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Setting up a Club & Getting a Club Callsign
 
This page is for US Hams.  It's easy to form a club.  Ideally the club will grow to bring in more members, serve the community and help develop interest in ham radio.  But getting started only needs someone with a valid amateur radio license (who will be the Trustee) and three other people.  Some paperwork is needed, described below.  This is sent to one of three FCC-approved Club Station Call Sign Administrators (CSCSA).  This FCC page lists the three CSCSAs.  I used the W5YI-VEC, but all three are equally good. 

Note:  While you should prepare all documents described below, the ARRL-VEC only requires that you submit the Application form (Step 1 below).  On the other hand, ARRRL requires you to mail the original form to them (not fax).  You can use the ARRL-VEC if you are in a hurry, but be sure to complete the other forms for your records. Use the W5YI-VEC if you want to fax your application with the other forms.

By FCC rule, there is no charge for this service.  But keep in mind that after you receive your sequentially assigned club call sign, if you choose to request a vanity call sign, there is a charge for that.

The person who is Trustee cannot be Trustee for any other club.

This is all you have to do:

  1. Fill out an Application for an Amateur Club Station License form.  Fill it out by hand.  Be sure to check the New License Grant box, and in Section 3, fill in "New" for the Call Sign.  Leave the FRN field blank.  A new FRN will be created for your club.  Choose one of the following forms:
  2. Then create a "Document of Organization."  Here is a template (MS Word doc).  This typically consists of a Constitution and Bylaws.  My template is quite simple, but there are other examples on the web.  Be sure to fill in the particulars of your club -the club name (e.g. "North Forrest Amateur Radio Club, or NFARC"), particular objectives, dates, officer names, etc.  Here is the document used by the club I helped form (pdf).
  3. Next create "Minutes of club's first meeting."  Here is a simple template (MS Word doc). This should document the approval of the Constitution and Bylaws and the election of officers. Feel free to cover much more at the meeting and put that in the minutes.  The Bylaws in the above template allow meetings to be held by conference call, over the radio, etc.
  4. If filing with the W5YI-VEC:
    • Make a copy of the trustee's license, be sure it is signed, and include that.
    • You don't need a cover letter, but if you want, here's an example to remind you what to send.  Fax documents to (817) 548-9594 or mail all the above documents plus the copy of trustee's license to:

    W5YI VEC
    PO Box 565101
    Dallas,  TX 75356

  5. If filing with the ARRL-VEC:
    • Send in only the completed form ARRL VEC Form 605-C
    • Mail (US Postal Service) the signed form to:

    ARRL VEC
    225 Main Street
    Newington, CT 06111 USA

If the paperwork is in order, the request is typically processed immediately, and the FCC usually grants the license just a few days later.

Note: Both W5YI-VEC and W4VEC-VEC require all of the above documents to be sent in.  The ARRL-VEC only requires their filled-out application form, but if you use ARRL-VEC, you still need to prepare these documents and have them in your files for inspection by FCC, should they request.

Other issues to consider:

  • If you plan to request a vanity call sign as soon as you get the club's sequentially assigned call sign, remember it typically takes 18 calendar days or more for FCC to process vanity requests.  See the Vanity HQ website's FAQ for details.  For D-Star repeaters, it is best to wait to register the repeater's call sign until after the vanity call sign request is approved.
  • Clubs may hold as many sequentially assigned call signs as they need.  Use the same FRN on subsequent requests, and of course, on those, you don't need the new club Document of Organization, meeting minutes, etc.
  • Note: "A club requesting a vanity call sign after Feb. 14, 2011 may hold only one vanity call sign grant. A club that has been assigned more than one vanity call sign must surrender all of the vanity call signs it has been assigned before it can obtain another vanity call sign."

I would like to thank Rich, KC6OBJ, for his help in providing the initial documents which were the starting point for my club and the template files.

* D-Star® is a registered trademark used for communication equipment (repeaters and transceivers) for amateur radio communications, and owned by Icom Incorporated.

Copyright © 2009-2014 James M. Moen. All rights reserved.