Upon earning my Technician Class Amateur Radio License, I was over the moon! I had secretly studied for weeks. Then, I surprised my Dad (who has been a ham for over 40 years) with the great news.
He was so excited! And I am super proud to be a part of this special group of communicators. So proud, in fact, that I wanted to purchase vanity license plates with my call sign, KC9VZR.
My Dad has had his ham plates for years. I always loved spotting other fellow “hammers” by way of their license plates. One time, my Dad even called one of the hams on the air because we were right behind him on the highway! I thought that was the neatest thing (even with the invention of the cell phone).
That is when the trouble began. I went to the State of Illinois website to see what I needed to do to procure my plates. There was a form that I had to fill out along with a check for a nominal fee. I happily completed the form and wrote the check. My ham plates would be arriving soon!
In two weeks, I received a rather full envelope from the state informing me that I neglected to fill out a box on the form. So, I filled out the box and sent everything back. Then, I waited.
Two weeks later, I received the envelope yet again stating that the address that I provided does not match what “they” have in their system. Begrudgingly, I took the entire packet to the credit union that was handling my car loan. An associate informed me that since I got married, I needed to change my name and address on the car title…to the tune of $113!
What?! I decided that I would need to change the information eventually, so, I changed it. I then sent the information off again.
Sure enough, two weeks later, I received the envelope AGAIN. Now, the state wanted a copy of my marriage license to prove that I was actually married. To me, this took the cake. I was tired of having to prove that I am who I say I am.
Let’s face it: why in the world would a criminal try to purchase ham license plates? And with my specific call sign? What does KC9VZR mean to a non-ham? Absolutely nothing.
What really rankles me is the fact that my fellow male hams do not have to go through such trials and tribulations to procure their license plates. Why is the state making it so difficult for female hams? We deserve the right to proudly display our call signs on our vehicles.
I have not yet sent the packet back again (for the fourth time). Don’t get me wrong, I most definitely want my ham plates. However, I am very frustrated that this entire process has been so difficult (and costly).
On the bright side, I just made my final car loan payment today. In three weeks, I should have the official title. Perhaps then, I will be able to secure my coveted plates.