the astrick infront of the callsign hoping if they got confused that it would help them find my registration record.

Last night (March 3rd/4th, 2008) on my way home from work I was stopped by the police whom I assume had done a rolling 10-28 on my plate and they asked me all sorts of questions. First was if it was my vehicle. Then if I had just got it from a salvage yard. Then how long I had owned it. Then they told me there was no record of my vehicle in the computer database. They asked to see my registration which I produced and I pointed out it was a HAM Amateur Radio type 61 plate and suggested they should try the *. After waiting something like 10 minutes they came back and told me they still had no record of my vehicle and that I needed to clear it up with the DMV. She even said that the dispatcher whom she spoke with at the communication center had worked there 20 years and had no idea what it was or why it wasn't coming up. In my experience from visiting the com center in my county I found that a lot of the dispatcers are themselves hams and it was somewhat disturbing to be told I had to "fix" this discrepancy with the DMV.

If you have any sort of emailing list regarding this issue and the greater side issue of being stopped by the police please add my email to the list. THANK YOU AGAIN for your effort to inform the greater ham community of this issue.


Christopher James Knight

Monday, March 3, 2008

1 of the 1st Corrected Plates, Cindy Engel, DVM, KA7UIA

[Editor's Note - Dr. Cindy Engel, DVM, KA7UIA of Santa Barbara was the first to give us a .jpeg of her corrected plate. We heard the other week that a northern Calif. ham got his. We reached out to him but he did not respond].

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Kong Lew's, KG6TN Corrected Plates, 2-28-08

Kong Lew's, KG6TN Corrected Plates, 2-28-08

DMV Permits Non-Ham to Have Ham Plates

R. Breidinger

Department of Motor Vehicles

Special Plates Unit – M/S 238

2415 1st Ave.

Sacramento, CA 95818

Dear R. Breidinger,

Recently I applied for a set of Amateur Radio Operator call sign vehicle license plates. As requested, I included a copy of my current FCC license to operate under the call sign of N6MDA. Last week I noticed that the $21.00 check I had sent along was processed by my bank, and I expected the plates to arrive shortly!

Yesterday, I received a letter from the DMV which included my original application and paperwork and informing me: “Our records are indicating Amateur Radio Plates issued to another party on a currently registered vehicle. You cannot have 2 parties with same call letters. Contact FCC for correct call letters”.

After several calls, I finally talked to a woman named “Linda” in the Special Plates Unit. I thought the plate may still be registered to the person who had my N6MDA call previously, and had let it expire with the FCC back in 2005. She looked up the present owner and the history on the plate. She discovered the previous N6MDA had sold his truck and transferred the N6MDA plates to the new owner, who is not a licensed Amateur Radio Operator.

I asked the women at the DMV how can this happen? She advised me that when a new application for a call sign plate is made, the DMV requests a copy of a valid FCC Amateur Radio Operators license. However, when someone who has let their FCC Amateur Radio Operators license expire goes to renew the Ham plates, or sells their vehicle with the Ham plates on it, the DMV makes no effort to revalidate that this person still has a valid FCC license.

This process now allows people without a valid FCC license to display a Ham call sign on their vehicle. The DMV allowing this practice to occur is a serious matter for the following reasons:

  1. It defeats the purpose of having Amateur Radio Operator call plates on vehicles to help identify Ham operators who are members of the state of California’s Auxiliary Communications Service, and who have been activated for an emergency.
  1. It exposes the legally licensed Amateur Radio Operator, who actually holds the call sign, to the possibility of fines and even imprisonment if the person displaying the unauthorized plates should operate a mobile radio from his vehicle in violation of FCC rules, and another Amateur Radio Operator should report this violation using the call sign to the FCC.

