Courtesy of the ARRL:
The FCC is eliminating the regulatory fee to apply for an Amateur Radio
vanity call sign. The change will not go into effect, however, until required
congressional notice has been given. This will take at least 90 days. As the
Commission explained in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,
Report and Order, and Order
Docket 14-92 and others), released May 21, it’s a matter of simple
“The Commission spends more resources on processing the regulatory fees and
issuing refunds than the amount of the regulatory fee payment,” the FCC
said. “As our costs now exceed the regulatory fee, we are
eliminating this regulatory fee category.” The current vanity call sign
regulatory fee is $21.40, the highest in several years. The FCC reported there
were 11,500 “payment units” in FY 2014 and estimated that it would collect
In its 2014 Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) regarding the
assessment and collection of regulatory fees for FY 2014, the FCC
had sought comment on eliminating several smaller regulatory fee categories,
such as those for vanity call signs and GMRS. It concluded in the subsequent
Report and Order (R&O)
last summer, however, that it did not have “adequate support to determine
whether the cost of recovery and burden on small entities outweighed the
collected revenue or whether eliminating the fee would adversely affect the
The FCC said it has since had an opportunity to obtain and analyze support
concerning the collection of the regulatory fees for Amateur Vanity and GMRS,
which the FCC said comprise, on average, more than 20,000 licenses that are
newly obtained or renewed, every 10 and 5 years, respectively.
“The Commission often receives multiple applications for the same vanity call
sign, but only one applicant can be issued that call sign,” the FCC explained.
“In such cases, the Commission issues refunds for all the remaining applicants.
In addition to staff and computer time to process payments and issue refunds,
there is an additional expense to issue checks for the applicants who cannot be
The Commission said that after it provides the required congressional
notification, Amateur Radio vanity program applicants “will no longer be
financially burdened with such payments, and the Commission will no longer incur
these administrative costs that exceed the fee payments. The revenue that the
Commission would otherwise collect from these regulatory fee categories will be
proportionally assessed on other wireless fee categories.”
The FCC said it would not issue refunds to licensees who paid the regulatory
fee prior to its official elimination.
So basically the FCC is saying, it costs more to process the fees and refunds of fees than it's worth. I am going to assume (a dangerous thing), or at least hope that this also applies to the renewal as well as the initial application.
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!