At the prompting of friend and inspiration Brady Pamplin W5LH, I sat for and passed both the Technician and General Class exams for amateur radio operator at HamCon last month. I now have limited privileges on limited frequencies. This has been something I have wanted to do since I was a Scout (they were called Boy Scouts in my time).
While I was originally issued a ‘systematic’ call sign of KI5FDS (kilo india five foxtrot delta sierra, aka “First Dale in Space”), I applied for and was granted a modification for what is known as a ‘vanity call sign’, which came in today. I can now get ‘Radio Operator’ license plates that say “KI5SME”, as well as participate in important disaster preparedness exercises such as Field Day.
A short dissection: The prefix “KI5” is the currently available code for new licensees in Region 5 (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas). The suffix “SME” could stand for “subject matter expert”, but it really stands for “someday, maybe Extra”, referring to the “Amateur Extra” class that is the next higher level after General. The official definitions are available at the FCC web site.