I am requesting the California Department of Motor Vehicle to take the following actions:

  1. Discontinue the practice of allowing Amateur Radio Operator call sign plates to be transferred along with the sale of a vehicle.
  1. Put on the vehicle registration / renewal certificate that the plate number listed is that of an Amateur Radio Operator. As you require that upon request of original Ham plates a copy of the FCC license be included, you have the expiration date of such license. Consider the policy, that if a Amateur Radio Operator’s license has expired, then that person must send a copy of their renewed license along with their vehicle renewal.
  1. That you immediately inform the present owner of the license plates N6MDA that they are not authorized to display these plates, and must take them to the nearest DMV office for exchange.
  1. That you immediately process my application (enclosed) and send me the N6MDA plates as requested. Please make sure that they are made as required by the FCC with no spaces between the letters and numbers.
  1. That you consider adding the text: “Amateur Radio Operator” to the license plate for positive identification. This is done for Veterans and Disabled, why not Amateur Radio Operators?

Your prompt action in this matter would be greatly appreciated.


M. Michael D’Amore (N6MDA)

CC: Senator Tom McClintock

State Capitol, Room 3070

Sacramento, CA 95814

Sunday, February 10, 2008

DMV Calls Steve Gibson, K6KGO

Hi Cliff,

I have an up-date for you and other hams. I received a telephone call from DMV special plates unit in Sacramento last Wednesday (2-6-08) and the technician that was calling asked me if I would like to have my ham plates reissued "without the space" in the call sign. My response to her was, of course, yes. She told me that she would place the order for me and that no follow-up paperwork would be required on my part and I would not be assessed any additional fee for the plates. She then told me that if I had already placed my 2008 registration sticker on the rear incorrectly configured plate (which I had) she would send me a new registration card with a new sticker. I was very impressed by DMV on this one. They recognized the error and then called me to get it corrected all without burdening me with extra paperwork or fees. I hope you and other amateur radio operators will benefit from this information. Please feel free to post either or both of my email messages. And thanks for getting the ball rolling on this issue, I for one appreciate it.


-Steven Gibson, K6KGO

Lake Almanor, Plumas County, CA

Saturday, February 9, 2008

ARRL Southwest Division Newsletter, 2-9-08.

[Editor’s Note –To say “unpleasant confrontations” have occurred when hams have been stopped by the police, and the police have been unable to find their callsign license plate in the DMV computer is an understatement. Being stopped by the police can turn into a very serious matter. Such stops should be avoided. While to a police officer it is reasonable to stop a car whose plates are not apparently in the DMV computer, the cause of this is DMV computer defaults to putting a space into our callsign license plates. This issue has not been resolved].

On Sat, 9 Feb 2008 13:18:04 -0500 (EST), "ARRL SW Division"

Note: This message was inadvertantly delayed at ARRL HQ for approximately

40 hours. We apologize for the error. -- KE3Z


Here's your update on major items of interest to us in the

ARRL Southwestern Division...


California License Plate Issue Resolved

The California Department of Motor Vehicles has made it official that

Amateur Radio callsign license plates will again be issued without

spaces in the callsigns. Those who currently have plates with spaces

can get them exchanged. Information is on the DMV web-site at .

Amateur Radio's case was made by a number of individuals including a

number of individuals who contacted DMV and/or their elected


DMV apparently has several lists of license plate numbers, such as

regular automobile, motorcycle, commercial vehicle, and amateur radio.

Therefore California law enforcement personnel have to search their DMV

database computers for callsign plates under the "ham" designation.

Several people have reported that certain policemen were unaware of

this, and unpleasant confrontations have occurred. People are

suggesting fixes for this, such as putting the words "Amateur Radio" on

the plates. These suggestions are being politely passed on to DMV. In

the meantime, remind any officer stopping you that he must search for

ham plates.

California - Use of Cellular Telephone While Driving Law

After initial concern that California's law prohibiting use of a cell

phone while driving might be misapplied to use of Amateur Radio mobile

equipment, DMV's web-site clearly now states that the law, scheduled to

begin on July 1, does not apply to two-way radios. See

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

ARRL Ignores Life Member Don Borden, NC6A's Complaint

[Editor’s Note – Andy Oppel is ARRL’s Vice-Director Northern Calif. Bob Vallio is Director].

Andy, I was probably one of the first hams to get space ham plates and the lies from DMV. I immediately though "ARRL has to be told" I sent an email to Bob Vallio W6RGG informing him what was happening and also asked him what should be done to correct this. After two weeks of no response I sent him another email and again no response. As of today I have never received a reply to my emails.

