Call Sign

In broadcasting and radio communications, a call sign (also known as a call name or call letters—and historically as a call signal—or abbreviated as a call) is a unique designation for a transmitting station. In North America they are used as names for broadcasting stations. A call sign can be formally assigned by a government agency, informally adopted by individuals or organizations, or even cryptographically encoded to disguise a station's identity.

The use of call signs as unique identifiers dates to the landline railroad telegraph system. Because there was only one telegraph line linking all railroad stations, there needed to be a way to address each one when sending a telegram. In order to save time, two letter identifiers were adopted for this purpose. This pattern continued in radiotelegraph operation; radio companies initially assigned two-letter identifiers to coastal stations and stations aboard ships at sea. These were not globally unique, so a one-letter company identifier (for instance, 'M' and two letters as a Marconi Station) was later added. By 1912, the need to quickly identify stations operated by multiple companies in multiple nations required an international standard; an ITU prefix would be used to identify a country, and the rest of the call sign an individual station in that country.

Call signs are also used for air traffic control communication with airplanes and manned spacecraft.

Read more about Call Sign:  International Series, Ships and Boats, Aviation, Spacecraft, Amateur Radio, Broadcast Call Signs, Military Call Signs, Transmitters Requiring No Call Signs

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