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!


Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

7 Responses to “I’ll admit, I fell for it!”

  • Joe KB3PHL:

    Well thankfully this something I don’t ever have to worry about. I’m perfectly satisfied with my FCC issued callsign.

  • Fred AE2DX:

    Some one has to pay for the free healthcare.

  • David WB4ONA:

    Maybe it’s just me, but nabbing a “Vanity” call sign seems like digging up and donning a corpse who was previously resting peacefully in the grave. All for the sake of satisfying one’s “Vanity”. Creepy.

  • Larry W2LJ:

    Have to agree, Dave. What you said is creepy.

    73 de W2LJ

  • Jim N8RFT:

    Larry: Just another example of a “Nanny govt.” Use all the circuitous rhetoric you can to justify stealing from the people! I don’t have a Vanity call and don’t want one,but I certainly think if you want a special Call it should be free! What’s the big outrageous cost to the FCC or any other Branch of the Feds? Oh,well,it is what it is,eh?
    73
    de N8RFT

  • David:

    Most government employees today are paid much higher than the comparable private sector worker. Additionally, their chances of loosing their job is almost negligible. When you look at the recent IRS scandal and the attitude of the government employees, it is just amazing what is going on. This is not to say we don’t have some excellent government workers.

  • Marty W5MRM:

    So if you reach your renewal and decide not to extend the use of your vanity call wouldn’t it cost them more to issue you a new call and update the records? It seems to me that the vanity fee should be a one time thing to handle the administrative burden of record keeping. I could be missing something here but how is renewing a vanity call any different than renewing a issued call once you have it?

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