New, Higher FCC Vanity Call Sign Fee Pending for Mid-September
A new FCC regulatory fee of $16.10 to apply for an Amateur Radio vanity call sign will become effective sometime in mid-September, when the new fee schedule appears in the Federal Register. (ARRL will report the exact date as soon as it becomes available.) The FCC earlier this year had proposed upping the vanity call sign fee from its current $15 to $15.20. The vanity call sign fee has fluctuated over the 17 years of the current program — from high of $50 when the program debuted in 1996 to a low of $11.70 in 2007.
In a Report and Order in MD Docket 13-140, released August 12, the FCC ordered a broad schedule of new fees for all services and waived the usual 30-day waiting period following Federal Register publication, because there would not be time for new fees to become effective before the start of the new federal fiscal year on October 1, 2013. The FCC says it expects $230,230 in revenue to cover the costs of administering the vanity call sign program. It anticipates 14,300 vanity call sign applications.
Applicants must pay the regulatory fee not only when applying for a new vanity call sign, but also when renewing a vanity call sign (those holding “heritage” vanity call signs issued prior to 1993 are exempt).
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 FCC Universal Licensing System (ULS) or through a Club Station Call Sign Administrator, such as the ARRL VEC. Instructions are on the Call Sign Renewals or Changes web page.