FCC Reduces Proposed Amateur Radio Application Fee to $35

FCC sealFrom ARRL Web:

12/30/2020 – The FCC has agreed with ARRL and other commenters that its proposed $50 fee for certain amateur radio applications was “too high to account for the minimal staff involvement in these applications.” In a Report and Order (R&O), released on December 29, the FCC scaled back to $35 the fee for a new license application, a special temporary authority (STA) request, a rule waiver request, a license renewal application, and a vanity call sign application. All fees are per application. There will be no fee for administrative updates, such as a change of mailing or email address.

This fall, ARRL filed comments in firm opposition to the FCC proposal to impose a $50 fee on amateur radio license and application fees and urged its members to follow suit.

As the FCC noted in its R&O, although some commenters supported the proposed $50 fee as reasonable and fair, “ARRL and many individual commenters argued that there was no cost-based justification for application fees in the Amateur Radio Service.” The fee proposal was contained in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in MD Docket 20-270, which was adopted to implement portions of the “Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services Act” of 2018 — the so-called “Ray Baum’s Act.”

“After reviewing the record, including the extensive comments filed by amateur radio licensees and based on our revised analysis of the cost of processing mostly automated processes discussed in our methodology section, we adopt a $35 application fee, a lower application fee than the Commission proposed in the NPRM for personal licenses, in recognition of the fact that the application process is mostly automated,” the FCC said in the R&O. “We adopt the proposal from the NPRM to assess no additional application fee for minor modifications or administrative updates, which also are highly automated.”

The FCC said it received more than 197,000 personal license applications in 2019, which includes not only ham radio license applications but commercial radio operator licenses and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) licenses.

The FCC turned away the arguments of some commenters that the FCC should exempt amateur radio licensees. The FCC stated that it has no authority to create an exemption “where none presently exists.”

The FCC also disagreed with those who argued that amateur radio licensees should be exempt from fees because of their public service contribution during emergencies and disasters.

“[W]e we are very much aware of these laudable and important services amateur radio licensees provide to the American public,” the FCC said, but noted that specific exemptions provided under Section 8 of the so-called “Ray Baum’s Act” requiring the FCC to assess the fees do not apply to amateur radio personal licenses. “Emergency communications, for example, are voluntary and are not required by our rules,” the FCC noted. “As we have noted previously, ‘[w]hile the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communications service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications, is one of the underlying principles of the amateur service, the amateur service is not an emergency radio service.’”

The Act requires that the FCC switch from a Congressionally-mandated fee structure to a cost-based system of assessment. The FCC proposed application fees for a broad range of services that use the FCC’s Universal Licensing System (ULS), including the Amateur Radio Service, which had been excluded previously. The 2018 statute excludes the Amateur Service from annual regulatory fees, but not from application fees.

“While the Ray Baum’s Act amended Section 9 and retained the regulatory fee exemption for amateur radio station licensees, Congress did not include a comparable exemption among the amendments it made to Section 8 of the Act,” the FCC R&O explained.

The effective date of the fee schedule has not been established, but it will be announced at least 30 days in advance. The FCC has directed the Office of Managing Director, in consultation with relevant offices and bureaus, to draft a notice for publication in the Federal Register announcing when rule change(s) will become effective, “once the relevant databases, guides, and internal procedures have been updated.” 

ARRL Staffers to be On the Air from W1AW for Straight Key Night, January 1, 2021

Members of the ARRL Headquarters staff will put W1AW on the air for Straight Key Night (SKN). Set some time aside on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day to take part in this annual ARRL tradition.

Information on Straight Key Night can be found at http://www.arrl.org/straight-key-night .

SKN begins at 0000 UTC on January 1, 2021 (New Year’s Eve in US time zones) and wraps up at 2359 UTC. Not a contest, SKN is dedicated to celebrating amateur radio’s Morse code heritage. Bring out the brass, get on the air, and enjoy casual CW contacts, preferably using a straight key (hand key) or a semi-automatic key (bug). Activity traditionally centers on CW segments in the HF bands (W1AW will focus on 80, 40, and 20 meters).

Submit via email your SKN list of stations contacted and your votes for “Best Fist” and “Most Interesting QSO” by January 31 to,
straightkey@arrl.org .

