On 07/19/16, Jonathan Wilson eaglescout.jonathan@... <070@...> wrote:
Thank you all for the kind replies!
1. First of all, the FCC doesn't care about what callsign variant you use, as long as it is not confusing (with other systems) and is assigned to you. There actually is no requirement to use anything other than your own callsign--you can operate as KC1BOS anywhere the FCC has jurisdiction. That includes not only the 50 states but all US territories and protectorates.
2. The FCC allows you to use a self-assigned prefix or suffix as long as it doesn't conflict with international allocations. So you could use a /100 suffix if you were celebrating your 100th birthday, but you can't use C2 because it's assigned to Nauru. Many people use /AM for aeronautical mobile and /MM for maritime (or marine) mobile, but technically that's not legal for USA as AM is assigned to Spain and MM to Scotland.
3. The "traditional" approach is to use a numeral indicating the call district you are operating from. I call this traditional because it used to be in the rules but was dropped as a requirement in the late 1970s.
4. Any of these approaches work if you are only sending paper QSLs (or not QSLing at all). Since you know where you were, you send a QSL that shows the actual station location, not your home. It's generally allowed to hand-write your portable location, but that might make the QSL not valid for certain awards. The IOTA program, for example, does not accept QSLs where the island name is hand-written.
5. If you are sending electronic QSLs of one sort or another, it gets trickier because the systems use different methods to create accounts and identify locations.
a. If you are ONLY going to use LoTW, the easiest approach is to simply use your permanent callsign. Create a separate station location for each unique operating site, and associate each of those locations with your regular callsign certificate. The unique station locations will keep them separate. I know this will work if each location is in the same DXCC. I don't know think it works if you are operating from different DXCC entities, like operating from Hawaii for example. (FCC allows that, but I'm pretty sure ARRL assigns a DXCC entity to your callsign certificate, and you can't change it with a new location.)
b. If you are ONLY going to use eQSL, you have some options. eQSL accounts can only have a single location, so you have to have multiple accounts, (at least) one for each location. They segregate QSLs by callsign and date, so you have to have non-overlapping date ranges if you use the same callsign at multiple locations. Since you probably want to have only a single account for your home QTH, you are better off using your basic callsign at only one location, or you will have to create multiple accounts for the same call. In this case, you are probably better off using a portable identifier and leaving your primary callsign associated only with your home station location.
c. If you use both eQSL and LoTW, I've found it useful to obtain additional ARRL certificates for all the portable callsign variants, so I can keep the eQSL accounts separate. It's only a little more complex to manage multiple certificates. As a result, I have 16 eQSL accounts for 12 different callsigns. I only have 8 LoTW certificates as some of the operations were very minor.
d. I have no experience with HRD or QRZlog, so I can't offer any advice for those systems.
So there's a summary. Let me know if you have other questions.
W3HF (and W3HF/0, /1, /2, /3, /4, /6, /8, /KH2, /KH6 and VQ9HF)