call sign

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call sign

[′kȯl ‚sīn]

Call Sign


a set of characters (code symbols, letters, or numbers) or an audible signal (word, musical phrase, bird call) that serves as the distinctive sign of a radio station—usually for the purpose of identification of the station during reception. As a rule, it is transmitted at the beginning of each period of the station’s operation.

The set of symbols in a call sign identifies the station’s national affiliation. The initial characters are established by the International Radio Regulations. The USSR, for example, uses in this position the letters U and R and such combinations as 4J, 4K, and 4L. The complete structure of a call sign depends on the class (purpose) of a station and differs for broadcasting, official, and amateur radio stations. Call signs for amateur radio stations have a complicated makeup and contain the most information. They often indicate through a code the station’s operating wave band (shortwave or ultrashortwave), the station’s group (a collective or individual station) and site (in the USSR—the Union republic, oblast, and amateur-radio region), and the individual letter symbol or registration number of the station.


call sign

Any combination of characters or pronounceable words used primarily for establishing and maintaining communications. It identifies a communication facility, a command, an authority, an activity, or a unit. A call sign should have at least two syllables (e.g., Red 1, Pan Am 550).
References in periodicals archive ?
He is a licensed radio amateur who has been given a special call-sign to publicise the charity work of Bedworth Lions Club.
A call-sign from the lander should have been received shortly after 6am.
Bush has a fleet of jets at his disposal with the call-sign Air Force One.