Relicensing for Former Holders of Expired Amateur Radio Licenses

The FCC now offers partial credit for expired General, Advanced or Extra Amateur Radio licenses. A license that has expired and gone beyond the two year grace period will be canceled in the FCC system. The licensee will not automatically qualify for a new license. At a minimum, previous license holders must take the current 35-question Technician exam at a VE exam session to return to Amateur Radio. The FCC will issue a new call sign and a new license when the Technician exam is passed. Please refer to Expired License Credit section below.

The FCC also offers partial credit for pre-1987 Technician licenses. Please refer to the Pre-1987 Technician License “Grandfather” Credit section below.

EXPIRED LICENSE FOR EXAM ELEMENT CREDIT

FCC Rule 97.505(a) offers partial credit to an examinee that has an expired General, Advanced, or Extra license. If an applicant held a General or Advanced license, and has proof, the FCC will afford credit for the General (Element 3) written exam only. If an applicant held an Extra license, and has proof, the FCC will afford credit for the General (Element 3) and Extra (Element 4) written exams. At VE exam sessions it is the applicant (not the VE’s or coordinating VEC) who is responsible for supplying the evidence of holding valid expired license credit.

The section titled “Valid Forms of Exam Element Credit for Expired Licenses” explains how to verify the license status of someone eligible for such credit under Section 97.505 of FCC Rules.

If their license has been expired for less than 2 years, they can simply renew the license. No additional testing is required. Have them fill out a form 605, indicating that they are renewing an expired license, checking the appropriate blocks or entering information as needed, and submit it with the other paperwork for that exam session. We will process their renewal application when the other paperwork is submitted. There is no charge for this service.

If their license has been expired for a period exceeding 2 years and one day, they must first take and pass the Technician (element 2) exam. Once that exam is passed, they must then demonstrate proof of having held a license of a “higher” class, such as a General, Conditional, Advanced, or Amateur Extra Class. The fact that they once held a Technician, Technician Plus, or Novice class license does not allow them to skip this step.

Their application for a new Technician license will be processed as for any other applicant. If they have provided acceptable proof of having previously held a General, Conditional, Advanced, or Amateur Extra class license, they will also be upgraded as part of the same process.

The relicensing provisions will generate a new license and call sign, they do not reactivate an expired license or call sign. The applicant will not automatically receive their old call sign. If, after they receive their new license, they still want their old call sign, they can apply via the vanity call sign program.

The Anchorage ARC VEC does not process vanity call sign applications. Vanity call signs may be obtained directly from the FCC, via their on-line filing procedures, or with the aid of a VEC that is authorized to process vanity call sign applications. Both the ARRL VEC (www.arrl.org) and the W5YI VEC (www.w5yi.org) can help them. The Anchorage VEC web-site contains additional information about vanity licensing, and applicants interested in this provision should visit our web pages.

If you have any questions about this program, please call Brandin Hess, AL6I for assistance.

Contact information:
Brandin Hess, AL6I
Chairman, Anchorage VEC
P.O. Box 215
Caribou, ME 04736

Brandin can be reached by telephone at: (907) 987-6716
Brandin’s email is: brandin.al6i@gmail.com
Alternate address: vec@kl7aa.org

VALID FORMS OF EXAM ELEMENT CREDIT FOR EXPIRED LICENSES

At a test session, the VE’s will review all credit documents presented by applicants. Persons who hold an expired General or Advanced license receive General written exam (Element 3) credit per FCC Rules. Persons who hold an expired Extra license receive General (Element 3) and Extra (Element 4) written exam credit per FCC Rules.

This can be verified if an applicant presents any of the following:

— Per FCC Rule 97.505(a), an original or copy of an original expired FCC issued General, Advanced or Extra license as indicated on the license.

— A REFERENCE COPY of the license printed from the FCC ULS license database or FCC archive database located on the FCC website at
http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/index.htm?job=home.

— If licensed in the mid-’70s or after, FCC will issue a ‘License Verification Letter’ indicating that the applicant was licensed. The FCC stated any requests for verification must be submitted in writing to: FCC, ATTN: Amateur Section, 1270 Fairfield Rd, Gettysburg, PA 17325. The request must include name, address, telephone number, date of birth, call sign issued at that time, and when the license was granted (if exact date is not known, give the approximate time frame). The FCC asks those inquiring to include any information that may be helpful in researching these requests, but it does not need to know details of the examination session, such as where the test was administered or who gave it. “These requests must be researched on microfiche, so they will be very time-consuming,” an FCC spokesperson said, adding that no one should expect an overnight response.

