Iowa Amateur Radio Callsigns Available on Blackout Plates

Feb 3rd, 2021 | By | Category: Alerts

Iowa amateur radio operators may now obtain Blackout plates with call letters correctly displayed.  The change was effective on February 3, 2021 and allows the zero to be shown as a zero with a diagonal line through it.  Finally, it is possible for a zero region call-sign to be properly displayed on a Blackout plate.


Iowa Blackout license plates were first introduced in July 2019 and immediately became popular for Iowa automobile owners.  By July, 2020, the State issued 162,984 Blackout plates, including 44,074 personalized plates.


Amateur radio operators who wish to obtain a Blackout plate should use the standard form and select the personalized Blackout option; not the Amateur Radio plate option.  Be sure to specify the character zero with a line through it. You may need to add a special note to the application to make sure your intention is clear.  Be sure to include payment of $60 for the plate.


The effort for a change that allows amateur radio call letters to be shown properly on Blackout plates, began in 2019.  In 2020, two Iowa legislators introduced a bill that would allow amateur radio plates to be in the Blackout design.  The bill failed to pass in the Spring, 2020 amid the rush to complete the legislative session in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.  In the Fall of 2020, Iowa Department of Transportation staff proposed an administrative rule change that allowed the zero character to be used on the Blackout design; making it possible to print a call-sign onto the Blackout design. The rule change became effective on February 3, 2021.


In December 2019, Iowa had 1,482 amateur radio plates on record, and in July, 2020, there were 1,394 of the plates.  In December 2019, Iowa had 6,468 amateur radio operators and in December, 2020, there were 6,561.  My page of U. S. Amateur radio data may be found at:


Keith Greiner, AKØQ