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ARRL Proposes FCC Waive Amateur Radio Fees

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by K5XS, Nov 19, 2020.

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  1. NU4R

    NU4R Ham Member QRZ Page

    If the government considers us strictly hobbyists and sees LITTLE TO NO FURTHER WORTH of amateur radio operators requested for deployment in RED BALL be it!

    I've KEPT a complete record since 1985! I'd simply LOVE to NOW be able TO BILL the government for the days and nights I've spent on deployment HUNDREDS OF MILES FROM HOME...WHEN ASKED TO DO SO BY WHATEVER EMERGENCY AGENCY IS REQUESTING HAM RADIO!




    THAT and the fact that some entrenched entity believes that the modern communication systems are believed to have become infallible?

    K7GYB and M1WML like this.
  2. NU4R

    NU4R Ham Member QRZ Page

    M1WML likes this.
  3. KT6KT

    KT6KT Ham Member QRZ Page

    14 November 2020

    In Favor of Amateur Licensing Fee for Administrative Activities

    1. Most recently-licensed amateur radio operators have no interest in either radio or electronics. Being licensed is merely a way to save charges for cellphone use or a cheap way to talk to their friends. They have no means of providing assistance during a national emergency.

    2. License mills teach answers to tests and no understanding of the subject matter. (Cant spell radio Saturday morning and license in hand Sunday afternoon).

    3. There are individuals that continuously change their callsign to the most recently available “vanity” call so others may not have access to either the new call or, for a period of time, to the old call.

    4. Non-essential services should be on a “pay-as-you-go” basis.

    5. A fee for Amateur Radio License administrating activities will discourage the flagrant abuse of the privilege of obtaining or modifying a license.
    Serge Miller
    Amateur Radio Callsign KT6KT
    K7GYB, M1WML and N3FAA like this.
  4. KA2PBO

    KA2PBO Ham Member QRZ Page

    So $50 for a 10 year license= $5 a year. Just a few comparisons to a few other hobbies: PA hunting license...$20.90 a year, PA fishing license...$22.90 a year , bowling league...$15 to $20 a week ,model train club annual dues...$60 , golf.....$36 to $40 a weekend etc. Anyone else see the whining here? Look at it this way: if we are now " paying" for a licensing service , we can actually demand something for our fee. Up till now; we relied on the FCC to help us with all our RFI, jamming, lid ops , license privileges, more spectrum... ; etc... for FREE! Just sayin
    PA0MHS, M1WML, N3FAA and 2 others like this.
  5. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    There seems to be a lot of misinformation about what the fee is about. It is NOT about paying for our "service" or "frequencies", which we could never do, at least based on what the bands we have allocated are worth.

    The fee is only being proposed because it is mandated by a relatively new law. And it is supposed to cover the cost of processing our applications, nothing more.

    If you believe that it costs the FCC $50 to enter your name in a computer data base, then you are truly gullible.

    The true cost is much closer to $5 than it is to $50, but the FCC is jacking it up and calling it a "nominal fee", since it really would not be worth collecting at $5.

    The FCC is not retaining the money, so don't expect any added benefits from them due to your payment. The money goes directly to the federal coffers, to be used in whatever way the federal government chooses to spend that money.

    To those of you that are not bothered by $50: What would be your reaction if they had wanted $500 or $5000 for that application fee? Would that still be OK, or is there some point where the fee gets ridiculous?
    KE4ITL, M1WML, WJ4U and 2 others like this.
  6. NF6E

    NF6E Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm not sure how many people really believe $50 over 10-years is Amateur Radio's actual cost burden on the FCC ULS, but I do believe ULS maintenance should be considered a factor. Just because people were removed from the direct processing of licenses doesn't mean people are not needed to maintain the ULS. We do use it, and it costs something to maintain the infrastructure and the people who support it. Does this justify a fee? Eh...maybe. Maybe not.

    Or how about $50,000 or $500,000? Of course there is a point where any fee gets ridiculous. But if we go to one extreme, let's go to another. Take that $50 over 10-years and break it out like this:
    • $5/year
    • .42/month
    • .09/week
    Is .09/week too much to ask? I don't know. Maybe it is. Maybe it's not.

