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General Information: Amateur Radio

AMATEUR RADIO
Amateur Radio license plates began in 1950 in recognition of "Hams" who provided wireless communication during times of emergency.  (Some special plates with radio call letters were also issued in 1938 in Oklahoma and 1939 in Michigan.)  By the end of the 1950's, 45 states had already passed laws providing for these unique plates.  In CA, MA, NE, NY, RI and VA, plates were issued on bases with an older baseplate date.
 
U.S. radio calls started with a country code (W or K), a zone district number (1 to 9 and 0), followed by the specific station (2 or 3 letters ).  Originally, W began at AA-ZZ (= 650) and all other prefixes began at AAA-ZZZ (= 16,900), with XA-XZ and XAA-XZZ omitted.  The regional system ended 3/31/1978, after which any call could appear in any zone and many exceptions to the original system appeared.
 
New prefixes appeared as follows:  K9 1947, WA2 1958, WA3 1964 (the last zone to issue WA), WB2 and WB6 1962, WB4 1965, WB8,9,0 reported 1969, WC not issued, WD2,4,6,8,9,0 1976.
Optional Bicentennial prefixes were used optionally in 1976 only, listed below as "76".
Novice radio calls began 7/1/1951 with WN,WV,KN (WN seen 1955, KN seen 1960).
Novice became N 10/1/1976 although N0 seen 1967 and N5 seen 1974.
 
 
STATES ASSIGNED BY DISTRICT, WITH DATE BEGAN:  (Earliest state in each district)
 
1 = CT 1956, ME 1962, MA 1965, NH 1957, RI 1958, VT 1958
2 = NJ 1968, NY 1963
3 = DE 3-31-54, MD 3-31-57, PA 56
4 = AL 1952, FL 1950, GA 1951, KY 1973, NC 1951, SC 1956, TN 1951,
    VA 1952
5 = AR 1954, LA 1951MS 1951, NM 1953, OK 1953, TX 1954
6 = CA 1954
7 = AZ 1955, ID 1957, MT 1958, NV 1951, OR 1953, UT 1955, WA 1957,
    WY 1960
8 = MI 1954, OH 1953, WV 1960
9 = IL 1956, IN 1954, WI 1-52
0 = CO 1958, IA 1954, KS 1954, MN 1952, MO EXP JAN 53, NE 1953,
    ND 1951, SD 1953
 
 
EARLIEST PREFIX SEEN BY DISTRICT:  (Earliest district with that code)
 
      1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     0   1976
W   1956  1963  1953  1950  1951  1954  1951  1953  1/52  1951   AC
K   1958  1963  1961  1956  1958  1954  1961  1957  1955  1958   AD
WA  1966  1963  1968  1962  1962  1960  1966  1963  1966  1963   AA
WB  1977  1963  1977  1969  1972  1962  5/79  1968  1974  1973   AB
WD                    1979  1978              1984  1978  1975   AE
 
U.S. TERRITORIES:  (When started)
 
KL7 = AK v1952 (KL7AAA v1952)                                    AL7
KH6 = HI v1956 (KH6AAA v1968, WH6AAA v1976)   (Law P 5/5/1955)   AH6
KG6 = GU v1964 (KG6AAA v1964)
KZ5 = CZ v1951
 
CANADA:
 
VE1 = NB v1969, NS 1959, PE v 1959 (VE1AAA v1965)
VE2 = QC 1952  (VE2AAA v1956)
VE3 = ON 1976
VE4 = MB 1964
VE5 = SK 1960
VE6 = AB 1959  (VE6AAA v1962)
VE7 = BC 1963  (VE7AAA 1963)
VE8 = NT v1962, YK 1973-78
VO1 = NF 1962  (VO2 = Labrador v1970)
VY1 = YK 1979