Thursday, September 04, 2014

I'll admit, I fell for it!

Back in 2000, I applied for and received W2LJ as a vanity call.  I had upgraded to Amateur Extra back in 1994, and I had been wanting a shorter call sign. I picked W2LJ as L & J are my first two initials. The fee was all of $10 back then, if I remember correctly.  It seemed like a bargain - a buck a year.

This from the ARRL today:

ZCZC AG16
QST de W1AW
ARRL Bulletin 16  ARLB016
>From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  September 4, 2014
To all radio amateurs

SB QST ARL ARLB016
ARLB016 New Amateur Radio Vanity Call Sign Fee Set at $21.40

The FCC has adjusted very slightly downward - to $21.40 - its proposed Amateur Service vanity call sign regulatory fee for Fiscal Year 2014. In a June Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), the Commission said it was planning to hike the current $16.10 vanity fee to $21.60 for the 10-year license term. The FCC released a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (R&O) in the proceeding on August 29, in which it recalculated the fee to $21.40 for the 10-year license term. The $5.30 increase still represents the largest vanity fee hike in many years.

The new $21.40 fee does not go into effect until 30 days after the R&O is published in The Federal Register.

In the R&O, the FCC said it considered eliminating the regulatory fee for Amateur Radio vanity call sign applications but decided not to do so "at this time," because it lacks "adequate support to determine whether the cost of recovery and burden on small entities outweighs the collected revenue; or whether eliminating the fee would adversely affect the licensing process." The Commission said it would reevaluate this issue in the future to determine if it should eliminate other fee categories.

The FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau sets the vanity call sign regulatory fee using projections of new applications and renewals, taking into consideration existing Commission licensee databases, such as the Universal Licensing System (ULS) database.

The FCC reported there were 11,500 "payment units" in FY 2014. The Commission said the vanity program generated an estimated $230,230 in FY 2013 revenue, and it estimated that it would collect nearly $246,100 in FY 2014.

The vanity call sign regulatory fee is payable when applying for a new vanity call sign or when renewing a vanity call sign, although some older vanity call signs are not subject to the regulatory fee.
NNNN
/EX

I wonder what the fee will be in 2020 when it's time for me to renew again!  I think it was around $14 in 2010 when I last renewed.  Oh well, if you want to dance, you have to pay the piper, I guess.

I love this part, though. "In the R&O, the FCC said it considered eliminating the regulatory fee for Amateur Radio vanity call sign applications, but decided not to do so "at this time," because it lacks "adequate support to determine whether the cost of recovery and burden on small entities outweighs the collected revenue; or whether eliminating the fee would adversely affect the licensing process."  Translation - "Naaah!  We decided to raise it by $5.30 instead."

Ya just gotta love the Federal Government!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!


3 comments:

katie said...

I wonder how much money they spent in manhours/whatever in calling who knows how many meetings to discuss these things? :P

VE3WDM said...

The line about "we looked at shelfing the cost" was meant for the reader to have a warm fuzzy affect.
mike

K2DSL - David said...

My understanding of the fee is variable based on hitting a threshold needed to support the "program".

If the program has a fixed cost of $100,000 (made up easy number) they know about how many folks will need to renew their existing vanity calls during the coming year (as a % based on previous years) and about how many new vanity calls there are a year (again based on past history). If there are less renewals planned in a year or they forecast lower new vanity calls being issued based on trending, they adjust the price up or down.

It would be interesting, if the ability to submit postal applications was eliminated, if it couldn't be automated or the fixed cost of the program reduced further. In the corporate world, optimization is always considered and probably less so in government. There's still a need to deal with exceptions such as a relative taking over a SK call before it goes up for grabs, etc so I'm not sure it can be fully automated, but it might help.

I do find it silly that there are paid services by W5YI ($30 ?) and ARRL ($5 for members) to help acquire/renew a vanity call since it's probably the same effort to do through these services as it is to do it yourself.