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Re: K and W calls for Commercial Radio and Ham Radio

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  • ckz38
    There are quite a few K calls East of the Mississippi and also W Call to the West... In the early days of commercial radio the decision was made to issued K
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2013
      There are quite a few K calls East of the Mississippi and also W Call to the West...
      In the early days of commercial radio the decision was made to issued K calls to stations west of the Big Muddy, and W's to the stations east of it.

      WBAP 820 Fort Worth TX, WOAI 1200 San Antonio, TX, WTAW 1620 College Station, TX. WMT 600 Cedar Rapids, IA, WOI 640 Ames, IA, WSUI 910 Iowa City, IA., WHO 1040 Des Moines, WOC 1420 Davenport, IA, and WDBQ 1490 WSBQ Dubuque,IA. There are 46 W calls in Louisiana, but part of Louisiana is east of the Mississippi... Those early stations are among what we call HERITAGE stations. That is they were on the air in the very early years (1920's) of radio in America. There is a lengthy a mix of W and K calls in Minnesota.

      And here a a few examples of K call letters east of the Mississippi..
      of course KDKA 1020 Pittsburgh, PA. and KYW 1060 Philadelphia, PA.
      KFNS 590 Wood River, IL, KSGM 980 Chester, IL., and KQQZ 1190 Fairview Heights, IL. KTGG 1540 Spring Arbor, MI,

      By the way only the very oldest of radio stations have a 3 letter call sign.

      If you would like to look up the call letters in your city or state go to this FCC link


      A scout might want to look up their local stations. You might even want to visit your local station. You'll be surprised how many former Scouts you will find working there. And you might want to find out what the call letters stand for.

      I believe that in the very early days of Ham Radio the K calls were also assigned west of the Mississippi and the W calls to the east.

      Now there are around 13,000 broadcast radio stations, but with over 700,000 Amateur licenses we now have quite a variety of prefixes.

      I am W4GMH now, I started out as a novice in 1954 as WN9GMH... and I have worked in Radio and TV since 1954...
      My Grandfather took me to the local ham club (DuPage ARC-W9DUP) that summer, and a visit to my first hamfest that fall resulted in a visit to a brand new radio station that had just gone on the air in LaGrange, IL....that in turn resulted in my selling sponsors and getting my own Saturday afternoon radio show.

      Now at 74... I'm still having fun running a 100,000 watt FM and 5,000 watt AM in North Florida...(no snow shovels here)..and being Activities Director of the North Okaloosa Amateur Radio Club (www.w4aaz.org). I happily host station visits by groups of Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.

      Our Club supports JOTA, local Jamborees... and we recently had a young scout join our club..and several of us mentored him to earn his EAGLE...

      Hopefully some of you will contact W4AAZ during field day, or one of your scout radio day activities.

      Cal Zethmayr
      Crestview, Florida
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