— For 1966 or more recent records, the FCC’s research retrieval service contractor, Best Copy & Printing, Inc. (BCPI), will obtain the General, Advanced or Extra license certification from FCC records. There is a charge for this service. For assistance in purchasing copies of FCC documents, please contact BCPI directly. Phone: 202-488-5300 or 1-800-378-3160. TTY: 202-488-5562. Fax: 202-488-5563. Email: fcc@bcpiweb.com. Web: http://www.bcpiweb.com/fcc_research.php.

— A 1967 Edition, or later, Radio Amateur Callbook listing is acceptable as proof provided the ‘G’ (General), ‘A’ (Advanced) or ‘E’ (Extra) license class appears on the page next to the call sign listing. Only Callbooks issued Fall 1967 or later will show the license class. Be sure to copy the year of publication reference, if not printed on the page.

PRE-1987 TECHNICIAN LICENSE “GRANDFATHER” ELEMENT CREDIT

FCC Rule 97.505(a) offers partial credit to pre-1987 Technician licenses. If an applicant held a “Technician” prior to 3/21/1987, and has proof, the FCC will afford credit for the General (Element 3) written exam only. The FCC does not require the applicant to have been continuously licensed. At VE exam sessions it is the applicant (not the VE’s or coordinating VEC) who is responsible for supplying the evidence of holding valid grandfather credit.

The section titled “Valid Forms of Exam Element Credit for Pre-1987 Technician Licenses” explains how to verify the Technician grandfather credit status of someone eligible for such credit under Section 97.505 of FCC Rules.

VALID FORMS OF EXAM ELEMENT CREDIT FOR PRE-1987 TECHNICIAN LICENSES

At a test session, the VE’s will review all credit documents presented by applicants.

For General written exam (Element 3) credit, persons who took a 50-question Technician/General written exam before March 21, 1987 receive Technician grandfather license credit per FCC Rules.

This can be verified if an applicant presents any of the following:

— Per FCC Rule 97.505(a)(4)s, a FCC Technician license issued before March 21, 1987, as indicated on the license.

— An original Element 3 Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE) issued before March 21, 1987.

— If licensed in the mid-’70s or after, FCC will issue a ‘License Verification Letter’ indicating that the applicant was licensed as a Technician licensee prior to March 21, 1987. The FCC stated any requests for verification must be submitted in writing to: FCC, ATTN: Amateur Section, 1270 Fairfield Rd, Gettysburg, PA 17325. The request must include name, address, telephone number, date of birth, call sign issued at that time, and when the Technician license was granted (if exact date is not known, give the approximate time frame). The FCC asks those inquiring to include any information that may be helpful in researching these requests, but it does not need to know details of the examination session, such as where the test was administered or who gave it. “These requests must be researched on microfiche, so they will be very time-consuming,” an FCC spokesperson said, adding that no one should expect an overnight response.

— For 1966 or more recent records, the FCC’s research retrieval service contractor, Best Copy & Printing, Inc. (BCPI), will obtain the pre-1987 technician certification from FCC records. There is a charge for this service. For assistance in purchasing copies of FCC documents, please contact BCPI directly. Phone: 202-488-5300 or 1-800-378-3160. TTY: 202-488-5562. Fax: 202-488-5563. Email: fcc@bcpiweb.com. Web: http://www.bcpiweb.com/fcc_research.php.

— A 1987 Edition, or earlier, Radio Amateur Callbook listing is acceptable as proof provided the ‘T’ (Technician) license class appears on the page next to the call sign listing. Only Callbooks issued Fall 1967 or later will show the license class. Be sure to copy the year of publication reference, if not printed on the page.

— QRZ.COM has posted on their website a copy of their very first Amateur Radio CD ROM product as originally published in 1993. This searchable database contains license records from 1983 to 1993. A printout of such a listing from the CD ROM or the web page, showing a Technician license effective or begin date prior to 3/21/87 is acceptable.

CSCE’S FOR EXAM ELEMENT CREDIT

At an exam session, the VE’s will review all credit documents presented by applicants. Per FCC Rule 97.505(b), a Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination (CSCE) issued within the previous 365 days at a VEC sponsored exam session, is acceptable proof for the Element(s) indicated on the form.

All VE teams need to be fully aware that the candidate MUST present an original copy of the CSCE to receive credit for that element! Additionally, if a VE team can not verify the authenticity of a CSCE, the lead VE should contact the Anchorage ARC VEC Chairman for further instructions.

