Before I get started with the updated news on what is happening with my extra class upgrade application with the FCC, I want to say a very special thank you to the ARRL and to Perry Green, WY1O who just contacted me via email.
I’ve blogged about and mentioned the value on my podcast I believe we as amateur radio operators receive from being members of the ARRL many times. I must admit, this value was only something I had heard others mention or read directly through the efforts of the ARRL to identify why hams should join the league. I personally had not (until now) been on the receiving end of any direct assistance from the ARRL. Of course, I believe this is normal. After all, we purchase insurance based on what a company tells us they can and will do and frequently never actually see or need the benefit. But we know and trust it is there when needed.
I can tell you from first hand experience, the ARRL benefit we all receive through membership is very much worth the cost. Within 24 hours of my initial email to the ARRL Regulatory and Advocacy group I had received a response. Not just any response, but a response very much worthy of answering my questions, explaining what it all meant and informing me they had contacted the FCC on my behalf. WOW…
Now to the update. The questions I asked of the ARRL Regulatory and Advocacy group was along the lines of what did “alert list review” mean, why was I on this list and what can be done to move my application along to a full approval status. All my questions (and more) were answered.
First what does “Alert List Review” mean? As provided on the FCC’s website, by definition an “Alert List Review” is:
A list maintained by the FCC staff that identifies potential categories of "problem" applications so that ULS can identify them and send them offline for manual processing. The alert list function can then be used to flag applications based on the identity of the applicant, the spectrum being applied for, or the type of license being sought. For example, if an application is received for spectrum that is the subject of an ongoing rulemaking proceeding, that application would be offlined by ULS. The staff would then need to override a system alert in order to grant the application.
Now to the “why am I on this list" question and this is really where the ARRL helped me. The ARRL contacted the FCC on my behalf and was able to determine I was off-lined for additional research as there is another individual with a variation of my name who they needed to hold, or hold for research.
Mr. Green went on to inform me that I was fully cleared and would have been “released” and granted sooner, if it were not for the person who manually handles this review process wasn’t on vacation. Some may think “why is this all down to one person”, well in my job I have a lot of responsibilities that simply don’t get done when I’m out sick or on vacation and it just simply is what it is.
I also want to state for the record, the FCC never did say that I had done anything wrong. This was simply my own “jumping to conclusions” in trying to figure out what all this meant and what was going on. I have absolutely no reason to believe (nor do I believe) I was singled out for any reason whatsoever, other than the simple fact my name is similar to another name which needs to be handled in a different manner.
Finally, I fully agree with the processes and procedures the FCC has in place. My only regret in all this was I wished I had just simply contacted the ARRL versus reading into the information given to me through various social media and the additional forum research I conducted. This put me more on the defensive and really didn’t do anything to resolve the problem and answer my questions.
In closing, yes we do live in the information age. We expect almost immediate results and when something doesn’t follow an expected path we do tend to question things. However, I’m reminded of the fact that those who received their license long ago simply didn’t enjoy the short amount of time between testing and actually getting on the air as we do today. Brand new technician class hams can leave a VE session on a Saturday and in most cases may be able to get on the air the very next weekend. We should better appreciate this fact and be thankful to those who work hard to make all this happen.
Until next time….
73 de KD0BIK/AE