Amateur Radio is alive and well! Growth in the US continued in 2015, with a record 735,405 licensees in the FCC’s Universal Licensing System (ULS) database by the end of the year. That’s up 9130 over December 2014, a 1.2 percent rise, continuing a steady increase in the Amateur Radio population in every year since 2007. In 2014, the Amateur Radio ranks grew by a net 8149 licensees. The figures, compiled by Joe Speroni, AH0A, on his FCC Amateur Radio Statistics web pages, exclude expired licenses that are within the 2-year grace period, and club station licenses. Compared with the same month 10 years ago, the Amateur Radio population in the US has expanded by 72,805 licensees — or nearly 11 percent.
Three more members of the US House of Representatives have stepped forward to cosponsor The Amateur Radio Parity Act, H.R. 1301. That brings the total to 123.
The latest to sign on are Reps Evan Jenkins (R-WV), Stephen Knight (R-CA), and Charles Boustany Jr (R-LA).
On a voice vote on February 11, the US House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, chaired by Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI, sentH.R. 1301 to the full House Energy and Commerce Committee with a favorable report for further consideration.
H.R. 1301 would direct the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land-use restrictions, such as deed covenants, conditions, and restrictions.
The FCC is seeking comments on a Petition for Rule Making (RM 11760) that asks the FCC to grant lifetime Amateur Radio licenses. Mark F. Krotz, N7MK, of Mesa, Arizona, filed his request with the FCC last November. He wants the FCC to revise § 97.25 of its rules to indicate that Amateur Radio licenses are granted for the holder’s lifetime, instead of for the current 10 year term. Krotz noted that the General Radiotelephone Operator License (GROL) already is issued on a lifetime basis, and he maintained that not having to renew licenses would lighten the FCC’s workload.
The new Amateur Extra class license examination question pool, effective from July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2020, now is available at the National Conference of Volunteer Coordinators (NCVEC) website. The latest revision contains a few minor corrections that had been released in a February 5 errata of the initial January 8 release. NCVEC Question Pool Committee Chair Rol Anders, K3RA, said the new pool represents a fairly significant change relative to the current question pool, which expires on June 30.