There has been a lot of confusion as a result of the Federal Communications Commission’s publication on March 19 in the Federal Register that the agency will begin charging for amateur radio licenses and vanity call signs.

While the new law goes into effect on April 19, the FCC still needs to notify Congress they are ready to begin collecting fees and have their IT systems capable of accepting the new $35 fees from hams. While the new fee will apply to new licenses, renewed licenses and vanity call sign requests, there is an exemption for administrative updates such as for a change of mailing or email address.

In the meantime, keep studying. You might have earned a little bit of a reprieve, but federal law is complicated and there was a minor clause at the end of the rules published on March 19 that allows this to be put on hold until all systems are in place.

In reality, the new fees are not expected to happen until perhaps this summer. We’ll let you know more when we know more.