Call signs in the United Kingdom

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Call signs in United Kingdom include a three letter country code, and a series of letters and numbers.[1][2][3]

Call signs are regulated internationally by the ITU as well as nationally in the UK by the Office of Communications (Ofcom).[4] It regulates amateur radio in the country as an independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services. It assigns call signs, issues amateur radio licences, allots frequency spectrum, and monitors the radio waves. Ofcom is no longer responsible for setting and conducting amateur radio exams, which are now run by the Radio Society of Great Britain on their behalf.[5]

The Radio Society of Great Britain[6] (RSGB) is the United Kingdom's recognised national society for amateur radio operators. The society's patron is Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and it represents the interests of the UK’s licensed radio amateurs.

Call sign blocks for telecommunication[edit]

The International Telecommunication Union has assigned Great Britain the following call sign blocks for all radio communication, broadcasting or transmission:[7]

Call sign block Principal use
GAA–GZZ domestic
MAA–MZZ domestic
VPA–VQZ Oceanic islands, Antarctica
VSA–VSZ
ZBA–ZJZ Gibraltar, Middle East, south Atlantic
ZNA–ZOZ
ZQA–ZQZ
2AA–2ZZ domestic

While not directly related to call signs, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) further has divided all countries assigned amateur radio prefixes into three regions; Great Britain is located in ITU Region 1.

Assignments[edit]

Country prefix Call sign Location
GBR G5XX 2 Droitwich
GBR G5SC Westerglen
GBR G5NO Newcastle upon Tyne
GBR G2EH Edinburgh
GBR G5PY Plymouth
GBR G5SX Swansea
GBR G5GB Droitwich
GBR G2BD Redmoss
GBR G5NO Stagshaw
GBR G2BE Lisnagarvey
GBR G2LO 1 London
GBR G2LS Leeds
GBR G5PY Plymouth
GBR G2BD Redmoss
GBR G5SC Westerglen
GBR G5PY Plymouth
GBR G5WA 3 Washford
GBR G2LO 1 Brookmans Park
GBR G6BM Clevedon
GBR G2BE Lisnagarvey
GBR G2ZY Moorside Edge
GBR G5SC Westerglen
GBR G2BD Redmoss
GBR G6FL Sheffield
GBR G2BE Lisnagarvey
GBR G6BM Bournemouth
GBR G2BD Redmoss
GBR G5NO Newcastle upon Tyne
GBR G2DE Dundee
GBR G2EH Edinburgh
GBR G5SC Glasgow
GBR G6KH Kingston upon Hull
GBR G6ST Stoke on Trent
GBR G5NG Nottingham
GBR G5IT Birmingham
GBR G6LV Liverpool

Call sign assignments for amateur radio[edit]

Amateur radio or ham radio call signs are unique identifiers for the 60,000 licensed operators. Ofcom allots the individual call signs to the amateurs it licences. Call signs are the property of Ofcom even when assigned.[8]

Prefixes + letters in suffix Licence class
M3 + 3 Letters Foundation Licence
M6 + 3 Letters Foundation Licence
2EØ + 3 Letters Intermediate Licence
2E1 + 3 Letters Intermediate Licence
G1 + 3 letters Full Licence
G2 + 2 letters Full Licence
G2 + 3 letters Full Licence
G3 + 2 letters Full Licence
G3 + 3 letters Full Licence
G4 + 2 letters Full Licence
G4 + 3 letters Full Licence
G5 + 2 letters Full Licence
G6 + 2 letters Full Licence
G6 + 3 letters Full Licence
G7 + 3 letters Full Licence
G8 + 2 letters Full Licence
G8 + 3 letters Full Licence
GØ + 3 letters Full Licence
MØ + 3 letters Full Licence
M1 + 3 letters Full Licence
M5 + 3 letters Full Licence
m/^(G|M)(\S)?\d{1}\S{1}$/ Contest callsign

Callsigns in the G9 series are commercial licences, issued for experimental purposes and these may not be used on the amateur bands (except in the case of a contest callsign).

Regional two-letter prefixes are assigned according to the following table:[9]

Map showing regional indicators.
Region G-prefix M-prefix Intermediate lic. G-club prefix M-club prefix Special event
England G M 2E GX MX GB
Guernsey GU MU 2U GP MP GB
Isle of Man GD MD 2D GT MT GB
Jersey GJ MJ 2J GH MH GB
Northern Ireland GI MI 2I GN MN GB
Scotland GM MM 2M GS MS GB
Wales GW MW 2W GC MC GB

Overseas call sign assignments[edit]

Prefix[10] DXCC Entity
VP2E Anguilla
VP2M Montserrat
VP2V British Virgin Islands
VP5 Turks & Caicos
VP6 Pitcairn Island
VR6 Pitcairn Island (prior to 1 May 1998)
VP6D Ducie Island (Pitcairn group)
VP8/F Falkland Islands
VP8/G South Georgia Island
VP8/O South Orkney Islands
VP8/SA South Sandwich Island
VP8/SH South Shetland Islands
VP8 Antarctica
VP9 Bermuda
VQ9 Chagos (Indian Ocean)
ZB, ZG Gibraltar
ZC4 UK Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus
ZD7 St Helena
ZD8 Ascension Island
ZD9 Tristan Da Cunha
ZF Cayman Islands

Special event call signs[edit]

Ofcom reserves the right to issue temporary special event call signs to licensed amateurs holding a full licence.[11]

Special event call signs are issued with a 'GB' prefix, but others like GQ, GO, MQ, GA, MO and 2O have been issued in special cases. Ofcom also allows numerals in special event call sign suffixes. For instance GB75RD was a special event sign for the 75th anniversary of the Reading and District Amateur radio club.[12] More recently Ofcom have agreed to what was a very special arrangement for the use of the Special Event Station call sign Gx100RSGB during 2013 to mark the 100th anniversary of the RSGB (where "x" is replaced by the secondary location identifier, M, W, I, D, U and J, etc. but never with B to form the typical 'GB' prefix for other special events.)

Exceptionally, call signs taking the form 'GB3xx' are usually allocated to repeaters whilst beacons usually take the 'GB3xxx' form.

Reciprocal agreements[edit]

Holders of licences in countries signed up to CEPT TR 61-01[13] operate with their home call sign prefixed with an M/ plus the additional country identifier when necessary (e.g. MM,MI, MW etc.). Holders of licences in countries signed up to CEPT TR 61-02[14] can operate for 3 months before needing a Great Britain call sign as issued by Ofcom.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]