Back in “the day” Popular Electronics magazine offered certificates for what it called “Short-Wave Monitor Certificate of Registration”. In the 1960’s I wrote in and obtained such a certificate and was assigned “station identification sign” WPE9IYN.
Part of the “deal” was that Popular Electronics also worked with the FCC to reserve the id (without the “PE” in the middle) so that your assigned station identification sign could also become your amateur radio service call sign.
I had intended to work towards an amateur radio license – my uncle and cousin were Hams. I spent some time learning code, but never actually took the exam.
So, after I obtained my license in February, I checked if W9IYN was available, and sure enough, it was. So, I applied for, and obtained that call sign as a “vanity” call sign. So, my Amateur Radio Service call sign is now W9IYN.
When I was in middle school, my buddy Ross introduced me to the world of electronics by lending me his Knight Kit “Ocean Hopper” regenerative radio. We also worked together building a flip-flop circuit provided to us by a “traveling roadshow” on computers when we were in 8th grade.
When I was in 9th grade – junior high at the time – I was fortunate to receive the requested Knight Kit “Star Roamer” as a Christmas gift – still have that radio today.
In 1967 I wrote into Popular Electronics magazine, which was offering “call signs” as a “Short-Wave Monitor Certificate of Registration” for non-licensed receive-only hobbyists. At the time, they also coordinated with the FCC to reserve those call signs. I still have my certificate, and will eventually post it on my site.
Fast forward to Feb, 1, 2020, when I took the Technical and General amateur radio exams administered by the Volunteer Examiners from the Four Lakes Amateur Radio Club, and passed both with perfect scores.
My call sign was originally KD9OVL. However, I also applied for an FCC “vanity” call sign – which is the same as the one issued by Popular Electronics in 1967 (without the “PE” portion, after the “W” prefix.). I’ll let you know how that turns out. 😉
UPDATE: As of 3/10/2020, my call sign is now W9IYN.