If you have just passed the tests for a brand new Amateur Radio License, congratulations! Your information from the testing session will be entered into the FCC licensing database in just a few days, under normal circumstances. As soon as your name and new call sign appear in the database, you may begin to use your new license and call sign. You do not have to wait for a physical license document to arrive at your mailing address.
Note: The FCC has discontinued automatic issuance of printed license documents. A printed license can still be obtained from the FCC, but you must request it separately. To obtain a printed license document, contact the FCC at their Gettysburg, PA office. To request a printed license document, contact the FCC’s support office. They can be reached at: FCC eSupport
To find out if your new license is ready, you can look at the FCC ULS (Universal Licensing System) database. click here to access the database.
To do a name search, using the “License Search” box at the center of the page, click on the down arrow in the “By Call Sign” box, and select “By Name”.
Enter your name like this: Smith, Joe E and press the “Search” button.
After a few seconds, any names matching the search specification will appear. If more than one name appears, search through the list and find one that is closest to your name including the initial, and shows as “active” under the “status” column. Hint: All Alaskan amateur radio call signs will start with the letters “AL”, or “KL”, or “NL”, or “WL”. This will be followed by a single numeric digit, and finally 1, 2, or 3 letters. Example: KL7AA
Please note: The information contained in these pages is primarily directed to persons who tested with the Anchorage (Alaska) VEC. If you tested with a different VEC, you should contact them for assistance in determining when your data was filed with the FCC and when you might expect to see the information in the ULS database.
If your new license has been issued, it will appear when the search is complete. If the license has not been issued, don’t despair. Sometimes these things take a few days to get processed, especially if a weekend or holiday is involved. Be patient, and check back every day. Soon you will be rewarded with your new call sign.
Sometimes, due to various reasons, it can take us a few days to get the data uploaded. If you are curious, simply send us an email click here to send email , and we will try to find out if your application has been processed, and if not, when it is scheduled to be run. Please give us at least a week before sending in a query. Please remember that this work is done by volunteers, and sometimes delays occur (they do occasionally have to pay attention to things other than ham radio, you know!)
Again, the information contained in these pages is primarily directed to persons who tested with the Anchorage (Alaska) VEC. If you tested with a different VEC, you should contact them for assistance in determining when your data was filed with the FCC and when you might expect to see the information in the ULS database.
As soon as your new license showing your name, address, and call sign appear in the FCC’s database, as evidenced by the search you just completed from the preceding paragraphs, you may begin operating. You do not have to wait for the physical license document to arrive in the mail! Just grab your microphone, keyboard, or telegraph key and go for it!
Do you need an official “hard copy” of your license? Follow these instructions:
There are a number of ways a license holder can obtain an official copy of their license.
- Download and Print License: The licensee can log into the FCC ULS License Manager System with their FRN and password to download and print an electronic authorization of the official license.
- Login and Set Paper Preferences: The licensee can log into the FCC ULS License Manager System with their FRN and password and set their own paper authorization preferences for future mailings.
This option determines whether a user will receive paper authorizations (printed license and FRN information) from the FCC.
The license holder would select either YES or NO .. and then click SAVE.
By selecting YES, you will continue to receive paper authorizations printed and mailed by the FCC. By selecting No, you will not receive authorizations printed and mailed from the FCC.
This preference will affect all granted authorizations on this FRN.
- If you wish, you can contact the FCC: Licensees also may contact FCC Support via the web, telephone (1-877-480-3201) or mail to request paper licenses.
Please note that FCC recently stopped using distinctive paper stock to produce hard copy licenses and has been printing these on “standard, white recycled paper.”
The Bureau noted that the distinctive paper stock it had used was six times more expensive than the plain recycled paper it now uses.
The official license will display the FCC logo and the watermark “Official Copy” will be printed across each page of an official authorization from FCC.
Temporary operating authority:
If you have just upgraded your license by passing additional elements, and if the elements you have completed will result in your having additional operating privileges, you may begin using them immediately! You do not have to wait until we have sent the upgrade data to the FCC. Your new operating privileges will be shown on the CSCE form you received at the exam session.
You will notice on your CSCE (Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination) form that one of the options under “Operating Privilege” has been circled. Also, at the bottom of the CSCE form, is a brief explanation of how to identify your station. You should use this special identification procedure until your license has been modified, and the FCC database shows your new privileges.
Caution: The CSCE is NOT a license to operate a radio station. The operating privileges noted on the CSCE may only be used in conjunction with a valid amateur radio license previously issued by the FCC. If you are a new operator and have not previously held a license, or are a person who has applied for a new license via the relicensing program, you must wait until your new call sign, name, and address appear in the FCC’s ULS database before beginning on the air operations.
Once the changes have been included in the FCC’s database, you no longer need to use the special identification. Just use your call sign as you have been doing before the upgrade.
Unless of course you have asked for and received a new call sign. In that case, switch to using your new call sign, and discontinue use of your old call sign.
As in the case of a new license, the information about your upgrade will appear in the FCC’s database. The FCC no longer routinely issues paper documents for new or upgraded licenses. To request a printed license document, contact the FCC’s support office. They can be reached at: FCC eSupport
To check the FCC’s ULS database, click here
Once on the FCC page, Click on the “By Call Sign” box, insert your call sign, and press “Search“. There will probably be 2 pages of information. The first is a summary page, Click on your call sign (normally found near the left – center of the screen) to get the details.
You can also check by using a commercial call sign server, such as www.qrz.com