Boston Marathon Volunteer 2021 Race Update

Boston Marathon Communications Committee writes:

We hope you are all safe and healthy. We also hope you are having an enjoyable holiday season despite the impacts of COVID-19. We wanted to provide you a short update on 2021 Boston Marathon plans in light of today’s public statement from the BAA.

The BAA statement can be seen here: https://www.baa.org/2021-boston-marathon-updates 

Our team has been engaged with the BAA at both the Organizing Committee and Medical Committee levels regarding the 2021 Boston Marathon. We have also been meeting as an Amateur Radio Communications Committee over the course of the Fall to be ready for a potential Boston Marathon event in the Fall of 2021 and attempt to review some of the issues of past marathons more proactively and address them given the delay in a potential race to the Fall of 2021. 

Given the uncertainties brought about by the recent surge in COVID-19 along with how quickly a vaccine can propagate to the general populace, the BAA has pushed back their decision on a Fall race date to early 2021.

We will continue to update you as things change regarding a potential 2021 Boston Marathon race and what changes that might entail in light of the COVID-19 impacts. When the BAA is once again able to resume the Boston Marathon, we hope to see you again as part of the Amateur Radio Volunteers, presuming it is safe for you in your personal situation.  

We will keep you posted as updates occur and attempt to get updates out as appropriate in coordination with the BAA. Thanks to all for their continued support of the BAA and the Boston Marathon.

As always, we welcome your correspondence and questions on volunteering to our general mailbox: contact@hamradioboston.org.

Thank you, and 73,

Boston Marathon Communications Committee

FCC Posts Email Address Reminder On ULS Landing Page

FCC logoFrom ARRL Web:

12/21/2020 – The FCC is encouraging users of the Universal Licensing Service (ULS) to have an email address on file with the FCC.

“Applicants are strongly encouraged to provide an email address on their license application(s), which will trigger the electronic issuance of an official copy of their license(s) to the email provided upon application grant. Per the timing specified in Rulemaking FCC 20-126, the FCC will no longer print, and licensees will no longer be able to request, hard copy license authorizations sent by mail.”

The FCC has not yet established the date by which an email address will be required on all applications. ARRL VEC already has begun including email addresses on FCC applications for as many applicants as possible.

KS2G: “Ham Radio University 2021” at K1USN Radio Club, December 21, 2020

k1usn qsl card“Pi” Pugh, K1RV, writes in K1USN Happenings:
I’m happy to announce our next Zoom presenter; Mel – KS2G on the upcoming Ham Radio University 2021 session which will take place with us on Monday evening, Dec 21 @ 7:30 PM EST. (Due to some scheduling conflicts we decided to shift this forward one day to be held on Monday instead of Tuesday!).
The Ham Radio University program ( http://hamradiouniversity.org/  ), now in it’s 22nd year, is billed as
“A day of education to share ideas, experiences, knowledge and fellowship among Amateur Radio operators”
Here is a link to the 2020 presentations – http://hamradiouniversity.org/past-presentations/
During these difficult times, the 2021 HRU team has decided to be a 100% virtual event and it is expected that turnout will be quite robust.
We are hoping that by spreading the word about our presentation that we may have a large number of viewers for our Dec 21st Zoom session. In anticipation of that possibility we are hopeful that we can also offer a livestream option if we end up exceeding our 100 participant Zoom limit.
We ask that you tell others about this presentation, but I ask that once you receive the actual Zoom invitation which will be sent out on Saturday, Dec 19, that you do not share that link with others. Simply tell them to send a request directly to me (k1rv@arrl.net) and I will add them to the K1USN Radio Club Zoom invitation list.
As I’ve stated before; we have two email distribution lists. You are receiving this via the K1USN Radio Club email distribution list. We have a seperate K1USN Zoom invitation list and if you have previously registered for that you will receive an invitation two days before the Zoom session.
As with all of our previous Zoom sessions, we plan to record this one for uploading to our K1USN Radio Club YouTube channel –
Ham Radio University 2021 logo

ARRL Headquarters Closed Tomorrow for Winter Storm Bailey

ARRL logoFrom nediv.arrl.org:

Central Connecticut, along with much of New England, will be impacted by winter storm Bailey tonight into Thursday and beyond. Estimates have varied widely, but have consistently indicated a major impact. The latest forecast is calling for 11-15” of snow beginning this evening going through tomorrow afternoon.

