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WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a bold move to attract youth to the aging ham radio hobby, the FCC has announced a new license class tailored specifically to young people. Unfortunately, it means some old-timers must turn in their current callsign.
By the end of 2015, callsigns with suffixes that match any of the most popular internet slang and texting acronyms will be reallocated to new licenses obtained by people younger than 18 years of age. These will be categorized into a new class of license called “Textnician.” (Not to be confused with the already existing “Technician” license class.)
A statement from the FCC indicates the effort will attract more young people to the often antiquated hobby. “The Textnician class is simply a way for the amateur radio service to remain relevant in the age of texting and instant messaging,” the agency said.
Nathaniel Beakerman, a boy scout who recently attended a radio merit badge class responded to questions via text, typing “LOL, I think it’s GR8!”
The National Radio Retransmission Legion (NRRL), an association of ham radio operators, voiced support for the new initiative. “There is no reason that a man over 60 years of age should have a callsign that ends in OMG,” said NRRL spokesperson Johnson Longfellow.
Examples of prefixes to be reassigned include:
Officials say that current license holders with the affected suffixes will be issued a new callsign ASAP.