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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB035 (2009)

ARLB035 FCC Looks to Revise, Clarify Vanity Call Sign Rules

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 35  ARLB035
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  November 30, 2009
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB035 FCC Looks to Revise, Clarify Vanity Call Sign Rules

On Wednesday, November 25, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rule
Making (NPRM) -- WT Docket No. 09-209 -- seeking to amend the
Commission's Amateur Radio Service rules to clarify certain rules
and codify existing procedures governing the vanity call sign
system, as well as revise certain rules applicable to club stations.

According to the FCC, almost 80,000 licensees have replaced their
sequentially issued Amateur Radio call signs with a vanity call sign
since the program began in 1996. When the program began, the
Commission established what they called "the broad outlines" of the
vanity call sign system, concluding that call signs generally should
not be available for reassignment for two years following the death
of a licensee, or expiration or termination of the license for that
call sign. In doing so, the Commission made exceptions for former
holders of the call sign, close relatives of a deceased former
holder and club stations of which a deceased former holder was a

The Commission did not, however, specify all of the procedures
governing the vanity call sign system, but indicated that the
procedures "would be set out in the Public Notices announcing
'starting gates' for the groups receiving initial priority and that
the procedures would be adjusted from gate to gate as experience
dictated." The procedures announced in the Public Notices announcing
the gates are still in effect, but they are not set forth in the
Commission's Rules.

The NPRM states that the FCC "now believe[s] that certain provisions
should be codified in our rules, and others added, so that the
vanity call sign system will be fair, equitable and transparent to
all amateur service licensees. The Commission also decided in the
Vanity Report and Order [issued in 1996] to resume issuing new club
station licenses. We believe that certain rule changes to the club
station licensing rules may be appropriate."

Further information can be found on the web at, .


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