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Default [KB6NU] FCC Dismisses Two Petitions from Radio Amateurs

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FCC Dismisses Two Petitions from Radio Amateurs

Posted: 08 Jan 2017 07:06 AM PST

The FCC recently dismissed two petitions from amateur radio operators for
changes to the licensing system (see the ARRL bulletin below). One of them
asked the FCC to make all Novices Technician Class licensees, all
AdvancedsÂ*Extra Class licensees, and then eliminate the Novice and Advanced
license classes. The second asked the FCC to allowÂ*Advanced Class licensees
to operate CW in the portions of the HF bands that are currently restricted
to Extra Class licensees.

Personally, I wouldnt be against making all Novices Techs. While I have
worked some Novices, my guess is that 99.9% of them are inactive and giving
them Tech privilegesÂ*isnt going to make much of a difference. Many current
Extra Class licensees, especially those that actually passed the 20
wpmÂ*code test, would probably oppose the second petition, but again, I dont
think that had it been approved it would have made much of a difference.

Jeff, KE9V, opined on Twitter:
Jeff Davis ‏@ke9v

Anyone recall the last time the FCC sided with a petition from a radio ham?Â* via @arrl #hamradio

I certainly dont, but it seems to me that most of the petitions submitted
by hams—and not the ARRL—are not all that well considered. For example,
while it might make sense for Advanceds to be elevated to Extra, the
petition does not take into account that this was already considered—and
rejected—when the rules were changed in 1999.

Also, is it really such a big chore to pass the Extra test? It does take
some effort, but its not like getting an engineering degree, and with all
the resources now available online, its not too much to ask.

Before I upgraded to Extra, I used to joke that I wanted to be the last
living Advanced Class licensee in the U.S. As a result of this decision,
those that currently hold Advanced tickets still have that chance.


ARLB002 FCC Dismisses Two Petitions from Radio Amateurs



ARRL Bulletin 2 ARLB002

From ARRL Headquarters

Newington CT January 6, 2017

To all radio amateurs


ARLB002 FCC Dismisses Two Petitions from Radio Amateurs

The FCC has turned down two petitions filed in 2016, each seeking similar
changes in the Part 97 Amateur Service rules. James Edwin Whedbee, N0ECN,
of Gladstone, Missouri, had asked the Commission to amend the rules to
reduce the number of Amateur Radio operator classes to Technician, General,
and Amateur Extra by merging remaining Novice class licensees into the
Technician class and all Advanced class licensees into the Amateur Extra
class. In a somewhat related petition, Jeffrey H. Siegell, WB2YRL, of
Burke, Virginia, had requested that the FCC grant Advanced class license
holders Morse code operating privileges equivalent to those enjoyed by
Amateur Extra class licensees.

Thus, Mr. Siegells proposed rule change is subsumed within the changes Mr.
Whedbee requests, so our analysis is the same for both proposals, the FCC
said in dismissing the two petitions on January 5.

The FCC streamlined the Amateur Radio licensing system into three classes
Technician, General, and Amateur Extra in 1999. While it no longer issues
new Novice or Advanced class licenses, existing licenses can be renewed,
and Novice and Advanced licensees retained their operating privileges.

The Commission concluded that the three-class structure would streamline
the licensing process, while still providing an incentive for licensees to
advance their communication and technical skills, the FCC recounted in its
dismissal letter to Whedbee and Siegell. It specifically rejected
suggestions that Novice and Advanced class licensees be automatically
upgraded to a higher class, concluding that it would be inappropriate for
these licensees to receive additional privileges without passing the
required examination elements. The FCC cited the same reason in 2005, when
it denied requests to automatically upgrade Technician licensees to General
class and Advanced licensees to Amateur Extra class, as part of a
wide-ranging proceeding.

The FCC said the two petitions do not demonstrate, or even suggest, that
any relevant circumstances have changed that would merit reconsideration of
those decisions.

Whedbee had argued that automatically upgrading current Novice and Advanced
classes would simplify the rules and reduce the Commissions costs and
administrative burden, but the FCC said Whedbee provided no evidence that
an administrative problem exists. Moreover, such benefits would not
outweigh the public interest in ensuring that amateur operators have the
requisite incentive to advance their skill and technical knowledge in order
to contribute to the advancement of the radio art and improvement of the
Amateur Radio Service, the FCC said.

The Commission has already concluded that it will not automatically grant
additional privileges to the discontinued license classes, the FCC said.
Consequently, we conclude that the above-referenced petitions for
rulemaking do not warrant further consideration at this time.



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KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

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