The FCC Report & Order on new licensing fees that was adopted in
December 2020 was published on Friday, March 19, 2021.
As we all remember, the FCC originally proposed to burden Amateur
Radio with a licensing fee of $50.00. This was vigorously opposed both
by the ARRL and Amateur Radio licensees across the nation. Although we
were not successful in persuading the FCC to exempt Amateur Radio
completely, the combined efforts of the ARRL and many individual Hams
did result in the FCC’s agreement to reduce the $50 fee to $35.00.
Although the majority of the new rules and fees become effective 30
days after the publication of the FCC’s Report & Order — April 19,
2021 — the new fees for Amateur Radio license fees will NOT become
effective on April 19, 2021.
The FCC explicitly stated on Page 15061, Paragraph 44 of the Report
& Order (https://tinyurl.com/y52ff2zy):
It is further ordered that Commission’s rules are amended
as set forth in in the back of this summary, and such rule amendments
shall be effective 30 days after the date of publication in the Federal
Register — except for §§ 1.1102, …., — which require notice to
Congress and also require certain updates to the FCC’s information
technology systems and internal procedures to ensure efficient and
effective implementation. Sections 1.1102, …. will not take effect
(1) the requisite notice has been provided to Congress;
(2) the FCC’s information technology systems and
internal procedures have been updated; and
(3) the Commission publishes notice(s) in the Federal
Register announcing the effective date of such rules.
Section 1.1102 is the section of the Report that applies to Amateur
It is the opinion of the ARRL’s FCC counsel that the three
prerequistises will NOT be completed before this summer. But, whenever
those conditions have been met, the Report is clear that the FCC will
provide advance notice of the actual date the new licensing fees will
Thus it is not necessary for VECs to collect, or for any new
licenses to pay, any license fees until the FCC publicly publishes in
the Federal Register the date on which such fees must be
So, encourage everyone to get their licenses before this summer —
it will save them $35.00.
John Robert Stratton
West Gulf Division Director