I am a life member of the ARRL and have been a member for about 30 years. I'm very, very disappointed with Mr. Vallio and the entire ARRL Organization for the way they handled the ham space problem. All Mr. Vallio had to do was send me a short email telling me that the ARRL was working on the problem through legal channels and that he would keep California Hams advised of the progress.

Believe me if I was not an ARRL Life Member I would not be a member at all!!

Don Borden NC6A

Newstory: AR Newsline, 2-6-08

AR Newsline Reports DMV Policy Change

There are 33 pages of comments from hams which followed the story.

DMV Reverses Policy: No Space, Feb. 6, 2008

California LogoCalifornia Department of Motor Vehicles

Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability

A picture of a man and a woman using DMV Online Services

A picture of a man and a woman using DMV Online ServicesLink to 0nline applications

Schedule Appointment Online
Online Vehicle Registration Renewal
Vehicle Registration Fee Calculator
Online Driver License Renewal
Order Special Interest and Personalized Plates
Online Change of Address
Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability

Dmv Logo

Amateur Radio (HAM) License Plates

These plates are issued, upon request, to holders of Federal Communication Commission (FCC) amateur radio station licenses. The alpha-numeric series reflects the call letters assigned by the FCC (Vehicle Code §5005 and Revenue and Taxation Code §§10751, 10752).

If you have Amateur Radio (HAM) License Plates that have spaces between the numbers or letters and you would like plates without the spaces follow this link to the application. Complete the application and a Statement of Facts indicating that you wish to retain the old plates until the new plates arrive, at which time you will properly destroy the old plates. Mail both documents to the address on the bottom of the application form. No fees are required.

If you have questions or concerns regarding your Amateur Radio (HAM) license plates, please call Customer Communications at (916) 657-6560

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Update - Check DMV website

Hi Everyone:

I am away right now. I have received word from DMV and Assemblyman Feuer's office that we ought to check the website after 10am in the morning. The message states that DMV will reverse its policy. Supposedly, those of who ordered and paid for callsign license plates from the DMV and instead received plates which have a space in the callsign may exchange them at no charge. Supposedly a procedure will be stated after 10am.

For 2.5 weeks, we have been hearing unconfirmed rumors about this outcome. DMV messages have been inconsistent throughout this process. For the last week, I have been stressing to DMV that they ought to correct a problem they created at no charge to us. A fraction within DMV wanted to charge us for a "change of plate." My arguement was that we need a "correction" at no charge. Until we see confirmation let us not get ahead of ourselves.

I asked a senior DMV official - why they were reversing policy? I was told it was due to the letters and petitions to legislative offices. When this official did not say it was due to lobbying efforts by ARRL, I asked if they had been working with ARRL? I was told no. They were unaware of ARRL.

The fact is, see emails below, ARRL has been critical of and attempted to stop those of us who received these plates from pursuing our legal right to redress. Also see John Ardnt, KG6S's site which points out ARRL took no action before the popular campaign forced them too. In order to purse a claim, the complainant must have legal standing; be a direct party. ARRL's standing was not recognized, see Assemblyman Feuer's response to ARRL on Not only do we have a legal right to pursue redress, which can not be assigned or taken by ARRL, if we do not exercise those rights we lose them. ARRL also prematurely announced that it had resolved this dispute and that our letters and petitions had impeded their efforts. The fact is that the popular uprising by the hams of California has pressured DMV to change its policy!

I am away until next week and unable to answer emails. Good luck in checking the DMV site!


Cliff Cheng, Ph.D., WW6CC
Licensed Since 1975
Formerly: WN6JPA, WA6JPA, KI6CM
Life Member - ARRL, QCWA

1c43ff0.jpgBob Vallio to Richard, me

show details Jan 4 (10 days ago)


Hi Cliff,

Here is the original message. While I was searching what I thought was all of my mail, I decided to take a look in my SPAM file, and there it was. I have learned that I must search my SPAM file separately, if I am to find the target word there. Sorry I did not realize that, but that's not how the search is supposed to work. I'll look into that.

