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How would you benefit from a $50 license fee?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KB7QPS, Sep 12, 2020.

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  1. K2WPM

    K2WPM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Can't sleep...

    In para 24, the FCC says they process 197,000 amateur radio license applications per year. At $50 each, that's about $10 million per year. That is solely to administer, not to regulate / enforce. A mid grade (GS-10) FCC employee makes $56,000 at Step 5 in D.C. They add 20% overhead (para. 11), so say $67,000 per employee to maintain the ULS for hams. One employee probably takes about 15 minutes to review and process an amateur radio license application (more for new ones, less for renewals). The employee works 2,087 hours per year (para. 11), thus one employee processes 8,400 applications a year. That means they need about 20 - 25 employees. The cost of 20 - 25 employees is a little over $1 million per year. But they are going to collect $10 million per year. I'll use a pocket calculator when I submit this. Please advise if I am missing something. Here's the link again.

    David, K2WPM
  2. N3FAA

    N3FAA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    You're missing something. For starts, you need to read the paragraph. The 197,000 covers Amateur Radio licenses, Ship licenses, Aircraft licenses, Commercial Radio Operator licenses, and GMRS licenses.

    On average, there are around 7,500 new amateur radio applications per year lately, plus you have upgrades, renewals, information changes, vanity callsigns, etc. No idea what that number actually is.
    N0TZU likes this.
  3. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm hardly an "emcomm whacko," but I believe it IS still a voluntary (NOT mandatory) role of amateur radio. When's the last time anyone saw a Ship licensee, aircraft licensee, commercial radio licensee, or GMRS licensee helping out at the local parade? the local marathon? helping the Salvation Army, etc.? (At least in the role as a licensee and not merely as "just another volunteer?")
    N6ATF likes this.
  4. KI4ZUQ

    KI4ZUQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Some of you remember Reagan cutting funding to FCC in the 80's. That was the end of amateur radio until the ARRL came up with VE's. Now they don't do much of anything about either rogue operators or foul mouths.
  5. K2WPM

    K2WPM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    It takes some digging, but it looks like we do account for at least 150,000 applications per year.
    So at $50 a pop, it amounts to $7.5 million per year revenue to FCC.
    Cost is also reduced to $1 million or less.
    The numbers will change slightly, but the concept - a gross disparity - will remain.
  6. NN3W

    NN3W Ham Member QRZ Page

    Finally, a solid number. I can't imagine that renewals can cost much - they literally are processed in a day unless you happen to be a problem child and your application gets "offlined". I know he doesn't post here, but K4ZDH might be able to provide a little insight as to what ACTUALLY happens in a license renewal or a new license application process. He probably has seen the sausage being made in the back room.
    N2EY likes this.
  7. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The FCC also said that it is accounting for “routine maintenance” of the ULS system. Which usually means adding up all the direct costs (incl labor) for a system and dividing by the number of transactions to find a per transaction cost. Probably not large, but another factor. If it includes depreciation for hardware, building space costs, etc then it could be higher.

    Let’s sanity check the number of AR transactions another way and excluding address changes which the FCC isn’t charging for. There are around 750k US hams. On average 1/10 should renew every year (10 year license) so that’s 75,000 renewal transactions. Hams that don’t renew eventually have a transaction entered for cancellation, so it’s numerically the same but with a delay. Add in new applications, 7500 per above, and vanity call issuances and perhaps it’s 85,000 per year.

    That’s roughly only half of the number being discussed above, so I think the actual AR ULS transaction numbers are much less.
    N2EY likes this.
  8. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Got timed out... I want to add that cancellations don’t get assessed a fee obviously so the “chargeable” transactions are less than the total estimate I made.
  9. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    ARRL didn't come up with VE's. That was the FCC's idea. In fact, FCC wanted ARRL to do it all, but ARRL said that a monopoly would be a bad thing, so FCC allowed multiple VECs.

    As for "rogue operators or foul mouths" - yes, it's not the way it was. Blame budget cuts.
    KU4X likes this.
  10. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    How would you benefit from a $50 license fee?

    It's common for monies collected by the government at any level to go into a general fund. There are instances where legislation designates where those funds are to be spent. An example of this would be charges on your phone bill that are earmarked for 911 emergency infrastructure.

    I don't recall reading such language in the current FCC proposal so it's difficult to answer the question lacking that knowledge.
    N2EY likes this.

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