FCC to Lower Vanity Call Sign Fees September 17

ARRL.org

The FCC will reduce the regulatory fee to obtain or renew an Amateur Radio vanity call sign by more than 40 percent starting September 17. In a Report & Order (R&O) released August 6, “Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2007,” in MD Docket 07-81, the Commission will cut the fee from its current $20.80 to $11.70. This marks the lowest fee in the history of the current vanity call sign program. 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. The vanity call sign fee has fluctuated over the 11 years of the current program — from a low of $12 to a high of $50. The FCC says it anticipates some 14,700 Amateur Radio vanity call sign “payment units” or applications during the next fiscal year, collecting $171,990 in fees from the program.

Vanity Fee Due for New, Renewal Applications

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 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 last year.

Those holding vanity call signs issued prior to 1996 are exempt from having to pay the vanity call sign regulatory fee at renewal, however. That’s because Congress did not authorize the FCC to collect regulatory fees until 1993. Such “heritage” vanity call sign holders do not appear as vanity licensees in the FCC Amateur Radio database.

Amateur Radio licensees may file for renewal only within 90 days of their license expiration date. All radio amateurs must have an FCC Registration Number (FRN) before filing any application with the Commission. Applicants can obtain an FRN by going to the ULS and clicking on the “New Users Register” link. You must supply your Social Security Number to obtain an FRN.

ARRL Processes License Renewals, Including Vanities

The ARRL VEC will process license renewals for vanity call sign holders for a modest fee. The service is available to ARRL members and nonmembers, although League members pay less. Routine, non-vanity renewals continue to be free for ARRL members. Trustees of club stations with vanity call signs may renew either via the ULS or through a Club Station Call Sign Administrator, such as ARRL VEC.

League members should visit the “ARRL Member Instructions for License Renewals or Changes” page, while the “Instructions for License Renewals or Changes” page covers general renewal procedures for nonmembers. There’s additional information on the ARRL VEC’s “FCC License Renewals and ARRL License Expiration Notices” page.

License application and renewal information and links to the required forms are available on the ARRL Amateur Application Filing FAQ Web page. The FCC’s forms page also offers the required forms.