Contrary to what you may have heard or read, the collection of
application fees for the amateur radio service and certain other
services will NOT begin on April 19, 2021.
Although April 19, 2021 is the date the rules in the FCC Report and
Order adopted last December generally take effect – i.e., one month
after the R&O was published in the March 19, 2021 Federal Register –
certain parts of those rules, including collection of the application
fees for the amateur radio service, will NOT begin on that date.
The effective date for new amateur radio fees has not yet been
established. The FCC explicitly states in the published Notice that the
fees will not take effect until:
* the requisite notice has been provided to Congress; AND
* the FCC’s information technology systems and internal
procedures have been updated; AND
* the Commission publishes [FUTURE] notice(s) in the Federal
Register announcing the effective date of such rules.
The League’s counsel for FCC matters estimates that the effective
start date for collecting the fees will be some time this summer, but
regardless of the exact timing we will have advance notice. Stay tuned
for further developments on this.
Keep in mind that one can only renew their amateur license within 90
days in advance of the expiration date. If you, or a club station
license you are trustee for, are within that 90 day window now, I’d
renew as soon as possible to avoid the new fee.
If you are thinking of switching to a vanity callsign, I’d also
seriously suggest you apply for that special callsign sooner rather than
later. (Of course, if you are an Extra class seeking a new shorter 1X2
or 2X1 callsign, competition for those calls in the future MIGHT be a
bit less due to the new fees! We’ll see…)