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Author Topic: Lifetime License request  (Read 6218 times)
KCJ9091
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« on: August 10, 2012, 05:51:40 AM »

Is anyone here well versed enough in legalese to write a request to the FCC rules making process to change the licensing period from 10 years to life?  Just think of the reduction in the administrative load it would make for them. 
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WT3O
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« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2012, 07:32:23 AM »

The simplest way to draft a request would be to copy the Anchorage VEC's Petition for Rulemaking for the same request and modify it to your liking: http://www.arrl.org/files/media/News/Anchorage_Petition.pdf

Generally, to get an administrative agency to pass a new regulation (or change an existing regulation), you file a Petition for Rulemaking and spell out (1) what the law currently is, (2) what the new law should be and (3) why the law needs to be changed. The agency then will either grant or deny the petition. Whatever you do, make sure you discuss "regulations" and not "laws." In a technical sense, administrative agencies promulgate regulations and congress passes laws, since this is the FCC you are dealing with "regulations."

There are comments on the Petition that has already been submitted (RM-11629): http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/proceeding/view?name=RM-11629

I don't know, however, if the FCC has granted or denied the Petition.
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N2EY
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« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2012, 09:13:35 AM »

A lifetime license has some serious downsides.

First is that the license database will contain more and more entries of hams who are either dead or who have left amateur radio and are never coming back. Sure, a deceased ham's family can send the FCC notice that s/he is gone, but how many families will bother to do that? How many even know to do it, or know how (FCC needs legal documentation that the ham is actually dead)?

The real-world effect will be that the number of hams will seem to rise and rise, when in actuality an increasing number of entries are of hams who are inactive and won't ever be active again. Tracking trends in amateur radio will be much harder because of this.

There's also the effect on vanity calls, as more and more of them remain assigned to hams who are gone. (Plus, how would the vanity fee system work?)

Renewal is also used as an enforcement tool. FCC can and has held up license renewal because a ham didn't behave appropriately.

As for reduced admin work - you can renew online or by mail. Online renewal is almost automatic; the FCC workload from it is miniscule.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
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W3HF
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« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2012, 09:41:40 AM »

The simplest way to draft a request would be to copy the Anchorage VEC's Petition for Rulemaking for the same request...

Actually it's not "the same request". Anchorage VEC was NOT requesting lifetime LICENSES. Their petition was requesting lifetime CREDIT for examination elements, which could then be applied to request a NEW license grant if the applicant's previous license had expired. (Admittedly the publicity surrounding the petition was often mis-stated. And even their terminology was a little bit confusing, which was pointed out and clarified by the lone original commenter.) As a result, it avoided the "downsides" that Jim N2EY pointed out.

I don't know, however, if the FCC has granted or denied the Petition.

Neither. It's still pending. (Note the status of "Open" on the web page you linked.)

« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 09:43:57 AM by W3HF » Logged
W3HF
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« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2012, 10:00:16 AM »

I vaguely recall a discussion some time back, where it was stated (or at least I think it was stated) that although operator licenses could be lifetime, station licenses (by either policy or law) had to have a defined (not perpetual) term. We in the amateur service have lost much of the distinction that used to be made between the operator privileges/license (defined by license class) and the station license (defined by the callsign). That used to be very clear on the licenses from earlier days; now it's not as obvious.

If that recollection is correct, then the combined station/operator license couldn't be permanent. But a lifetime operator license might make sense coupled with a separate station license that's subject to renewal. It would avoid "permanent" retention of callsigns (vanity or otherwise), so that's a plus. But it would require two separate but cross-referenced databases--one of operator licenses and another of stations. I'm not sure there would be advantages to the FCC, and it would certainly take a significant effort to make the change.

Frankly, I think the Anchorage VEC petition makes more sense than a change like this. It would not require any change in the FCC licensing process--it's just a rules change that would be implemented by VEs and VECs. But it would grant the lifetime credit that would make expirations a nearly-reversible administrative action.

73,
Steve
(licensed amateur radio operator and owner/licensee of amateur station) W3HF
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KCJ9091
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« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2012, 11:20:37 AM »

The motivation for the request in part is the constant, prolonged, and recurring deployments causing problems for service members being able to renew within the window.
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N2EY
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« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2012, 11:52:17 AM »

The motivation for the request in part is the constant, prolonged, and recurring deployments causing problems for service members being able to renew within the window.

