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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB023 (2016)

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ARLB023 FCC Investigating Amateur Radio, Commercial Application
Processing Glitch

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ARRL Bulletin 23  ARLB023
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  July 7, 2016
To all radio amateurs 

SB QST ARL ARLB023
ARLB023 FCC Investigating Amateur Radio, Commercial Application
Processing Glitch

The FCC information technology staff is continuing to look into why
the Universal Licensing System (ULS) Electronic Batch Filing (EBF)
system has stopped processing at least some - and perhaps all -
Amateur Radio exam session files and applications. The stoppage,
which began on June 28, initially affected the handling of all
Amateur Radio Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) and commercial
license applications, said ARRL VEC Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM, who
alerted the FCC IT Department. Somma said that by June 30, it
appeared that the FCC had corrected the broader problem, and
processing of most Amateur Radio VEC and commercial applications and
exam session files had resumed.

"The fix for the ARRL VEC remains elusive, however," said Somma. "I
assumed the issue would be cleared up quickly as the FCC has done in
the past." She added, that the FCC has been unwilling to reveal the
extent of the problem, which she believes still could be affecting
applications from outside the ARRL VEC.

According to Somma, resolving the problem has been escalated to
Priority 1 at the FCC, and resources have been reprioritized to
address the issue.

"I have been in contact with the FCC every day inquiring about their
progress and will continue to do so until the problem is resolved,"
Somma said. "I have also asked them to provide us with an alternate
filing option as soon as possible."

Somma said that as of July 6, the ARRL VEC had more than 900
applications and nearly 275 exam sessions in the queue and awaiting
FCC processing.

"As soon as the FCC staff discovers and corrects the EBF system
problem, we will immediately file the backlog, which would take only
a day or so to release," Somma estimated.

She said a lot of candidates and volunteer examiners have begun
asking why new call signs or license upgrades have not yet been
issued, and she is sympathetic with their concerns. "We usually
transmit the exam sessions to FCC as soon as possible, which is 24
to 48 hours from the day they are received in our office," she said.
"Therefore, questions from the field about the delay are
understandable."
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