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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB020 (2012)

ARLB020 Vanity Call Sign Fee to Increase September 4

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 20  ARLB020
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  August 14, 2012
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB020 Vanity Call Sign Fee to Increase September 4

On August 3, the FCC announced via a Final Rule in the Federal
Register that the cost of an Amateur Radio vanity call sign will
increase 80 cents, from $14.20 to $15.  The new fees take effect 30
days after publication, making September 4, 2012, the first day the
new fee is in effect. Earlier this year, the FCC released a Notice
of Proposed Rulemaking and Order (NPRM), seeking to raise the fee
for Amateur Radio vanity call signs.

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 10 year 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 six years ago.

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. According to the FCC, the fees that are collected
from vanity call signs are used to offset the cost of monitoring and
researching new call sign requests to prevent the issuance of
duplicate call signs. When asked why the fee is payable upon
renewal, the FCC stated in 2011 that "[m]ore than likely, fees that
are collected only on new issues and at the time of changes in call
signs will not generate sufficient revenues to offset the cost of
managing and monitoring this work at the Commission, the FCC stated
in 2011. Therefore, we conclude that the basis upon which the
Commission collects fees on Amateur Radio Vanity call signs will not

The vanity call sign fee has fluctuated over the 16 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 Fiscal Year
2012, the FCC expects to grant 14,300 vanity call signs, bringing in
$214,500 from the vanity call sign program, and looks to recover a
total of $339,844,000 in fees from all the Services that it


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