The window is two years and 90 days long.

Perhaps the solution is to make the renewal window bigger. Say, two years before expiration to match the two years after. Total of four years centered on the expiration date.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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KCJ9091
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« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2012, 03:14:00 PM »

They can renew for two years.  If the license expired while they were deployed


Never mind forget it.  Sorry I wasted the groups time.
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W3HF
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« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2012, 06:39:19 PM »

Jerry -

Not a waste of time--good discussion.

Yes, if the license expires (for any reason), the licensee can renew (without testing) for two years after the expiration date. And given the ability to renew online, and the fact that almost all (if not all) military bases have internet access, it seems to me that the only excuse for not renewing is if it isn't important enough for the licensee to pay attention to.

Now Jim does have a good point, though. Under current rules, licensees can't submit a renewal unless the license is within the last 90 days prior to expiration (or the two years after expiration). If forget when this changed, but when I was first licensed (in the mid-70s), you could submit a renewal at any time. Maybe it would make sense to extend the 90 days a bit, especially given the current ten-year license term.

Steve
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KCJ9091
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2012, 06:21:57 AM »

Here is what prompted this.  Young National Guard soldier gets activated in the hustle and bustle of training and processing pre-deployment didn't remember to look at the expiration date of his license.  Shortly after deployment the expiration date hits.  He was forward deployed at a location that had e-mail only no general internet access, BTW. 

Fast forward the deployment ends and he comes home for two weeks before going to a base stateside for training.  He gets on the air to let everyone one know he made it home safe and sound and was just happy to be able to get back on the air.  Some OF with a noted lack of people skills hears a knew to him, had recently moved to the area, call on the air and looks it up.  He sees it is expired and gets on the air a spews forth a 5 minute tirade on the young soldier about violating the law and going to jail or paying a big fine and how he was sending an e-mail to the FCC reporting the violation.

Yes the soldier should have renewed his license.  In the chaos of preparing for deployment, and the excitement of returning home it got overlooked.  His excitement for amateur radio took a near death blow that day.  It took a lot of work to convince him to get on the FCC website and renew. 

The self appointed protector of the airwaves was banned from all the clubs repeaters and no one local will talk to him.  Last I went by his house there was a realtor's sign in the yard.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2012, 08:49:18 AM »

There's got to be a better solution. Lifetime licenses would pretty much eliminate the vanity call system - or you would have to prove that the owner of the call you want is deceased.

Call signs might eventually get pretty long - de AAAAA4XYZ

Perhaps it could work with something like a 150 year license term. Anyone applying for renewal would have to retake the test  Grin

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K7KBN
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« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2012, 08:47:18 PM »

Lifetime licenses would pretty much eliminate the vanity call system

I don't see this as a problem....
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
W5LZ
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« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2012, 05:48:53 PM »

So the solder DID renew his license?  He just had to be convinced to do so?  I'm sorry, but I don't see that as a good reason to change the rule.  Putting me in his place I'd probably feel as he did too.  but that's still not a good enough reason to change a rule that works just fine.
 - Paul
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N2EY
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« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2012, 03:43:17 AM »

So the solder DID renew his license?  He just had to be convinced to do so?  I'm sorry, but I don't see that as a good reason to change the rule.  Putting me in his place I'd probably feel as he did too.  but that's still not a good enough reason to change a rule that works just fine.

I think a considerable number of hams miss the narrow 90 day window at the end of the license term. IMHO, it would make sense to widen it.

But a "lifetime license"? No.


73 de Jim, N2EY
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W3HF
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« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2012, 05:46:25 AM »

I think a considerable number of hams miss the narrow 90 day window at the end of the license term. IMHO, it would make sense to widen it.

But a "lifetime license"? No.

This is one of those situations where "not more than 90 days in advance" hurt someone. Yes, he was able to renew retroactively, but not without some others issues coming into play.

I agree that it would make sense to extend the 90 days, maybe to 180. As for "lifetime licenses", I much prefer the "lifetime examination element credit" proposal made by Anchorage VEC. Lifetime licenses don't make sense, but lifetime credit does.

Steve
W3HF
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