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Information regarding Call Signs--
Every licensed Radio Amateur is given a call sign that is used to identify you and your location of license. Each country that has Amateur Radio status is allocated a range of call signs by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
Prefix and Suffix--
Call signs consist of a prefix and a suffix. The prefix is usually composed of one or two letters and a number such as VE4 in Canada for the province of Manitoba or K9 in the U.S. for the states Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Some countries have prefixes that are composed of a number and a letter such as 4X for Israel or 9K for Kuwait. If this sounds confusing, for the first timer it is. After doing it a while, they rattle off like Dr. Seuss.
While the prefix uniquely identifies a country the suffix is unique for the individual. In Canada a call sign such as VE3ABC has VE3 (Ontario) as the prefix and ABC as the suffix. In the U.S the call sign N2MG has a prefix of N2 and suffix of MG. U.S. hams may also have a two letter prefix thus AB2Z is a valid call. Suffixes may also be less than three letters so you have call signs such as VE7AB in British Columbia and KH6Y in Hawaii.
In North America the number in the call sign generally refers to an area of the country. The 3 in VE3 refers to Ontario and the 6 in K6 refers to California. The number may be shared between states in the U.S. so that 1 as in K1 or W1 can refer to the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Usually in Canada the number refers to a single province although VE1 can refer to the Maritime provinces New Brunswick or Nova Scotia.
Other countries follow a similar practice so you can have states in Brazil and Prefectures in Japan.
Prefixes used by Amateurs in the United States are shown in the following table. U.S. Radio Amateurs may have either a single letter or two letters in the prefix. See the two letter allocations at the bottom of the table. The single letter prefixes K, and N are also in use by U.S. Amateurs. To further complicate matters Amateurs that have moved to a different area of the country may retain their existing call sign so when you hear W8ABC you may be receiving a signal from other than the W8 states.
Call Sign Prefix--State
W0-- Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota
W1-- Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont
W2-- New Jersey, New York
W3-- Delaware, D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania
W4-- Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia
W5-- Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas
W7-- Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Wyoming
W8-- Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia
W9-- Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin
AL0-7, KL0-7, NL0-7, WL0-7-- Alaska
AH6-7, KH6-7, NH6-7, WH6-7-- Hawaii
Additional U.S. prefixes
A, AA - AK K, KA - KK
KM - KW
KX - KZ
N, NA - NK
NM - NW
NX - NZ
WA - WK
WM - WO
WQ - WW
WX - WZ