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FCC fees for amateur radio - updates on implementation

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by N2RJ, Jul 9, 2021.

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  1. WA6III

    WA6III Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    IIRC, I paid $9 in 1971 to take the 13wpm, General and advanced tests (together) . That was the last time I paid for a ham radio test (I think) Can't remember when the fees were eliminated.

    $9 in 1971 is $58.93 today. [ https://www.inflationtool.com/us-dollar/1971-to-present-value?amount=9 ]
    I take this hobby seriously enough to pay $58.93 (or even it's equiv) every 10 years to renew

    I am not following how $35 is excessive.
     
    K8PG, N8WCR, K7LZR and 3 others like this.
  2. WN1MB

    WN1MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    If Aretha Franklin were still alive and a ham, in response to this thread she'd probably start singing:

    ♫♪♪ Re, re, re, re, re, re, re, rehash ♫♪♪
     
    AJ6KZ, KO4ESA, K6VOX and 5 others like this.
  3. AD7SK

    AD7SK Ham Member QRZ Page

    The proposed license fee and the electricity bill are the cheapest parts of this hobby.
     
    W0FS, N0CEL, AJ6KZ and 10 others like this.
  4. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    January 1, 1977.

    Here's a short history of US Amateur Radio License fees (not VE test fees). The following is based on QST articles from the time periods listed. In all cases, the ARRL strongly opposed the fees. Sometimes the opposition was effective, sometimes it wasn't.

    In 1933, the FRC (predecessor of the FCC) proposed a fee of $5 ($101.57 in 2020 dollars) for amateur operator licenses. In 1933 operator license terms were 3 years. This proposal was strongly opposed and was not enacted.

    In 1954, the FCC proposed a fee of $3 ($29.33 in 2020 dollars) for amateur licenses. From 1945 until the early 1980s, license terms were 5 years. This proposal was strongly opposed and was not enacted.

    In the early 1960s the FCC again proposed fees for amateur licenses, and this time the proposal was enacted despite the opposition. The original effective date of January 1, 1964 was delayed a few months by a legal challenge, but by mid-March, 1964 the following fees were enacted:

    New or renewed license: $4 ($33.92 in 2020 dollars)
    Modified license: $2 ($16.96)
    Special callsign: $20 ($169.60)

    Novice and RACES licenses remained free.

    Effective August 1, 1970, the FCC raised the above fees for amateur licenses to the following:

    New or renewed license: $9 ($60.93 in 2020 dollars)
    Modified license: $4 ($27.08)
    Special callsign: $25 ($169.26)

    Novice and RACES licenses remained free.

    Effective March 1, 1975, the FCC lowered the above fees for amateur licenses to the following:

    New or renewed license: $4 ($19.54 in 2020 dollars)
    Modified license: $3 ($14.66)
    Duplicate license: $2 ($9.77)
    Special callsign: $25 ($122.15)

    Novice and RACES licenses remained free.

    Finally, effective January 1, 1977, FCC dropped all fees for amateur licenses. From then until now, all US amateur licenses have been free.

    VE testing fees are set by the VECs, and go to pay the costs of conducting the test sessions - space rental, duplication, postage, etc. The FCC sets a maximum fee, but VECs can set the fees lower, or waive them entirely.

    Modern vanity-call fees have varied over time - someone else can write their history.

    In the above schedule of fees, a "new or renewed license" included the fee for taking the tests, pass or fail, for a new license or a license upgrade. A "modified" license meant a change of address or name, but not a license upgrade.

    Special callsigns in those days followed different rules than today, but there were specific cases where an amateur could get a callsign that wasn't sequentially issued. The special-callsign fee was a one-time charge.

    All 2020-equivalent prices are from the Westegg Inflation Calculator:

    https://westegg.com/inflation/

    It is left to the reader to figure the per-year cost of the above fees.

    I think there are four issues:

    1) Most US hams today were licensed after January 1, 1977. To many of them, US amateur licenses have "always" been free, and they don't see why they shouldn't be free forever.

    2) The $35 fee is "up front". It's actually less than a penny a day, but a lot of folks don't think that way.

