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2012 Continues to Show Growth in Amateur Radio Licensing


The first quarter of 2012 (January-March) saw a high level of Amateur Radio license exam sessions, producing an elevated influx of applications for new licensees. According to ARRL VEC Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM, these numbers outpaced the 2011 first quarter results by 30 percent. This uptick does not only apply to new applications; there was a 6 percent increase in the number of upgrades, too. “Statistics over the last 13 years reveal that these are the highest numbers that we’ve ever seen for the total number of US amateurs,” Somma said. “Now there are more than 704,000 radio amateurs in the US.”

Somma said that there are currently 704,236 licensed Amateur Radio operators in the US. “We broke the 700,000 barrier in October 2011,” she explained, “and the numbers continue to progress higher. Broken down by license class, at the end of March there were 14,352 Novices, 343,597 Technicians, 161,220 Generals, 57,393 Advanced and 127,674 Amateur Extra licensees. It’s an all-time high for Technician, General and Extra class licensees, as well. Additionally, our total number of licensees across all three classes has grown each year.”

For the first quarter of 2012, Somma said that the ARRL VEC test session statistics are the highest first quarter results since the FCC’s restructuring of the license requirements in 2007: “Our exam session activity and exam elements administered are elevated. As the total number of licensees across all three license classes continues to grow each year, the demand for Amateur Radio exam sessions also grows. In turn, the number of amateurs who want to be Volunteer Examiners and who want to teach Amateur Radio classes is also rising. The ARRL VEC has seen a spike in the number of applications from General and Extra class radio amateurs who want to give back to their community by serving as examiners and instructors. This is a positive trend that we expect will continue over the coming months.”



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