ARRL

ARRL General Bulletin ARLB087 (1998)

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ARLB087 FCC issues Universal Licensing System rules

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ARRL Bulletin 87  ARLB087
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  October 22, 1998
To all radio amateurs 

SB QST ARL ARLB087
ARLB087 FCC issues Universal Licensing System rules

The FCC has issued its long-awaited Report and Order on the
Universal Licensing System, which affects all Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau licensees.  Among other things, the ULS
will result in replacing Amateur Radio's familiar FCC Form 610
series with a new Form 605.  The new rules become official 60 days
after publication in The Federal Register-sometime around the end of
the year.  The FCC said it expects to have the ULS fully operational
by next April.  Using the ULS, applicants and licensees will be able
to file, modify, and renew electronically.  Access to the ULS is via
http://www.fcc.gov/wtb/uls/.

The FCC's action consolidates approximately 40 existing forms into
four ULS applications, including the new Form 605.  All WTB
application and filing procedures have been consolidated.
Electronic filing in the ULS will not yet be mandatory for
individual amateurs.  Hams will have the option of filing
electronically or on paper.  However, electronic filing via the ULS
will be required for Volunteer Examiner Coordinators in the Amateur
Service.

Under the ULS, amateurs will use Form 605, the Quick-Form
Application for Authorization in the Ship, Aircraft, Amateur,
Restricted and Commercial Operator, and General Mobile Radio
Services for all purposes.  Applicants may continue to use the old
forms for six months after the new rules go into effect, however.

Responding to comments from the ARRL and the W5YI Group, the FCC
said it would include the Physician's Certification of Disability
(Physician's Certification) on the new Form 605 in Part 2 of
Schedule D.

As part of its Report and Order on the ULS, the FCC also issued
amended rules (in WT Docket 96-188) to authorize visiting foreign
hams to operate in the US pursuant to recent international
reciprocal operating agreements.  ''We conclude that all alien
amateur radio reciprocal operation should be authorized by rule,''
the FCC said.  This means that foreign hams holding a CEPT
radio-amateur license from a CEPT country or an International
Amateur Radio Permit issued by a participating CITEL country may
operate while visiting the US without having to apply for
permission.  Additionally, it will be easier for US hams to operate
in participating countries in Europe and the Americas.  The
authority would not extend to US citizens claiming second
citizenship and an amateur license from another country, however.

Against ARRL objections, the FCC eliminated the one-year term for an
alien reciprocal permit and will not require an FCC license
document.  The FCC noted that the new system is similar to the one
already in place for US and Canadian hams to operate in each other's
countries.

The FCC said it will require the submission of a Taxpayer
Identification Number by applicants and licensees using ULS,
''consistent with the requirements of the Debt Collection Improvement
Act of 1996.''  Some commenters, particularly amateur operators,
argued against the requirement, saying that disclosure of a
TIN-typically a Social Security Number-raised privacy concerns and
was unnecessary to the Commission's regulatory goals.  But, the FCC
said its security measures will limit access to TIN data both online
and to FCC staff.  ''Once data has been entered into ULS, sensitive
data such as TINs will not be accessible to the public,'' the FCC
said.  The FCC has not addressed how it plans to handle applicants
who do not have a TIN, such as foreign nationals who hold FCC
licenses.

The FCC stood by its plan to use certain eligible private-sector
entities, on a strictly voluntary basis, to issue club and military
recreation station call signs.  The FCC said it plans to accept the
services of any qualified organizations to issue club and military
recreation call signs.

Both text and formatted versions of the complete Report and Order,
WT Dockets 98-20 and 96-188, are available on the FCC Web site,
http://www.fcc.gov.
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