call sign

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call sign

[′kȯl ‚sīn]
(communications)

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.

I. V. KAZANSKII

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).