While I was studying for my Extra class Amateur Radio license test, I began researching vanity call signs. If you didn’t know, Hams can apply for a vanity call sign to replace their current call. Most Hams get call signs that are shorter and are easier to transmit via morse code, aka “CW”. Some Hams simply want a call that’s more appropriate for them in some way or other.
I found one that was available, “WA4RAY” that I thought would be good for me. Although it’s a full length 6-character call, that doesn’t matter much for me since I don’t use CW. I thought that since I live in Washington and most likely always will, and that since the suffix matches my name, it would be perfect. I applied for it once I received my license upgrade, and received it a few weeks later.
From the FCC License data, I knew that it had once belonged to someone else, Norbert Beiro of Tampa Florida, originally issued in 1996 and expired in 2006, becoming available in 2008. I’ve since looked him up and learned that he had passed away in 2002. In the Ham world, the term “He’s a Silent Key” is used to describe or honor a Ham who has passed.
Although I know almost nothing about him, I hope that I can honor him and this call sign by acting as a responsible and honorable Ham.