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It's Time to Pay the Piper


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Or at least, the FCC.

After nearly 50 years of not collecting fees, and now that the licensing system is automated, and now the FCC no longer has to pay for examiners, and now that the FCC incurs very little expense to oversee the Amateur Radio Service, it's decided it needs to collect a $35 license fee.  

I suppose I'm not surprised, but I am concerned.  You see, radio frequencies are a commodity and hams have enjoyed a free ride because the FCC has valued our contributions to public service and the research and development of new technologies.  But now, apparently, its attitude has changed.

Thirty-five bucks for a ten year license is  not that big a deal for most of us.  Yet what is the likelihood that, in a few years, it becomes $35/10year/band usage?  For those of us who only operate on one or two bands, that'd probably still be no big deal.  But I'm just wondering how such a slippery slope could affect Amateur Radio.

You can read Part 97 in its entirety and never find the word "hobby."  We are a service - the FCC defines us as such.  Perhaps we should remind the Commission of that fact.

35 dollars.jpg

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  • Administrator

So, I'm of three minds. I'll start with the respectful dissent 😇 I don't think it'll be a slippery slope. And if it is, I don't think it'll be per band; no way they could track or enforce that. It could be a price hike down the road; that maybe. As far as to have a fee, or not... Like I said, of different minds. I think that if when I had been licensed there was a token fee to register, I would not have balked. We pay for our driver's licenses, etc. So the $35 does not seem steep. Will I be okay if they kept it free, yup, that too. What bothers me more is the lack of respect for our 'service' while they simultaneously hike the price. If you think that we're valuable enough to charge us, then help us keep the 'service' alive. Let us put up our antennas. Let us keep our bands. And stop blocking legislation in Congress. If you want our money, give us the service 😶

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  • 1 month later...
  • Administrator

Hi Lind. I've been wanting to use that 'confused' reaction for a while. In the strictest sense, you are 100% correct. I should not have put that statement, or the band statement, or the blocking legislation one for that matter, in a thread specific to fees. Let's call it a rant 😇 And in fact, the 'confused' icon is likely the wrong one to use. I should have used an agreement one, but like I said, I've been dying to use it and this was the closest time I've come to justifying it. 😎

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I've a rumor that the FCC is looking to make license fees payable annually.  Also, I wouldn't be surprised if the FCC decided to charge according to license privileges - the higher the license, the bigger the fee.

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  • 1 year later...
  • Ionosphere

Wouldn't be surprised to see a large influx of pirating and just plain bootlegging if that yearly fee stuff happens.
I have one of them weirdo tin-foil-hat buddies who hates everything government.  Well, most things government.  He's happy to send the BATF a fee to own his  machine guns and supressors.  I can't talk to him on the bands because he's usually using some call sign he's stolen from the FCC online database  He seems to have gotten away with it for the last decade, so I suspect it isn't serious enough for the FCC to bother enforcing.

We "pay for a drivers license" because they's a DMV office in every town here in NC that provides us a service.  That costs money above and beyond what is budgeted from the tax payer treasury.  I can walk into a building and speak to a human and get a license tag or renew my DL or take the written exam or register to vote or get a veterans designation stamped on my DL or get my motorcycle endorsement or any other number of services that I can't do remotely.  I just got back from the DMV an hour ago.  I had to go renew my handicapped placard for my vehicle.  The FCC doesn't provide me a service, they restrict my freedoms until I pay a tax, so that's the difference as I see it.  If you claim the FCC provides a service my making regulations, that's also false.  All winter long the deer hunters are riding all over Carteret County using Marine VHF radios to find their deer dogs.  FCC doesn't give one damn that they're violating regulations by using a VHF marine mobile radio in their trucks as a CB radio.  As soon as you put your boat in the water and turn on the radio you'll hear... "Hey Fred did you see my ****** Dog?  The brown one with white ****** splotches on him?  He was over by Mill Creek road but now the ********** collar isn't sending a *********** signal.  Is the ********** with your pack?  The ******* has a ******* blue collar on."

Coast Guard says it isn't their problem cause it isn't happening on the water.  Local LE says it's a federal regulation, not their problem.  FCC apparently doesn't care, but they make the regulations.   So I don't see anything the FCC does for me but tell me what I can't do.

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