Richard J. Norton
21290 West Hillside Drive
Topanga, CA 90290
19 December, 2007
Mr. George Valverde
Director, California Department of Motor Vehicles
2415 1st Avenue
Mail Station F101
Sacramento, CA 95818
I am the Southwestern Division Director of the ARRL, the National Organization for Amateur Radio. The Southwestern Division, with over 12,000 members, encompasses Southern California and Arizona.
This is to confirm a situation recently brought to your attention by the office of Assemblyman Mike Feuer concerning a completely unexpected change in the California Motor Vehicle Department’s production of license plates with Amateur Radio callsigns. The license plates are now apparently produced with a space between parts of the callsign. I request your support toward restoring the long-standing production of license plates with the callsigns presented in unaltered form.
All 50 states and the District of Columbia issue vehicle license plates with Amateur Radio callsigns on them. At times these permit easy identification of participants in emergency communications.
The Federal Communications Commission issues callsigns with between four and six characters to holders of Amateur Radio licenses. The callsigns begin with the letter A, K, N, or W. There is a number in the callsign. The number 6 was issued to stations in California, and lately the FCC has permitted people who move from California to retain their 6th district callsigns. In fact, the FCC now allows selection of callsigns with any number from 0 to 9 by license holders anywhere in the USA.
The Callsigns have one or two characters, followed by a number, followed by one to three characters. Typical of callsigns are AA6VV, AD6D, K6ABC, KD6XYZ, N6ZZ, N8QXQ, W6AAA, WB6ZYX, WW6CC, and WX6X.
In all my 52 plus years as a licensed amateur, I have never heard of a state issuing license plates with a space between parts of the callsign.
It would feel no more appropriate than someone sending you correspondence with a space between parts of your name, such as George Val verde or George Val ver de..
On behalf of the licensed Radio Amateurs in California, I request that you take steps to restore the full callsigns, without introduced spaces on the California Amateur Radio license plates.
Thank you in advance for your assistance.
Richard J. Norton
Amateur Radio Callsign – N6AA
Southwestern Division Director