ARRL CEO David Minster, NA2AA, has announced that the Headquarters building in Newington, Connecticut will be closed for business on Thursday, December 17, 2020.  Employees will be encouraged to work from home; many already are, or are equipped to.

In advance of the storm, ARRL staffers removed some antennas from one of the towers on the HQ roof that was in poor condition. 

Minster anticipates that Headquarters operation “will be back to normal” by Friday.


Fred Hopengarten, K1VR
ARRL Director
New England Division

Phil Temples, K9HI
ARRL Vice Director
New England Division

N1DM: “A Smorgasbord of Radio: The People, Places and Incidents” at Zola ARC Meeting Online, December 19, 2020

Frank Venture, N1FMV writes:

Announcing the December 19 meeting of the Zola amateur radio group. Everyone is welcome to attend our next meeting on the Zoom video conferencing platform. This meeting will be online only with no in-person component. […] So, make your favorite lunch and get comfortable for another informative meeting.

Agenda (all times EST):

11:00 AM – Introductions and welcome

11:05 AM – Announcements and Q&A

11:15 AM – Our feature presentation will be from Dom Mallozzi, N1DM


It will concentrate on the period of radios development between the 1880’s and 1930. He will include a discussion of some early radio sites that are long gone. spending a few minutes at the end of my talk on the Titanic and its effect on radio operations.

Dom has been a ham for 48 years starting out in RI as WN1RFT. he is currently active on CW during some contests. and still likes to build equipment and is active on DMR, FT4, FT8 and satellites. Also, he is the radio consultant for Natick Police and Fire Departments for the past 30 years. He retired in 2019 from Raytheon as a Principal Electrical Engineer specializing in the design and maintenance of test equipment. He worked at Raytheon plants in Waltham, Andover, Sudbury and Marlboro over his 38 years with Raytheon.

After our feature presentation we will socialize and enjoy a virtual holiday lunch together. 

[Contact Frank Ventura, N1FMV,  at frank -at- littlebreezes -dot- com for Zoom conference details.]

MA Ham Operator License Plate Update, December 8, 2020

MA ham operator sample license plateRandy Dore, AI1G, writes on December 8, 2020:
I received a call this afternoon from Mass DOT RMV that my [ham operator license plate] application has been processed and the new plates should be completed in the next few weeks. She said they are picking through them in no particular order as there was quite a backlog.
You can pass the news on this to the membership. They are working on the backlog of applications.
Happy holidays,
Randy Dore AI1G

Eastern Massachusetts ARES Net – Monday December 7th, 2020 – 830 PM EDT

Hello to all…

The December Eastern Massachusetts ARES section net will be Monday December 7th, 2020 at 830 PM on the MMRA Repeater system.

For frequencies that will be linked into the ARES Net on the MMRA Network, please see the following link from the MMRA web site detailing the repeaters that will be linked in through Hub 1:


We look forward to your participation and remember, we are always looking for Net Controls to run the ARES Net. For tonight’s ARES Net, we will review events of the past month and talk a bit on ARES plans for 2021.

Thanks for your continued support of ARES!

Respectfully Submitted,

Robert Macedo (KD1CY)
ARES SKYWARN Coordinator
Eastern Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator
Home Phone #: (508) 994-1875 (After 6 PM)
Home/Data #: (508) 997-4503 (After 6 PM)
Work Phone #: 508-346-2929 (8 AM-5 PM)
Email Address: rmacedo@rcn.com
Like us on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/wx1box
Follow us on Twitter – http://twitter.com/wx1box

Long Island CW Club: “How to Learn and Have Fun with CW” at K1USN RC Online Meeting, December 8, 2020

k1usn qsl cardLearning CW does not have to be an arduous or lonely experience. CW is an aural language to be used and enjoyed.  Come listen to Long Island CW Club members Howard Bernstein, WB2UZE, and Jim Crites, W6JIM, with tips and techniques at the K1USN RC online meeting on December 8, 2020 at 7:30 PM. 