Balbiani's response is full of weasel words, and does not address the obvious intent of California Vehicle Code Section 5005 that the license contain the call letters assigned by the FCC as shown on the amateur's license . Neither does his response address the false statement from his office that the spacing was being done to conform to federal requirements.

I'm not sure of the efficacy of your letter writing program, but since you have already chosen to launch it, there's little to be done. Please keep Dick and I advised of further actions you may undertake; preferably before their implementation. Thanks.

73, Bob -- W6RGG

1c4401f.jpg1c4402f.jpgWW6CC, Cliff ChengLoading...

Jan 5 (10 days ago)

1c4403e.jpg1c4404e.jpgWW6CC, Cliff Cheng to Bob, Dick,

show details Jan 5 (10 days ago)


Hi Bob:

Your email and our telecon last night offers no workable solutions,
just criticism of our grassroots campaign to reverse DMV's foolish
actions. You suggest we try to influence DMV. As I explained last
night this has been done and failed. From DMV's letter to Marvin
Munster, it is clear DMV has dug its heels in. From my years of
experience as a former LA City Commissioner and prior to that an
Advisor to the Calif. Fair Employment and Housing Commissioner and US
EEOC, and the advise I have gotten for political pros our method of
generating as a grassroots campaign to apply pressure from outside
onto DMV by way of petitioning the legislature is the way to go. Dick
has not mentioned his experience of government to me, have you any?

We respectfully ask you to reconsider your position. We welcome your support.


On Thu, 17 Jan 2008 19:59:02 -0800, "Andy Oppel" <>
> >Hi Cliff,
> Bill Hillendahl forwarded your note to me. ARRL Pacific Division
> Director Bob Vallio, ARRL Southwestern Division Director Dick Norton,
> and I all ask that you hold off on letters and petitions and give us
> a chance to work this through channels. We have several people (all
> of whom are hams) working different angles on the issue, including an
> attorney who knows California state law, a professional lobbyist in
> Sacramento who is our state government liaison, and some guys in
> Southern California who have connections with the DMV. Our fear is
> that a letter writing or petition campaign at this time could
> undermine the efforts that are already underway.
> I know how frustrating government agencies can be, but one common
> characteristic is that things change slowly. So, it's going to take
> some time to resolve this. And if we decide that letters to
> legislators would help, we will put out a call to do so, and include
> you in that request.
> -- Andy Oppel, N6AJO
> ARRL Pacific Division Vice Director

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Complaint - Steve Gibson, K6KGO

Hello Cliff,

I have been following the blog on the "no space ham plates" issue. I received my amateur radio plates yesterday from DMV Headquarters and my configuration was "K6 KGO" as predicted. I called the special plates unit at DMV (916-657-8035) and the technician I spoke with was not aware of the issue. She took down my information and questions and stated that someone would call me back within 3 business days (she stated probably next Monday). I am just wondering what up-to-date information you may have. I haven't attached the plates to my car yet, pending receipt of the phone call promised by DMV. Is DMV providing any relief for the amateur community or is the issue still fluid? If it has been addressed and rectified, what is the next step in the process to get my plates imprinted correctly? Any information you can pass along to me will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.


