ARRL

ARRL General Bulletin ARLB013 (2010)

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ARLB013 FCC Looks to Lower Fees for Vanity Call Signs

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ARRL Bulletin 13  ARLB013
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  April 14, 2010
To all radio amateurs 

SB QST ARL ARLB013
ARLB013 FCC Looks to Lower Fees for Vanity Call Signs

The FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order (NPRM) on
April 13 seeking to lower the fee for Amateur Radio vanity call
signs. Currently, a vanity call sign costs $13.40 and is good for 10
years; the new fee, if the FCC plan goes through, will go down to
$13.30 for 10 years, an decrease of 10 cents.

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 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. Instructions on how to
comment on this NPRM are available on the FCC Web site at,
http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/howtocomment.html .

The vanity call sign fee has fluctuated over the 13 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 2007, the
Commission lowered the fee from $20.80 to $11.70. The FCC said it
anticipates some 14,800 Amateur Radio vanity call sign "payment
units" or applications during the next fiscal year, collecting
$196,840 in fees from the program.

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 four years ago.

Those holding vanity call signs issued prior to 1996 are exempt from
having to pay the vanity call sign regulatory fee at renewal,
however. That's because Congress did not authorize the FCC to
collect regulatory fees until 1993. 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.
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