Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Little Look-up

Today, I took some time out from my volunteer gig at the ARRL Laboratory to explore the League's files of Amateur Radio Callbooks that go back to the founding of the hobby -- when giants strode the earth. As far as I know, no one publishes a printed Callbook any more -- there are CD-ROM versions, and the information is available through quite a few online services. The print volumes are great as archives, but unfortunately no one has undertaken the big (!) chore to scan and OCR the volumes for general access. (Hamcall.net will let you look up a callsign for 1960 and a number of the more recent yearly databases.)

Anyway I found the first Callbook instances of my 4 callsigns: K5MXF (1958), WA1OCT (1971), WB6YBQ (1974), and AA6E (1979). Like many old timer hams, I did not keep my early license documents and my memory of exact dates was fuzzy. It's good to have them now.

The League has a great archive, but alas there is no one tasked to retrieve data for members. It might make a good service job for the right volunteer in the Newington area.

Note added: If you try hamcall.net for historical data, you need to be registered (free) and logged in. Go to http://hamcall.net/call, enter the call sign and check the box "Look up this callsign from all available database years".

6 comments:

Dan W1CNI said...

Martin, I'm a new ARRL Tour Guide Volunteer. Going through my orientation with Skip W1FTE last Tuesday 3/23 he showed me the call book storage. We were able to find my old call W9VXC in the 1953 call book ok. Enjoyed your January 14th "Volunteering at League HQ" entry. Thx. Dan W1CNI

Dan W1CNI said...

Martin, Tour Guide on duty could research callbooks for members during slack periods. Dan

Dan W1CNI said...

But, free look up seems to only go back to 1995. $26 fee to join to get more extensive "Gold" membership benefits. Dan

Martin Ewing said...

When I do it, I see a listing for 1960, 1983, and 1995 onward. (I only have a free account.)

Dan W1CNI said...

"But, free look up seems to only go back to 1995. $26 fee to join to get more extensive "Gold" membership benefits." Oops... my comment refers to your "Note added" re. hamcall.net... not to ARRL. Dan

Dan W1CNI said...

Martin, you are soooo correct! I registered for a free account at hamcall.net and then Hamcall.net was able to lookup my old call W9VXC in the 1960 database. Since my call was issued in 1953, I guess that is as far back as they currently go. Thx. Dan