by Steve Miller
Imagine the government actually doing something that made sense. I know, that’s a fantasy that most of us can’t even imagine. Nevertheless, it’s happened. The FCC has petitioned to drop the $21.40 fee for vanity call signs for amateur radio operators. Their logic is that it costs more to process the fee than the revenue it brings in.
When they raised the fee last September, I wondered why they didn’t make it an even twenty-five bucks. After all, it’s something of a luxury just like vanity license plates on your car. Nevertheless, if it costs more to collect money than the money you collect, then it seems that collecting the money to start with shouldn’t happen. Does that make sense?
I love the vanity call sign program. When I first got licensed, what you got for a call sign is what you kept forever – unless you moved to a new call area. Then you had to give up the call that you loved (or loathed) for one you liked (or hated even worse). I know hams who got calls that were very cumbersome in CW or difficult to announce phonetically. “Too bad,” said Uncle Charley, “Unlike love, your call sign is forever.” Continue reading