Number of radio amateurs in France

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by G4TUT, May 29, 2019.

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  1. G4TUT

    G4TUT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Number of radio amateurs in France

    France's national amateur radio society REF say total of ham radio licenses increased more in first four months of 2019 than number of new licenses in the whole of 2018

    A Google translation of their post says:

    For the first time in several years the curve of the number of French radio amateurs registered with the administration is increasing!

    The number of assignments of individual codes (or reactivation) over the first four months of 2019 has already exceeded that of the whole of last year: 297 at the end of April against 263 for the whole year 2018.

    The reactivation of many individual codes is certainly related to the suppression of the amateur radio tax.

    The question of the tax was raised by the REF for the first time in April 2014 at a meeting at the DGE.

    Question formally and in writing in May 2018 during the public inquiry of the DGE.

    We bet that among these "reactivated", a certain number choose to be active .....

    Grand total of individual amateur licenses:
    2016 - 13482
    2017 - 13285
    2018 - 13126
    April 2019 - 13324

    Source REF, this page also has the figures for exam entries

    Up until January 2019 an annual tax had been imposed on radio amateurs (a license fee), see Amateur radio tax abolished in France

    N2EY and W4WTS like this.
  2. NG9F

    NG9F Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    How much was this tax?!?
  3. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    46 € or about $50.
    Cheap IMHO.

    Now French amateurs have lost any protection they had from interference or band intruders. You get what you pay for.

    N2EY and MM0SKJ like this.
  4. AC0GT

    AC0GT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is this per year? Sure, that's pretty cheap but consider that over 10 years that can mean enough money to buy a new laptop computer, a lightly used HF radio, or any of another things might want to enjoy their hobby. Someone can buy a lot of books, tools, gear, etc. over a lifetime of $50 per year. In the end they have some built up knowledge, experience, and useful items to enjoy and pass on to the next generation.

    How has this protection been lost? They still have to get a license, no? They just don't have to pay a fee/tax/whatever for this license.
  5. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    When spectrum policies become deregulated, which most often begin with abolishing the fees and making licences life-time, a result usually is that any interference protection or enforcement that were provided by the regulators in return for the fee vanish.

    Seen in perspective of the vast spectrum privileges that amateur radio enjoy, even €250/year would be worth the expense, as long as the regulators lived up to their part of the deal.

    Even when you have a "licence" in Europe, amateur radio has the lowest of priorities in the eyes of the regulators. "Paying guests" get preferential treatment.

    As long as licence fees were in existence, it was possible to claim a condition of contract between a radio amateur and the regulating body, at least in theory.

    When the only things you contribute to the regulators are aggravation and complaints, their level of ambition and will to assist decrease to the lowest level possible.

    To my knowledge, the only European Administration that make any moves to assist radio amateurs in interference and band intruder cases is the German, and their amateurs do pay an yearly fee.

    N2EY likes this.
  6. KM1H

    KM1H Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sort of strange as compared to the US where it is all free for the hams and the FCC still does a fairly reasonable job even with less people and facilities. A recent agreement with the ARRL will increase the monitoring and reporting to the FCC at no extra cost to them.
    Congress is up and down with the FCC budget but the broadcasters and other commercial entities do pay fees plus unused/underused parts of the spectrum are auctioned off for big money of which some likely dribbles back to the FCC. Fine paid do go to the FCC I believe but not 100% sure.

    Doesnt EU regulators sell off spectrum also?
    W1YW likes this.
  7. ZL4IV

    ZL4IV Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's always been strange to me that spectrum can be sold as it is not a tangible asset, sure the right to artificially generate a specific frequency could be regulated but a spectrum as a quantifiable unit is as bad as the stock market putting a value on an idea. Our star is the rightful owner of the spectrum, we can only put value on the artificial generation of what exists in nature. Our license only puts a value on the limits we can generate a frequency but not the ownership of the spectrum.
    I always have been amused at the creative tax gathering of those with little technical knowledge and those that nod in unison with them.
  8. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page


    In many (most) EU countries there are "Spectrum Policies" around that aim to put a market value on spectrum.

    Monetary incentives in varying forms are used to direct users to the most effective and profitable use of the radio spectrum.

    I have just finished the response to a public consultation by the Swedish Government about the future spectrum utilisation on the behalf of the Experimenting Swedish Radio-amateurs (ESR) which is an advocacy group for the general enhancement of quality in amateur radio.

    The Government wants opinions about the implementation of spectrum policies for the future, and it is evident that their intent is that non-paying users of spectrum should be relegated to bands and power levels that are licence-exempt and having no expectations for
    any interference mitigation or spectrum coordination.

    In the view of the Board of the ESR, this is a dangerous path for amateur and scientific users of spectrum (a view which, incidentally, is shared by the National Committee for Radio Science, of which I also am a member).

    If the current licence-exempt status for amateur radio is further weakened, all protections from band intruders or man-made interference will be lost, and amateur radio will get the status of an ISM spectrum user.

    This could in the extension result in severely reduced power limits, the abolishment of any exam requirements and the exemptions from type-acceptance for home-brew equipment currently in the EU Radio Equipment Directive.

    The ESR stance is that amateur radio should, in order to protect our unique privileges, once again be a paying user of spectrum, with an yearly fee set in proportion to the spectrum and power level privileges.

    Scientific and other non-commercial spectrum users would also be subject to fees in the new régime, that should be used for protecting their spectrum access, but be offset by corresponding increases in funding.

    Current events in the pricing of public safety and military spectrum are followed closely, as they may set a precedent.

    Setting the current amateur radio privileges and numbers of users in relation to what the military pays in yearly administration fees to the regulator, an yearly fee in the order of €150 - 250 would be seen as reasonable.

    This would also result in, from the regulator's point-of-view, a very welcome reduction in the number of radio amateurs, as amateurs in general are currently viewed as nuisances that create a lot of unnecessary work and contribute nothing.

  9. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Clearly the regulators world wide are charged with a public policy responsibility to enable the greatest communications abilities for the greatest public use. But could there be other factors at work in the “pay your own way” spectrum management, such as a brutal “free market” philosophy which is in now vogue, or simple bureaucratic self-interest to increase their revenue and influence over the industry and standing in the rest of the government, or “regulatory capture” whereby those with the most money “buy” the influence, policies and goods they want from the regulators (spectrum in this case), or a combination of these?
  10. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    It probably is a combination.

    High-performance mobile broadband and "Internet of Things" are deemed to be key factors for the long-term success of society, and spectrum policies are aligned to further these causes.

    "Big Business" certainly has a substantial political influence, but it is somewhat harder here to outright buy politicians and officials using such things as campaign donations.

    Especially in the Nordic countries, there is a long-standing tradition of comparably honest and transparent systems of public affairs.

    But there is a general view that only "paying customers" should enjoy benefits from national and regional spectrum management.

    The major problem for amateur radio is our continued drift into irrelevance. When the support from the conscript use of radio operators ended and spectrum policies were deregulated, amateur radio was marketed as "social media" instead as an elite corps of technically and operationally proficient people it is intended to be.

    We also have the problem of radio amateurs in their 70s frequently approaching the Authorities trying to "sell" insanely complex schemes having dubious performance for emergency communications, at times when both local and national Government make well-funded and coordinated efforts for expanding their high-capacity and hardened networks.

    This, and a general lack of youth interest, have made the regulators lose faith in amateur radio and just hoping for us to vanish quietly and ASAP.


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