ARRL

ARRL General Bulletin ARLB022 (2009)

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ARLB022 FCC Looks to Raise Vanity Call Sign Fees for Second
Consecutive Year

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ARRL Bulletin 22  ARLB022
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  May 19, 2009
To all radio amateurs 

SB QST ARL ARLB022
ARLB022 FCC Looks to Raise Vanity Call Sign Fees for Second
Consecutive Year

The FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order (NPRM) on
May 14 seeking to raise fees for Amateur Radio vanity call signs.
Currently, a vanity call sign costs $12.30 and is good for 10 years;
the new fee, if the FCC plan goes through, will go up to $13.40 for
10 years, an increase of $1.10.

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.

The vanity call sign fee has fluctuated over the 12 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 15,000 Amateur Radio vanity call sign "payment
units" or applications during the next fiscal year, collecting
$201,000 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 three 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.

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.

League members should visit the "ARRL Member Instructions for
License Renewals or Changes" page, while the "Instructions for
License Renewals or Changes" page covers general renewal procedures
for nonmembers. There is additional information on the ARRL VEC's
"FCC License Renewals and ARRL License Expiration Notices" page.

License application and renewal information and links to the
required forms are available on the ARRL Amateur Application Filing
FAQ Web page. The FCC's forms page also offers the required forms.

The links to the above-mentioned websites can be found at,
http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/05/18/10825/?nc=1.
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