As I mentioned in my D-STAR post, I have been recently getting into amateur radio. This has led to viewing many posts on many different related forums where the users use their call signs as their username. For most people in the ham radio community, their call sign is a symbol of pride. Pride in their community and pride in their hobby. This also extends to their cars as well. Now, I was going to post an image of someone’s licence plate here and demonstrate why it is a bad idea to put their call sign on it; however, I cannot, in good conscious do that to someone without their permission. Even if the copyright of the image allowed me to repost the image, the image is freely available, and the information that I am using is publicly available and legal to use, I still have issues with the violation of privacy involved in it.
So instead, I am going to ask you to imagine a license plate with the letters K2GXT on it. This license plate is on a car. You recognize the symbol on the license plate as the amateur radio symbol, and the car looks like a porcupine. This car just cut you off and you want to know who was driving it. Now it used to be that you could perform a simple Google search and find the information that you are looking for, but thankfully it is not as easy any more. First go to the FCC Universal Licensing System page. Then, click on the search for license button in the middle of the page, type in “K2GXT”, and presto you get the license information for call sign K2GXT. This page lists the full name of the person who’s car that was, as well as their home address.
There is one plus side to having one of these plates: It classifies your car as an emergency vehicle in New York. What does this get you? Not much more that the ability to enter a place in communications emergency without having to show additional credentials.
(P.S.- Just so that it is known, K2GXT is the call sign for the amateur radio club here at RIT. I figured it would be the safest call sign to use as an example (as well as some free publicity).)