With the changes to the speed at which licenses are being granted by the FCC, this is not likely to come up unless the candidate took their exam on a Friday evening, gets their CSCE and goes for an upgrade on that following weekend. Again, rare but if it does happen, make sure that the candidate comes with their original CSCE.

CSCE Special exception: Photocopies may, in special circumstances, be acceptable provided they contain the valid original signatures (in ink) of 3 current Anchorage ARC VE’s (in addition to any signatures that may appear on the copied original) attesting that the copy is a certified copy of an original CSCE form, and a reasonable explanation of why the original is not available. Acceptance of photocopied CSCE forms will be considered on a case by case basis, and is NOT guaranteed.

FCC RULE PERTAINING TO ELEMENT CREDIT

FCC Rule §97.505 Element Credit.

The administering VE’s must give credit as specified below to an examinee holding any of the following license grants:

Operator Class Unexpired

(or within the grace period)

Expired and beyond the renewable grace period
Amateur Extra Not applicable Elements 3 and 4
Advanced, General or Technician granted before March 21st, 1987 Elements 2 and 3 Element 3
Technician Plus or Technician granted on or after March 21st, 1987 Element 2 No credit

Important note: VE’s are required to see the CSCE form (or applicable license) for any element credit claimed by the examinee, before permitting them to take a subsequent element. Unless you know the examinee, and are willing to vouch for them, do not accept someone’s word that an element has been passed but that they have “lost”, “misplaced”, or “forgotten” their CSCE (or license) for that element. Every person wishing to take advantage of this new rule must fill out and sign an affidavit that states they are entitled to receive credit for elements passed previously. This affidavit is their statement that they are the same person as shown on the expired license.

The affidavit is required even if their current name and address match the expired license. Blank affidavit forms are included with each exam kit. The affidavit form should be reasonably self-explanatory, but don’t be afraid to ask questions. The affidavit is different from and separate from the regular Form 605 that all applicants submit. In the case of relicensing, both forms are required.

Even with a signed affidavit, additional scrutiny from the VE team will be needed to determine if the declared facts are plausible. For example, does the age of the applicant seem appropriate for a person licensed previously? A person that presents an expired amateur radio license that was originally issued 30 or more years ago, but whose current identification (a driver’s license, for example) indicates they are only 40 years old (or less) should raise a “red flag”. Guard against a situation where someone is attempting to claim credit for an expired license that was held by someone else with a similar name or address. VE’s should use their judgment and experience, along with any documentation provided by the applicant, to decide if the facts are indeed plausible.

Unless the applicant can show an expired General, Conditional, Advanced, or Extra class license that also shows the same name and mailing address as their current information, they will be required to provide additional documentation.

If the applicant’s current name and / or mailing address do not match the expired license:

If the applicant presents an expired license where the mailing address on the license is different from their current information, they are must also provide a satisfactory explanation for the discrepancies. The reasons for a discrepancy could be as simple as the applicant having moved one or more times since the issuance of the now expired license. Remember that the FCC requires licensees to keep them informed of the licensees current mailing address. However, if the applicant’s former license has been expired for several years, they would not have been required to keep the FCC informed of changes that occurred while the license was not in effect.

The applicant should be able to show documentation proving that they lived at the former address, or in the case of a name change, when and for what reason they changed their name.

This could be established by other documents such as voter ID cards, old driver’s licenses, old QSL cards, old bank statements or tax forms, etc. Our goal is to detect and disallow applications where someone is attempting to take advantage of a similar name, but who is not actually the person who held the expired license.

This situation will most often apply to a woman who has changed her last name because of changes in her marital status (but there could be other reasons, applicable to either a man or a woman). In any case, we are looking for similar documentation to that needed for address changes. Use the same basic verification processes as previously mentioned for address discrepancies.

Be absolutely certain that everything is in agreement before accepting someone’s claim for element credit via an expired license. VE team members will not be held liable if they do not accept someone’s credentials – we are not required to accept anything. In case of a dispute, the VEC Chairman will resolve the issue.

It is up to the applicant to prove their case to the satisfaction of the examiners – be fair, but be sure. If you are for any reason unsure, don’t do it!

If you are confident that the person has the required CSCE (or license) covering a required element, you may permit them to take the exam for a subsequent element, with the understanding that no action can be taken until you, and the other VE’s at that session, have seen the missing item(s). Some good sense judgment may be required on your part if this happens.