Vanity Call Sign Fee to Go Up 80 Cents
On July 20, the FCC announced that the cost of an Amateur Radio vanity call sign will increase 80 cents, from $14.20 to $15. The fee will increase 30 days after notice of the increase is published in the Federal Register; no date has yet been set for publication. Earlier this year, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order (NPRM), seeking to raise the fee for Amateur Radio vanity call signs.
The vanity call sign fee has fluctuated over the 14 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). In FY 2012, the FCC expects to grant 14,300 vanity call signs, bringing in $214,500 from the vanity call sign program, and looks to recover a total of $339,844,000 in fees from all the Services that it regulates.
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 for a new term. The first vanity call sign licenses issued under the current Amateur Radio vanity call sign program that began in 1996 came up for renewal six years ago.
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 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 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 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 ARRL Amateur Radio License Renewal web page. The FCC’s forms page also offers the required forms.