ARRL

ARRL General Bulletin ARLB013 (2001)

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ARLB013 FCC holds the line on license restructuring

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ARRL Bulletin 13  ARLB013
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  April 9, 2001
To all radio amateurs 

SB QST ARL ARLB013
ARLB013 FCC holds the line on license restructuring

The FCC has declined to make any significant changes to the way it
implemented Amateur Radio ''restructuring'' last April. The
Commission has turned down several requests for changes in the
Amateur Service rules contained in five petitions for partial
reconsideration of its Report and Order WT Docket 98-143, released
December 30, 1999. The ARRL was among the petitioners.

In a Memorandum Opinion and Order released April 6, the FCC by and
large denied all petitions for changes to its restructuring Order.
It took the opportunity to make some minor housekeeping changes to
the amateur rules.

Among the issues was a request from the ARRL and other petitioners
that the FCC continue to maintain records that indicate whether a
Technician licensee has Morse code element credit. The FCC noted
that its current Universal Licensing System software was modified to
display a ''P'' (for Plus) in the field that indicates former
license class when a Technician Plus class license is renewed.
''This capability results in the amateur service database being able
to provide a de facto Technician Plus licensee database,'' the FCC
asserted in its MO&O. The FCC did not address how its database would
distinguish current Technician licensees who subsequently earn Morse
code (Element 1) credit. Those licensees have only a Certificate of
Completion of Examination (CSCE), which will never be reflected in
the database, even upon license renewal.

The FCC also decided to not extend Element 1 credit to all past
licensees who had ever earned it--something else the ARRL had asked
for. Under current rules, the holder of an expired Novice or a
pre-February 14, 1991, Technician license can get Element 1 credit.
The FCC said the change was not needed and that ''most examinees''
who ever held a General, Advanced or Amateur Extra ticket also once
held a Novice or a pre-February 14, 1991, Technician ticket that
grants Element 1 credit.

The FCC also declined to extend permanent credit to Element 1 CSCEs
held by Technicians to obtain HF privileges. These CSCEs are good
for 365 days for upgrading purposes but confer only additional
operating privileges beyond that time.

The FCC refused to reinstate the 20 WPM Morse code exam for Extra.
The FCC that since restructuring went into effect nearly a year ago,
the FCC said, ''there does not appear to be any decline in the
proper operation of amateur stations.'' The FCC also declined to ban
the practice of allowing applicants to retake a failed examination
element at a single test session simply by paying a second fee. The
Commission also turned down a proposal to set the total number of
questions at 50 for the Technician and General class test and at 100
for the Amateur Extra test.

The FCC also declined to make any changes--at least for now--in the
arrangement of mode-related Amateur Radio subbands, as some
petitioners had requested.

Also denied were requests to: institute a new entry-level
Communicator license class in the Amateur Service; elevate former
''Class A'' operators licensed prior to 1951 to Amateur Extra; and
give Element 4 exam credit to examinees who had held a Conditional,
General or Advanced ticket before November 22, 1968--when
''incentive licensing'' became effective.

The FCC MO&O is available at
http://www.arrl.org/announce/regulatory/wt98-143-recon.pdf .
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