FCC Seeks Small Vanity Call Sign Fee Increase
The FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on May 23, seeking to raise the fee for Amateur Radio vanity call signs by 20 cents. Currently, a vanity call sign costs $15 and is good for 10 years; the new fee, if approved, will go up to $15.20 for 10 years. The FCC is authorized by the Communications Act of 1934, as amended to collect vanity call sign fees to recover the costs associated with that program.
The vanity call sign fee has fluctuated over the 15 years of the current program -- from a low of $11.70 in 2007 to a high of $70 (as first proposed in the FCC’s 1994 Report and Order). The FCC said it anticipates some 14,300 Amateur Radio vanity call sign “payment units,” or applications, during the next fiscal year, collecting $217,360 in fees from the program.
Vanity Fee Due for New, Renewal Applications
The vanity call sign regulatory fee is payable not only when applying for a new vanity call sign, but also upon renewing a vanity call sign. Those holding vanity call signs issued prior to 1993 are exempt from having to pay the vanity call sign regulatory fee at renewal, as Congress did not authorize the FCC to collect regulatory fees until 1996. Such “heritage” vanity call sign holders do not appear as vanity licensees in the FCC Amateur Radio database.
Amateur Radio licensees may file for renewal only within 90 days of their license expiration date. All radio amateurs must have an FCC Registration Number (FRN) before filing any application with the Commission. Applicants can obtain an FRN by going to the Universal Licensing System (ULS) and clicking on the “New Users: Register” link. You must supply your Social Security Number to obtain an FRN.
ARRL Processes License Renewals, Including Vanities
The ARRL VEC will process license renewals for vanity call sign holders for a modest fee. The service is available to ARRL members and nonmembers, although League members pay less. Routine, non-vanity renewals continue to be free of charge for ARRL members. Trustees of club stations with vanity call signs may renew either via the ULS or through a Club Station Call Sign Administrator, such as the ARRL VEC.
Visit the Call Sign Renewals or Changes web page for complete instructions on how to have the ARRL renew your license for you or for how to do it yourself. License application and renewal information and links to the required forms are available on the FCC License Renewals web page. The FCC’s forms page also offers the required forms.