First, you will need a call sign. You can visit the FCC's Call Sign Reservation System to review available call signs and reserve yours. Once your call sign request has been accepted by the FCC and unless you have special conditions on your construction permit (which is unlikely for most applicants), you will need to send a notification to the FCC upon commencing program test operations. You do not have to wait for approval first.
Under automatic program test authority, you can run regular programming from day one. Once your station is up and running, you will need to file FCC Form 319 within ten days to inform the FCC that your station is operational. Failure to file a 319 will cause your construction permit to lapse and you will lose your authority to operate the station.
If you are not ready to go on with program testing you may operate under the provisions of the equipment testing rules. Under equipment test, you can operate the transmitter without programming. You may run tones, dead carriers and voice IDs. You will need to identify the station upon commencing of testing, once per hour at the top of the hour (more frequent is better) and at the end of the test session. Like with program test authority, you should notify the FCC by postal mail that the station will be operating in this manner.
If your station is in a time share agreement, equipment and program testing is limited to the time slots that your station is authorized to operate in accordance with the time share agreement.
Postal mail to the FCC (including Express Mail) should be sent to: