A new year, a new callsign

In 2013 I applied for M7P as a Special Contest Callsign, and have used it successfully in a large number of contests throughout the years. One of the reasons I chose that particular callsign was for the rarity value when working the WPX contests, my logic being that people are always chasing new multipliers and the M7 prefix was quite rare with only a potential 26 callsigns.

In October 2018, Ofcom started issuing M7xxx callsigns to new applicants for the Foundation licence and so my contest callsign suddenly lost the rarity value.

I decided that when it was due for renewal that I’d change. I’d never been entirely happy with M7P when using it on SSB as I’ve found that getting the final letter across can sometimes be difficult in crowded and noisy bands. Of course that’s not a problem on data or CW but that, combined with the reason above made me start looking around at alternatives.

I decided very quickly that I didn’t want an M prefix again, simply because what happened in October could quite easily happen again. I could have picked an unused M prefix but as and when M0s run out, I could have been caught out again.

I looked at G prefixes and immediately discounted 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 simply for the fact that they’re still relatively common. That left me with the G9 prefix and once I started researching, I discovered that G9 callsigns have only been issued commercially for experimental purposes and never used on the amateur bands. This doesn’t include the G9+1 callsigns that are now issued as Special Contest Callsigns.

The RSGB post a list of which Special Contest callsigns have been issued and at the time I checked, there were just nine G9+1 callsigns. I looked through the list and decided to apply for G9D.

My application form was duly completed and emailed on the 1st January 2020. At 09:00 on the 2nd January I received confirmation that G9D has been issued to me.

I’ve got this callsign for at least five years and I’ve already registered it with LoTW so all QSOs made using it will be uploaded there. It’ll be a few years before solar cycle 25 kicks in properly but I’m looking forward to giving it a good airing.

If you hear G9D during a contest on SSB or CW or see it scrolling up your screen during a data contest, please give me a call!

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