Welcome to the new site! It has all of the content from the old KC3JXQ site but with my updated callsign as the domain.
It was interesting to apply for and get a vanity callsign. I learned a great deal about the FCC licensing system and a pile of other little things that I will likely only use once (just like the factoids on the Amateur Extra Exam!).
First, getting an assigned 2×2 from the system when I upgraded was fun to watch, but the call just wasn’t my thing. But it taught me some things. First off, there are some services that some hams use that will autoupdate based on changes to the FCC database. EchoLink sent me an email about 24 hours after my callsign was changed to let me know that my new username was my new call but that I didn’t have to change anything else. QRZ.com also did the same thing. They even assigned me a new logbook (which I carefully did NOT use) and updated my login to fit with my new callsign. That was pretty slick!
There are a few things that I have to do with other items to ensure a smooth transition. I will need to make a new certificate with LotW. That is a project for this week. I’m hoping that is fairly smooth. If it isn’t, I will document it on this site.
D-Star seems to be a bit of a nightmare. When my call changed, I ceased to exist. No option to change it. I was just GONE. Now, I will fully admit that I may have missed some nuance somewhere, but I think I’m going to have to apply for a new registration under my new call and go from there. That is a less than optimal experience, but as someone who deals in software, I can understand where the problem likely lies.
I haven’t yet tried to do anything with DMR. I’m hoping that’s a bit easier given that there is a unique identifier that is NOT the callsign. If it works the way that I think it should, that might be almost as easy as EchoLink. Again, if I hit a wall I will document it here.
And then there’s the rest of the shack…
I renamed a couple of computers and my Zumspot. I also have to sort through MacLoggerDX and get all of that squared away. WSJT-X is a simple update to the callsign in the configuration. eQSL will also need an update as I haven’t gotten any fun emails from that site just yet. There was also the fun of going in and remembering how to set the callsign in my various radios. That mostly matters for digital modes and those aren’t really up and running in my shack yet because of the D-Star conundrum.
I still don’t have a contact under the new callsign, but I will hopefully spend some time on the air later this week and on the weekend. I have the PCARS Thursday night 2m net, of course, and it will be fun to join that as always.
A few thoughts about this particular adventure. Over on http://www.radioqth.net there is a lot of good information on applying for and searching for a vanity callsign. There is a great search that can help you narrow down what’s available. And there are little tidbits to help set some expectations around timing. There is an interesting bit about it being 18 days from application to grant and even when the batch job that does the processing on the FCC’s licensing system runs. That was a little nugget that turned out to be completely correct.
I’d also like to say that with the plan to charge hams for things like vanity callsigns and the use of the system to upgrade licenses there had better be a little thought thrown into the usability of the licensing software. Everything about it from the forms to the instructions screams “LOWEST BIDDER FOR A FEDERAL CONTRACT.” This is 2021. There are higher expectations for UI/UX and government systems need to consider that. I don’t need a glossy native app experience, but having some clearer instructions that didn’t read like they were written by a tax attorney would be great (no offense intended to my friendly tax attorneys). In general, government documentation sacrifices clarity for accuracy. In other words, they’d rather be technically correct than readable by a normal end user. And that’s depressing. I figured it out, but I also read really dense, technical legalese for a living, so I’m not the best test. In short, if we have to pay for the privilege of using it (above and beyond our current taxes paid) then it should be usable.
I’m sure I’ll have more notes as I push on with getting all of my stuff updated. I’ll make this a running series of posts as needed.