The Last Tech-Plus License to Expire in June
In February 1991, the FCC dropped the 5 WPM Morse code requirement for new Technician licensees, and in 1994, it created a new class of Amateur Radio license: the Technician-Plus, also called Tech-Plus. This new license differed from the Technician license in that Tech-Plus licensees had passed the code test and had more operating privileges on HF. Patricia Phillips, N3IGI, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, received her Technician licensee on June 12, 1990. On March 21, 2000, she upgraded her license to Tech-Plus, and, at the same time, renewed her license, now set to expire June 12, 2010. This makes Phillips the last Tech-Plus in the FCC database. If she renews her Amateur Radio license, she will be a Technician.
In 2000, the FCC restructured the license classes, and where there were six classes -- Novice, Technician, Tech-Plus, General, Advanced and Amateur Extra -- only the Technician, General and Amateur Extra survived. Novice and Advanced class licenses could still be renewed and modified, but Tech-Plus licensees would be classified as Technicians upon renewal, but still retain their code credit and HF operating privileges.
According to the FCC’s Bill Cross, W3TN, the Tech-Plus licenses came about when those who had earned their Technician licenses when the Morse code requirement was still in effect wanted a way to distinguish themselves from the new Technician licensees (who did not have a Morse code requirement). In 1994 -- and effective December 20, 1994 -- the FCC issued and Order called Amendment to Amateur Service Rules to Change Procedures for Filing an Amateur Service License Application and to Make Other Procedural Changes that instituted the Tech-Plus license class: “Technician Plus means that a Technician class licensee has also passed a telegraphy examination. We believe that showing this information in our licensee data base and license document as a separate class rather than continue to treat it as a category of the Technician class is consistent with current licensing procedures.”