-Steven Gibson, K6KGO

Lake Almanor, CA

Petition - Jun's Electoronics, 28 Hams Against DMV

Jun’s Electoronics

Culver City CA

28 Signers of the Petition Against a Space in Amateur Radio Callsign License Plates

Jan. 2008

Bryce Anderson, K6TI

Topanga CA

Lonnie Bland, N6RBR

Redondo Beach CA

Walter Deutsch, KG6MZU

El Segundo CA

Richard Friedel, KB6OT

Redondo Beach CA

Gregory Hillendahl, KE6THC

Gardena CA

Paul In, KI6EL

Rosemead CA

Mario Ibarra, WS6C

Palmdale CA

Dale Jensen, K6ZTI

Culver City CA

Darin Jones, KC6UBP

LA CA 90043

Douglas Junge, K6BKB

Culver City CA

Donald Klein, KI6PMS

Culver City CA

Caskey Dickson, KV8O

La Cresenta CA

David Larson, AC9AC

Santa Barbara CA

Marcelino Martinez, KF6ILX

Compton CA

Mark Mountain, AI6MM

Agoura CA

Ernie Nairne, N6HY

LA (Mar Vista), CA

Walt Ordway, K1DFO

Palos Verdes, CA

Jeff Park, W6LLJ

Van Nuys CA

Chito Pastor, WW6CP

Culver City CA

Lee Roberson, K6OXJ

Inglewood CA

Joe Scholz, W6BTE

Manhattan Beach CA

Deanna Smitha, W6DWS

Simi Valley CA

Elie Tawil, K4ELE

San Dimas CA

Robert Taylor, K6VBI

Carson CA

Norman Watters, WG6W

Dominguez Hills CA

Western Amateur Radio Linking Assn., WA6LA

Redondo Beach CA

Jimmy Wunno, KA6WXZ

LA, CA 90065

Ray Wunno, KE6LE

Gardena CA

Monday, February 4, 2008

DMV Calls Tom Cagan, KB6NQW

I just received a telephone call from Ms. Kathleen Rose at the California DMV. She is the New Deputy Director of Registration. She said "as of this day 4 February 2008, the space is gone". Most all who have written to the various state legislative offices and to Mr. Schwarzenegger's office should get a telephone call from her describing where you can apply for replacement plates at no fee.

de kb6nqw, Tom Cagan

Sunday, February 3, 2008

DMV Sends Don Borden, NC6A a 2nd Set of Plates With a Space In It

Just to let you know that the totally screwed up DMV just sent me another set of plates with the space. What a waste of our tax payer dollars!!!!

Don NC6A

ARRL Sacramento Valley Newsletter, 2-1-08

From: ARRL SV Section []
Sent: Friday, February 01, 2008 3:35 PM
Subject: Monthly Sacramento Valley Section News Summary

January Summary,

.....In California for many years now, our Department of Motor Vehicles has
issued call sign license plates to amateurs holding an unexpired amateur
operator's license. Starting a few years ago, DMV put a space on the license
plate (and on the registration document and in the data base) after the
number in the call sign. My call sign thus would appear as W6 KJ both on the
license plate and on my registration. Since my plates are 12 years old, only
the registration appears that way. The plates are correct. But for people
getting their plates recently, this 'space' issue has been an unnecessary
Another aspect of the problem is if I was stopped by police and the plates
were run against the data base. My registration says W6 KJ, but the plates
don't have a space in the call sign. I would need to tell the officer that
it is an amateur radio plate and to make sure to insert the space or the
data base search might show the plate was not issued. After several SV
members complained about this I began researching the issue. I found online
a letter from the director of the DMV in which he noted he could not correct
the problem. The space had been inserted to differentiate between vanity
plates and amateur plates. This was an arbitrary decision. So I wrote to my
legislators requesting relief and advocated that others in the state do the
same. Two days later, but after many letters had been written before I got
into the act, an Assemblywoman in Lancaster, CA, got the answer from DMV for
which we had all hoped. DMV will remove the space from license plates and
our registrations. Thanks to many who acted on this issue, including our
Division leadership who had been working behind the scenes at 'various'
levels to correct the problem......

73, Ron Murdock, W6KJ, Sacramento Valley Section Manager

ARRL Sacramento Valley Section
Section Manager: Ronald D. Murdock, W6KJ

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Rebuttal to EmComm Monthly - Marvin Munster, W6MJM

I am sorry, I have to disagree with you here. The more letters and phone calls, the better. Nothing is worse than stopping a campaign in the middle of attention getting. This is ridiculous. It is not what my call sign is, it is what the CA-DMV want's it to be. No other state in the US puts a space in the call sign.

Marvin - W6MJM (or is it W6 MJM)

Friday, February 1, 2008

EmComm Monthly Reverses Editorial Policy, Feb. 2008


Last month EM reported that the California Department of Motor Vehicles, arbitrarily and unannounced, had implemented a policy of inserting a blank space in the middle of some amateur call sign license plates. There was an enormous groundswell of protest. And, we did get their attention, as well as the attention of some members of the California Legislature. While we have no official policy change to report at this time, we have been asked that the letter-writing and telephone-calling campaigns be put "on hold" until the issue has been reviewed by the DMV and some California Legislators.

For additional information go to: