When Matt Makaveli started working on his Kentucky ham radio license plate redesign, he never imagined it would soon appear on the cars of ham radio operators across the state.
Makaveli, a Georgetown resident, had his plate approved by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) late last week. This was one of four options, one of which was to keep the original plate design, which was available for voting on KYHam.net by the amateur radio community. Makaveli’s design received 41% of the vote.
“It just didn’t sink,” Makaveli said. “I’m just amazed that this actually happened. Someone in state government must have liked the idea. Otherwise it would not have happened. I can’t believe this is actually the case. At the moment, it just hasn’t touched me.
The new license plate will not be available until the current stock of plates is exhausted, which should be in the summer of 2021.
Steve Morgan, head of the Kentucky section of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), said the license plate is important in educating amateur radio users.
“The amateur radio license plate is kind of like a billboard stating that you are from Kentucky and that you are an amateur radio operator,” Morgan said. “When you’re driving on the freeway, there are times when a simple generic nameplate doesn’t grab your attention, but that new multi-colored plaque has the ability to grab someone’s attention. “
Makaveli agreed and said the design of the old one looked too dated and wasn’t noticeable enough.
“I just wanted something that said Amateur Radio Operator in addition to a bland white plaque with blue letters,” he said. “I got an idea for this and just sat down and put together the plan and design which I thought could be pretty.”
In addition to a few more colors, the newly designed plate also includes a radio antenna, which Makaveli said only became part of the design later, but felt it was important to include.
“I thought something else was needed,” he said. “I started looking at royalty free art, found an antenna and thought it looked pretty good. It needed some sort of amateur radio something. The next day, I came to pack my bags and put an antenna on it.
Makaveli said the process from initial design to implementation is long.
“Getting the comments, the vote and everything related to it didn’t happen overnight,” he said. “It wasn’t like we sat down last night and said that was what we were going to do.”
After the design and vote were closed, ARRL Kentucky government liaison Jack Hedges still had to meet with KYTC for final approval of Makaveli’s design.
“If there is one example of what the ARRL organization can do for the amateur radio community, it would be this,” Hedges said.
Despite the development of a new plate, those who wish can keep their current plates.
“That option still exists,” Morgan said. “If people want to stay with their generic plate that we have now, they have this privilege, and if people want a multicolored plate, they have this privilege.”
Morgan added that the ARRL has the option to submit a new design every two years to KYTC.
“It’s a good change,” Morgan said. “I think he will have favorable odds in the future. In two years, we can come up with another suggestion and maybe make a change at that time. “
After his six years of involvement in amateur radio, Makaveli said he was happy to have contributed something meaningful.
“I heard that some people have already said that they like the new design and that they are going to change when it comes out,” he said. “I’m just glad that something came out that at least benefits the hams.”
Once available, Makaveli said he would be proud to show the new plate on his vehicle.
“I wanted to buy a new one anyway,” he said. “By the time I start over, it should be out and I’ll have my plate.”
The initial cost of the license plate will be $ 46, with a customization cost of $ 25. The renewal of the plate will cost $ 21. To obtain the plate, you must drive a non-commercial vehicle registered in Kentucky with an amateur radio license issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).