Callsigns are an important part of Radio, as they tell listeners and other operators who everyone is. Callsigns are a system of letters and numbers that identify the name, location and other information about an operator. On the air, operators exchange them when talking and are required to use them frequently to identify themselves. Often, operators say their callsigns using the Phonetic Alphabet. Each “Radio Service” uses a different type of callsign.

Amateur Radio Callsigns consist of three parts:

Prefix Number Suffix
W 1 AW
Indicates the Country and Location of the Station. Indicates the “Region” within the country Whatever you want.

Based on a Callsign, you can tell the location of a station. For example, all US Callsigns begin with A, N or W. The easiest way to find the location of a station is to look it up using an online tool or database. But you can also use a lookup map.

Broadcast callsigns are determined by each country. In the US, they are four letters long, and start with a W east of the Mississippi, and E west. For example, WCBS is CBS’s Main Station, located in New York.

Military callsigns can be self assigned or assigned by the FCC. For example, when the President is flying in his plane, his callsign is “Air Force One”. However, the station in the Pentagon is identified as “WAR”.