About this List
a.k.a. "But I thought European broadcasters don't have call signs!"
| About this List:
list shows all last known and/or currently valid call signs issued to
the world's radio broadcast stations. The emphasis is on countries that
traditionally have not had their call signs published. It is not meant
to be a comprehensive list of all operating and defunct stations. For countries
whose call sign lists are ubiquitous, only a small sample of call signs
are included and users are directed to noted websites or publications
such as the World Radio TV Handbook, etc. for a more complete list.
Call signs that are confirmed are printed in BLACK. Call signs, or portions thereof, that are unconfirmed are printed within (brackets).
Some call signs are rationalized deriatives derived either by the substitution of a new ITU callsign prefix for old, an extension of a confirmed call sign series, or an association to a co-located fixed or other service station owned by the same owner (such as Cable+Wireless). In these cases, older confirmed call signs are listed in a following column, in ITALICS. Note that in some countries, call signs are issued to all government radio stations in a particular location (and even operating in different services) regardless of whether or not their transmitters are co-located.
Psuedo "call signs" that do not use the official ITU international prefixes and instead are network abbreviations, such as "KBC" Kenya, "BRT" Belgium, "RTM" Morocco, etc., are only included in the DX Info Centre call sign lists if they are officially registered with the ITU and then only in domestic bands (LW, AM, FM, TV). No call signs not adhering to the ITU prefixes are included in the international shortwave call sign list. Note also that some call signs may use prefixes from foreign countries if those stations are registered by the foreign entities (esp. military stations).
LW, MW, and FM frequencies and TV channels are noted for stations currently operating, or no longer operating but whose frequency allocation still exists. For stations no longer operating and whose frequency is no longer allocated, the frequency is marked by an " X ".
For active SW stations, all current frequencies are listed, as well as inactive frequencies for which a call sign is known. For inactive SW stations, only the last operating frequencies are shown per call sign. A wildcard " * " is used to represent 'all frequencies'. Only one inactive SW broadcaster is listed for each country (normally the government broadcaster).
Again note that this list is not intended to be used as a definitive indication of active or inactive stations or frequencies. The main purpose of this list is to publish call signs.
Station locations are those listed in the IFL.
| Why did I create it?
as a DXer, I like to log stations by their call signs! I have often
been told 'such & such a country has never issued call signs to
broadcast stations' or 'the ITU prefixes are only used by hams', only
to later find complete call sign lists for that country.
Using a call sign and having a call sign are two different things. Just because a station has a call sign does not mean they are going to use it (unless the law declares so, as in the USA). And just because a station does not use a call sign on the air does not mean that they do not have one.
Case in point, the recently defunct shortwave radio station in Sackville, Canada never announced call signs. Did it have one? Yes it certainly did.
Typing "CKCX" in the box at this site ... http://sd.ic.gc.ca/pls/engdoc_anon/web_search.call_sign_input ... gave this ...
What about Spain? 'The Spanish MW stations don't have call signs'. But then what are these in this official 1993 document?...
http://www.boe.es/boe/dias/1993/10/09/pdfs/A28701-28705.pdf (scroll down at least one page)...or even this one from 2002! http://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2002/12/20/pdfs/A44967-44969.pdf . So now we've established that using and having a call sign are two different things.
One must ask why practically all of the contemporary radio station lists published in 1993 and 2002 did not list the Spanish MW call signs that clearly existed and were official? I have often been puzzled by this. Could it be the 'out of sight out of mind' syndrome? Call signs aren't heard on the air (in Spain's example, since the 1970's), so they must no longer exist. Could it be that they are difficult to find? Could it be that a possible bias exists in European publications with call signs being seen as an antiquated 'North American thing'? The 1988 WRTH provides us with a strong clue. Under the entry for Spain, the following statement can be found : "Call signs are no longer to be heard on the air, and hardly ever seen in stn. logos, have been omitted from this edition". So this clearly shows that although the editors knew that officially valid call signs continued to exist, they purposely chose not to list them. Meanwhile the ITU's International Frequency List continues to list the call signs of numerous other countries for which I personally have never seen published elsewhere. Since they are still on the books, they must still be considered official.
The DX Info Centre lists attempt to publish current call signs, recently lost call signs (ex: New Zealand) and very old call signs (ex: UK) in one central location. These are the last known call signs for stations. DXers, such as myself, who like to log a call sign for a DX catch, can use these lists to fill in that missing piece of information.
In the 1920's, the majority of the world's MW broadcast stations were assigned call signs.
In the 1930's, MW 1176 kHz Copenhagen clearly identified as "OXQ". LW 208 Reykjavik as "TFU Utvarp Reykjavik". LW 271 Leningrad as "Vnimanie, Govorit Leningrad. Radio-stantsia RV-53 imeni Kirova". And so on. So not only were call signs assigned to those broadcast stations, but they were actually using them over the air.
As the 1930's progressed, fewer stations outside of North America were using call signs over the air. Some countries, such as the U.K., decided to no longer issue new call signs at all. The percentage of countries discontinuing the assignment of call signs continued to increase, although most kept active call signs for its shortwave broadcasts. In the 1960's, even shortwave call sign assignments began to wane. Now, even countries with a strong tradition of call sign use such as New Zealand, have discontinued the practice of maintaining call signs for its broadcast stations.
Here you will find the 'long lost' call signs listed. Maybe this is the first time you are seeing some of them. I hope you enjoy the lists and find them helpful. Some may consider some call signs listed to be controversial. I expect that, and would just like to remind you that this is simply my list and is not meant in any way to be a 'definitive' list.
*** If you have any additional call sign information, corrections, or suggestions, please pass them along to dxinfo at cogeco.ca, and I will consider including them in the list.
Please do not report 'this country no longer uses call signs', as this listing is intended to list the 'last known' call signs, even if they are no longer officially assigned. Besides, omissions of call signs in one official list (such as the ITU's IFL) does not mean that a country no longer maintains call signs, since they might show up in another official list, such as one issued by the individual country itself.
The WTFDA has recently undercovered scores of rarely published Caribbean and Central American FM call signs. I highly recommend their FM database at db.wtfda.org.
Please read further - Call Sign Formats - for more information on call signs.
William R. Hepburn, 2010 updated 2020.
Broadcasting Stations of the World - USA 1946, 1948, 1952-53, 1955, 1957, 1959-61, 1963, 1965-69, 1971-72, 1974
Broadcasting Year Book - 1935-40
Call Signs - ITU 1962
International Frequency List - ITU 1975, 2007-present
Radex - 1926-1940, 1942
Radio Service Bulletins - USA 1924-29
White's Radio Log - 1925-60, 1962-69
World Radio Handbook - 1947-1960
World Radio TV Handbook - 1961-1970, 1972, 1976, 1982
Guide to Broadcasting Stations - 1949, 1953, 1960, 1966
Manual of Short-Wave Technique and International Broadcast Reception - 1944
Official Radio Log - 1928-29
Official Short Wave Log and Call Magazine - 1933-34
Philco Radio Atlas of the World - 1935
Radio Annual 1933, 1938, 1941-44, 1946-48
Radio Annual Television Year Book 1949-63
Radio Call Book 1927-32
Radio Log & Lore 1931-32
Radio News - 1929
Short Wave Craft - 1936
Short Wave and Marine Band Guide - c. 1963
Stevenson's Bulletin - 1925-29, 1932-34, 1942, 1944-51
Times of India Directory - 1950
Turkey - 1975
World-Radio Station Identification Panels - BBC c.1935
World Radio Station List - 1949-51
as noted in the lists
plus some former national webpages no longer available