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FCC Eliminates Amateur Radio Vanity Call Sign Regulatory Fee

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The FCC has decided to drop all fees for issuing vanity call signs to hams. In a ruling issued on May 21, the Commission explained that the costs of processing the payments and issuing refunds to amateurs whose requests cannot be met exceed the revenue from vanity call fees, currently $21.40 for a 10-year license term.

According to the ARRL, the change will not take effect until after the FCC has formally notified Congress of the move, which in the halls of federal bureaucracy takes at least 90 days. So the earliest effective date would be late August to early September. If you’re planning to apply for or renew a vanity call in that timeframe, and won’t risk having your license expire in the interim, then it might be best to wait, since the FCC also says it will not refund fees paid prior to the formal elimination.

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