    Now take the average Ham who might buy a new HF rig for $2,000 on a credit card at 14% interest. And let's say that same Ham takes 10-years to pay it off (same lifespan as a Ham license for comparison). Using this handy calculator (because I suck at math) I get this:
    • $31/month over 120 months
    • of which 54% would go to principle
    • and 46% (or $1,726) would go to interest
    So this average Ham would end up paying $3,176 over 10-years for a $2,000 radio. Set aside the depreciation of the rig and whatever inflation factor would apply over time. The proposed .42/month FCC license fee is about 1% of this dude's minimum credit card payment. And without his license he wouldn't be able to enjoy that rig. Is 1% in this scenario too much to ask? I don't know. Maybe it is. Maybe it's not.

    The thing for me is that fees like this, once they get started, tend to increase over time. It's like eating potato chips. You can't stop and just one.

    Bottom Line: Am I opposed to a Ham license administrative fee? Honest answer What should that fee be? How about a reasonable fee based upon an actual assessment of the cost burden Hams place on the FCC ULS. Does this mean I want to pay a fee? Of course not. Who WANTS to pay a fee? C'mon man! But I tell ya what - I'd pay a one time fee to the FCC of $100 right now if that would help fund FIRST CLASS postage for a letter to be sent to every Ham in the ULS to verify their mailing address. Any letter that cannot be delivered should then trigger a flag on that record in the ULS. In other words, use the fee to clean up the database. THAT would be value add for me.

    Anyway - to K7JEM - I hope you don't mind me quoting you to support my ramblings. Your post just got me thinking. And this was fun to write. And isn't having fun one of the main reasons why we're all here? I sure hope so. But I guess I'll find out after I post this.
    PA0MHS, M1WML and N3FAA like this.
  7. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't get the 'age 26' exemption. This is not health insurance...why did the ARRL say that??

    Where did the ARRL get that number?? Why does it make sense??
    M1WML, WE4B, KC1DR and 3 others like this.
  8. WA2LXB

    WA2LXB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Great might as well be screaming down a well casing if you expect logical answers from the ARRL. My guess is that there are all kinds of pecuniary interests of both the ARRL as an organization and of individual officers that influence many of their filings in ways that make no sense to Joe Ham.
    M1WML likes this.
  9. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    The problem with this is that hams are exempt from "regulatory fees" of which your example above would be. Hams are not exempt from "application fees", which are fees collected to cover the cost of processing said application. In the past few decades, the FCC has not collected any fees from hams, except the fees that were in place for vanity callsigns for a few years.

    This is from the FCC website:

    Your example of sending a letter to each licensee, with the intent of some sort of enforcement action, would be a "regulatory" matter, as shown above. While the FCC could do this if they wanted to, they can't collect a fee from hams to make this possible. They could create a NAL and make those who are not following the rules pay for it, but for the most part, that would be a futile attempt. So it won't be done.

    Since "user information services" are part of regulatory fees, the FCC cannot (legally, IMO) assess part of the "application fee" to cover those costs. Costs such as maintaining the ULS, for example. That would be imposing a "regulatory fee" that is hidden inside the "application fee". The things that can be included in an application fee are "activities such as issuing permits, testing applicants, certifying licenses, authorizing transfers, assigning or transferring call signs, and adjudicating disagreements". But the FCC doesn't test ham applicants or adjudicate disagreements in the ham community (related to license applications). All they really do is issue and certify licenses. They don't really transfer or assign call signs either, since a call sign has to be cancelled, then re-issued to a new party. In any case, even if the vanity callsign program were to fall into this category, then the application fees should be collected only for that service, which would be higher than a regular initial issue or renewal.

    The bottom line is that even if you are not opposed to application fees, the fees have to further the causes listed above. If the true cost to process an application is $5, then the FCC needs to charge $5 (or whatever). But when they say that $50 is a "nominal fee" they have gone into arbitrarily determining the fee, which is beyond the scope of the FCC mandate.
    M1WML, W1YW and NF6E like this.
  10. N1FM

    N1FM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I do too.

    I've factored that cost into the federal taxes I already pay, and I've determined I already pay too much for the crap service, waste, fraud, abuse, and spending on various BS 'services' the government 'provides' here and abroad.
    KE4ITL, M1WML and NF6E like this.

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