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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB021 (2016)

ARLB021 FCC Says "No" to Lifetime Amateur Radio Licenses

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 21  ARLB021
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  June 24, 2016
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB021 FCC Says "No" to Lifetime Amateur Radio Licenses

The FCC has denied the petition of an Arizona radio amateur, who had
petitioned for lifetime Amateur Radio licenses. Mark F. Krotz, N7MK,
of Mesa, had filed his Petition for Rule Making (RM 11760) with the
FCC last November, and the FCC invited public comments in February.
Krotz wanted the FCC to revise Part 97.25 of its rules to indicate
that Amateur Radio licenses are granted for the holder's lifetime,
instead of for the current 10-year term. Hundreds of radio amateurs
commented on the petition, but the FCC was not swayed by those
favoring the idea.

"Based on our review of the record, we are not persuaded that the
petition discloses sufficient grounds for the requested rule
change," the FCC said in a June 21 Order. "Krotz's primary argument
is that extending the term of amateur licenses to the lifetime of
the holder would reduce the Commission's administrative and
personnel costs, but it is not clear to us that the proposal
actually would enhance administrative efficiency." That's because
the vast majority of license renewals are submitted online and
processed automatically by the Universal Licensing System (ULS),
"with minimal staff involvement," the Order said.

The Order can be found on the web in PDF format at,

The FCC said it had further reduced its overhead by no longer
routinely mailing out paper licenses. "[I]f license terms were
extended to the holder's lifetime, we likely would receive more
cancellations on account of the licensee's death, which are
labor-intensive, because staff must carefully verify the deceased's
identity and licenses in order to guard against erroneous
cancellations," the FCC said in its Order, signed by Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau Deputy Mobility Division Chief Scot Stone.

Krotz argued that the General Radiotelephone Operator License (GROL)
already is issued on a lifetime basis, but the FCC said that's not a
comparable situation, because an Amateur Radio license is both an
operator's license and a station license, "and there is no
Commission precedent for issuing a lifetime station license."

In 2014 the FCC granted lifetime credit for examination elements 3
and 4, but applicants seeking relicensing under that provision still
must pass examination element 2. The FCC pointed out in its Order
that this was done to address the concerns of commenters that a
licensee who had not renewed also may not have maintained or
expanded his or her knowledge and skills.


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