By WBØRUR, on the scene
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a shocking turnaround, the Federal Communications Commission has reversed its decision to halt the printing of paper amateur radio licenses. In fact, federal administrators say they will do just the opposite and expand printing options available to ham operators.
“We really didn’t understand the outcry that would come from the ham radio community,” says Pontus “Smokey” Blumenthal, FCC spokesman (formerly with the now-disbanded Federal Park Service). “We are getting a lot of bad press on the forums, in social media and at ham club meetings. We were only attempting to reduce overhead, lower our expenses and bring the budget more in line with expected revenues. But we may have been shortsighted and are now seeing new cash flow opportunities.”
Blumenthal says effective April 1, applicants receiving a new license or current amateurs renewing existing licenses may opt for one of several print options for a nominal charge. At press time those options are:
- Plain paper; license emailed to you; print at home: FREE
Heavy card stock; print at agency and shipped in mailing tube to your home: $19.95 plus shipping and handling
- “Old World Style” parchment with the words “Past Here Be Sea Monsters” along the margins, printed and shipped to your house in well-packed box: $49.95 plus tip for the delivery guy
- Richly colored vellum paper with license info printed in squid ink; printed and shipped to your home in a hermetically sealed box: $129.95
- License printed on actual 1-inch thick sheet of lucite suitable for use as an entire radio operating desk top; printed by laser etcher and shipped via common carrier truck to your residence (no P.O. Box delivery): $1299
Tanned 3’x3’ deer hide (shown to the right), license is hand printed by Native American Navajo artisans using buffalo ink; printed and shipped to your home in a secured shipping container accompanied by armed guard: $4250 (Note: the FCC does not keep deer hide in stock and must dispatch a team of hunters each time an order is placed, so be patient.)
Blumenthal says all hams should take advantage of this new vanity licensing printing program. However he encourages orders to be placed soon; they are managed on a first come, first served basis.