    3) Many don't see what they're getting from FCC for the money. Enforcement only happens in extreme cases and often takes forever. The VECs and QPC are the work of unpaid volunteers. FCC doesn't even send you a paper license unless you specifically request it. Will any of that change after the fees are imposed?

    4) There's fear that $35 is just the beginning.
     
    WA7AXT, WA8MEA, W4DAX and 7 others like this.
  5. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    If FCC hasn't yet begun collecting the fees, there's still time to get a 10 year license term renewal for free, even if you're not in the 90 day window.

    I wonder if anyone has actually done it.
     
    KO4ESA and M1WML like this.
  6. KU4X

    KU4X Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Jim,

    The only way I can think of to do that would be to get a vanity call, resulting in a new, 10-year term, then reapplying for the old call using the previous holder rule.
    (Just another version of the Vanity Call Two-Step.)

    Do you know of another way to go about it while outside the 90-day window?


    Regards,
    -Bruce
     
    KO4ESA and M1WML like this.
  7. W4CDO

    W4CDO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    My license expired on September 20, 2021. I renewed it on June 21, just missed the fee. I used the FCC online site and my license was renewed within 24 hours. Read the online form very carefully, it was very legalese.

    Jerry W4CDO
     
    K8PG, KO4ESA, N2EY and 1 other person like this.
  8. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ding ding!!

    That's exactly the method!

    I wonder if anyone has done it....

    73 de Jim, N2EY
     
    KO4ESA and M1WML like this.
  9. KL2WX

    KL2WX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Men with $3,000 radios don't want to pay the government $3.50/year for a license. Don't ask what I pay in licenses every year just to shoot animals...
     
    K7LZR, KK3Q, KO4ESA and 3 others like this.
  10. AD5NM

    AD5NM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I remember when license fee was $20 every 4 years and every upgrade and we had to test at a field office. I'm not going to complain about a $35 fee that would be over $100 with inflation. At least my GMRS fee was reduced to $35 from $75. A pretty fair trade-off in my personal opinion. Hopefully it will bring about some much needed enforcement.
     
    KO4ESA, KD5BVX and M1WML like this.
  11. N3IOE

    N3IOE XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    This is like a TV rerun. We seen the show. We know the ending. Do we really need the same people to rehash this subject over and over again?
     
    KO4ESA, M1WML and WN1MB like this.
  12. WN1MB

    WN1MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    So...you're a time traveler. Somebody call Art Bell. No, wait...never mind.
     
    AJ6KZ, KO4ESA, W4CDO and 1 other person like this.
  13. K5TUE

    K5TUE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I remember when even a CB license cost money. Quitcherbellyachin. If those who dont want to pay to play, then don't. Just let your license expire and you wont have to pay anything. Problem solved.
     
    K7LZR, W3FHT, N1DQQ and 4 others like this.
  14. DO1FER

    DO1FER Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here in Germany we have the fee for a long time ago and until now. It always changed the amount in cause of the budget which had to be used in the past. The service of the BNetzA (German FCC) isnt for less. So the BNetzA is always there, when there is a RF interference at the hamradio bands or maybe a standing intruder . So these equipment against the disturbances costs much money. At next the BNetzA got always a look on imported goods, which could cause any interference to stop them before its too late. At last they do a good job in the administration of the hamradio users or at next the announced antennas which are are above the PEP of 10W EIRP. Surely there are more important things they do, but all this isnt for less. So the fee should be ok in the US too, when the FCC do the same.
     
    KO4ESA, KK4NA and M1WML like this.
  15. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    The German regulator BNetzA is one of the last remaining to take amateur radio somewhat seriously.

    In contrast to other countries, a quite substantial yearly fee is charged, but in return there is some legal recognition, and active enforcement of interference cases.

    Further, the exams are hard, which weeds out the "dead-wood".

    When the amateur radio exam levels with respect to the HAREC syllabus were evaluated 10 years ago, the German exams came out on top.

    Myself, I would very much like to see the German approach used in more countries.

    73/
    Karl-Arne
    SM0AOM
     
    K8PG, W7ASA, KO4ESA and 4 others like this.

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