call sign

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call sign

[′kȯl ‚sīn]
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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).
An Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation Copyright © 2005 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
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