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FCC Amateur Radio Application Processing Problem Continues

07/12/2016

A computer programming problem affecting the FCC’s ability to accept and process automated, batch-filed Amateur Radio applications since late June still has not been fully resolved. The FCC information technology staff has been looking into the issue, which is affecting the Universal Licensing System (ULS) Electronic Batch Filing (EBF) system. When the issue first cropped up on June 28, it initially affected the processing of all Amateur Radio Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) and commercial license applications, ARRL VEC Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM, said. She alerted the FCC IT Department, and, by June 30, the FCC appeared to have corrected the broader problem and resumed processing of most Amateur Radio VEC and commercial applications and exam session files. But the EBF still has been unable to process ARRL VEC’s automated, batch-filed applications and exam sessions.

Somma said the problem apparently stems from the fact that the ARRL VEC the only VEC to use an automated file upload program; other VECs manually log in to the FCC website to upload their files. She puzzles as to why a program that has “worked for us for years” suddenly has gone awry, but said she’s encouraged that the FCC is actively investigating the issue with the assistance of ARRL staff.

The FCC worked with the ARRL IT staff on a temporary solution that would permit ARRL VEC to upload its exam session and application backlog manually. Somma said the ARRL VEC tried manually uploading 229 backlogged files to the FCC, but that proved unsuccessful. 

Somma said the FCC had made resolution of the problem a top priority and marshaled resources to address the issue. She said she has been in contact with the FCC daily to inquire about progress.

Somma said that as of July 12, the ARRL VEC had more than 1200 applications and nearly 300 exam sessions in the queue and awaiting FCC processing.

“As soon as the FCC staff discovers and corrects the EBF system problem, we will immediately file the backlog via the automated system, which would take only a day or so to release,” Somma estimated. 



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