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FCC Vanity Call Sign SNAFU - RF Cafe Forums

Because of the high maintenance needed to monitor and filter spammers from the RF Cafe Forums, I decided that it would be best to just archive the pages to make all the good information posted in the past available for review. It is unfortunate that the scumbags of the world ruin an otherwise useful venue for people wanting to exchanged useful ideas and views. It seems that the more formal social media like Facebook pretty much dominate this kind of venue anymore anyway, so if you would like to post something on RF Cafe's Facebook page, please do.

Below are all of the forum threads, including all the responses to the original posts.


 Post subject: FCC Vanity Call Sign SNAFU
Posted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:30 pm 
 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 2:02 pm
Posts: 712
Location: Erie, PA
Greetings:

After waiting way too long, I finally earned my Amateur Radio Operator license (KB3UON). So, then I decided to apply for a vanity call sign. I went to the FCC's Universal License System (ULS) website and dutifully filled in the form. I got all the way to the part where the data is submitted, and then a screen appeared asking for payment (which I expected), but suddenly I realized there were a couple call sign options I had not listed and decided to back out and start over.

No problem, I though, since the page explicitly stated that no request submissions would be process without accompanying payment.

So, I started over and submitted the form with the additional vanity call sign options, then completed the credit card payment screen. All seemed well. Silly me, I forgot that it was a Government entity.

About two weeks later I received in the mail a letter stating that my application had been rejected because it was a duplicate filing (see below).

The following day I received another letter stating that the application was rejected because payment was not received within the required timeframe (see lower image).

The nebulous explanation was useless, so I contacted the FCC. They told me that the application that I had paid for was rejected because it was received during the time the first was waiting for payment, so that made it a duplicate application. The first one expired for non-payment and was also rejected.

The FCC happily kept my $13.40 filing fee. That will help to guarantee that the average Federal employee's salary ($108,476 in 2008 inc'l benefits) is well above the average private industry employee's salary ($69,928 in 2008 inc'l benefits). Source: USA Today  3/8/2010.

Given that the information screen I received explicitly stated that the first would not be processed without accompanying payment, I confidently submitted the second form that also included payment. I exhorted them to consider how a competent bureaucracy would have considered the circumstances and acted accordingly. I requested that they process my application or refund my filing fee. It has been three weeks now, and still no word.

I am really looking forward to having my health care handled by the Fed as well.

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- Kirt Blattenberger :smt024
RF Cafe Progenitor & Webmaster


 
   
 
 Post subject: Re: FCC Vanity Call Sign SNAFU
Posted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 11:15 am 
 
General
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2006 5:39 pm
Posts: 58
I try to be optimistic as often as possible; so I will try to look at your un-rare experience positively.
You 'lost' $13.40 plus your time.

In the early 70's when I got licensed, we had to take a train into Chicago (take day off of work or school) and paid about $15 as I remember. This first part of the test was receiving morse code. If you did not pass that, you did not even get a chance to take the written test 'as practice'.

Keep us informed how it all works out for you in the 'long run'.

73


 
   
 
 Post subject: Re: FCC Vanity Call Sign SNAFU
Posted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:56 am 
 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 2:02 pm
Posts: 712
Location: Erie, PA
Greetings wb9jtk:

Yeah, it certainly was more difficult in the days of yore. I just wrote to another guy, my unofficial website proof reader, who also earned his license many moons ago. He probably won't mind my posting the same thing here:

*******************
Having earned an Extra license in the pre-code days is certainly an accomplishment to be proud of. As with so many other aspects of life, the requirements have had to be dumbed down in order to attract participants. To some extent I can see the claimed need to make the hobby more accessible, especially given that the primary reason for the ARRL, if you believe their claim, is to provide a ready cadre of able radio operators to respond in times of crisis.

The advent of relatively inexpensive, high performance radios negates the need to even really know much about electronics, but what the hey, I tossed my mother’s old IBM Selectric typewriter years ago once the 286-powered Packard Bell computer and a dot matrix printer was affordable. I doubt many sexagenarian surgeons look down on 30-something surgeons because they did not have to perform exploratory surgery on patients to discover what a good CAT scan or MRI can reveal with no risk or discomfort to the patient.

The same kind of attitude exists to some degree in the model airplane hobby, where old-timers hate the RTF (ready-to-fly) models because their owners never learn about aircraft structures or aerodynamics. Somehow that makes them lesser hobbyists. An honest assessment of the result of those RTF models is that the actual flying skill levels of the average modeler has gone way up because more time is devoted to flying than to building. Maybe the same can be said for Ham radio operators.

I’ll be getting study materials for the General class soon, then, hopefully, on to Extra.
*******************

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- Kirt Blattenberger :smt024
RF Cafe Progenitor & Webmaster


 
   
 
 Post subject: Re: FCC Vanity Call Sign SNAFU
Posted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:31 pm 
 
General
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2006 5:39 pm
Posts: 58
I hope no one interpreted my post as 'looking down' on anyone. I was trying to illustrate that things have gotten easier.

Thirty years ago you HAD to know what the buffer drive level pot did and why you had to tune the oscillator multiplier correctly. You HAD to know what neutralization was, you HAD to know what "dip the plate current" meant. Today, there is absolutely no NEED to know those things; those adjustments do not even exist (except on 'antiques' and high-power amplifiers).

The things not on the test (and should not be in my opinion) are how to use the computer for advanced modes - PSK31, WSJT, and others that use the computer for digital signal processing. As long as the operator understands over-modulation, modulation bandwidths and stuff, the signal will be clean enough to comply - even if the software crashes.

And I suppose I will comment on dropping the morse code proficiency test (I operate mostly CW).

It was time for it to go away.

When I started, I could not afford a radio that used any mode other than CW. Now, a really nice radio that is capable of most modes of transmission is within the price of a high-school-student-mowing-lawns budget.

If they understand why it takes 316,000 watt erp to send NTSC 100 miles and only 0.5 W to communicate with CW for 10,000 miles, it will help them make choices as to the most appropriate emissions for the desired communications situation.

I wonder what we'll be talking about in another 30 years?


 
   
 
 Post subject: Re: FCC Vanity Call Sign SNAFU
Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:41 am 
 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 2:02 pm
Posts: 712
Location: Erie, PA
Greetings Alan:

Your post definitely did NOT have a condescending tone, but I have read letters in QST and online forums where some of the old guard resents the dropping of the Morse Code requirement. It was considered a filtering out mechanism for the unworthy. To some extent, I have to admit to having that same attitude, even though I ultimately benefitted from the new rules.

The ARRL study manual emphasizes the advantage of learning code because of the relatively open bandwidth (not too many users) and things like being able to identify repeaters that use Morse code IDs. Plus, there's just something cool about listening to code being sent - even cooler if you can interpret it!

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- Kirt Blattenberger :smt024
RF Cafe Progenitor & Webmaster


 
   
 
 Post subject: Re: FCC Vanity Call Sign SNAFU
Posted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:29 pm 
 
Captain

Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 9:16 am
Posts: 12
So have you reapplied yet? :smt017






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