To receive an invitation to this Zoom presentation you must send “Pi” Pugh, K1RV, at k1rv -at- arrl -dot- net a request to be added to the K1USN Zoom invitation list.

(UPDATED) First Annual Hams All-Holiday On Air Celebration (W1E Special Event Station), December 12, 2020

Parks On The Air logoDec. 12: Unfortunately I had to cancel this event – a very unusual occurrence for me. Looks like the weather is a bit uncooperative too.  -KM1NDY


Mindy Hull, KM1NDY, writes in the Wellesley ARS Spark Gap newsletter:

Hello Friends! You are all cordially invited to:

WHAT: 1st Annual Hams All-Holiday On Air Celebration (W1E Special Event Station)  

WHEN: Saturday December 12, 2020. Two times: W1E on air from 11am to dusk. Everyone get together from noon to 2pm.  

WHERE:  Meet at Hopkinton State Park. Use the Main Entrance at 164 Cedar St., Hopkinton, MA 01748. Follow the map below.  Same place as November’s POTA!

PARKING: Park in large lot at boat launch. We will meet in a grove of trees with picnic tables near the beach at the end of the parking lot that is the farthest from where you entered it. See maps.  Park as close to the meeting spot as possible in case it’s real cold and we need to use our cars to warm up. 



42°15’30.7″N 71°31’01.8″W     ( 42.258539, -71.517168 )

WHY: To take back some of what this year stole from us.

DETAILS: We will operate the special event station W1E from about 11am to dusk at Hopkinton State Park on December 12, 2020 for the 1st Annual “Hams All-Holiday On Air Celebration”. We will be celebrating every holiday that anyone missed because of this crazy year! Our goal is to have as many QSOs as possible and then send a greeting card to every contact. We will set up one portable radio station in a heated shelter and operate SSB on 20M early and 40M later. The shelter will only hold one to two people at a time given the pandemic, so expect it to be cold. Bring your own equipment for other bands if you want to operate simultaneously; we have 100-Watt RF band-pass filters available so we can operate on multiple HF bands at once (10, 12, 15, 17, 20, 40, 80M).

If some of you would like to help operate the main station, send me an email with the time you are requesting to be on air.  Or just show up and we’ll see if we can get you on. Or bring your own station. 

If you want to just come hang out with radio people, enjoy some non-Zoom companionship, make a few contacts, and celebrate the holidays in person, show up between noon and 2pm. We will be social distancing, wearing masks, and splitting into smaller groups if there are more than 25 of us. Be prepared for cold!

Also, Hopkinton State Park is a Parks-On-The-Air (POTA) site, so you can activate a park as well! Activation code = K-2440. 

Bring as much festivity with you as possible! We all really really need it this year…

(I’ll send one more update next week!)



K9HI: “ARRL Update” at PART of Westford Online Meeting, December 15, 2020

PART of Westford logoFrom PART of Westford website:

The [PART of Westford] December 15, 2020 meeting will be held online via video conference, starting at 7:30 PM. Login details will be sent to members via Groups.io. Our guest speaker will be Phil Temples, K9HI, ARRL New England Vice Director, who will talk about ARRL news and happenings.

[To request conference login information, contact George Allison, K1IG, at k1ig -at- arrl -dot- net]

K9HI: “ARRL Update” at Billerica ARS Online Meeting, December 2, 2020

Billerica ARS logoDoug Bruce, KC1MJK, writes on the Billerica ARS web site:

Hello All! Our next [Billerica Amateur Radio Society] meeting will be via Zoom on December 2, 2020 at 7:00 PM. Our guest speaker will be: Phil Temples, K9HI, appointed as New England Division Vice Director:

“09/24/2020–ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, has appointed Phil Temples, K9HI, of Watertown, Massachusetts, as New England Division Vice Director. He succeeds Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF, who was elected earlier this year as ARRL First Vice President. President Roderick made the appointment after consulting with New England Director Fred Hopengarten, K1VR, and the region’s Section Managers.”

I am sure Phil will provide a great presentation for our Club, so be sure to join us! 73 Doug KC1MJK