Renewing your Amateur Radio License

by Bruce Ferry, AK8B

Although this web page is directed at renewing your license, you can use the same process to change your address.

You can renew your license if it will expire within the next 90 days or any time within the 2 year grace period after your license has expired.

Past the 2 year grace period you cannot renew your license. There are NO exceptions.

You will have to start all over and pass the tests again.

This page is ONLY for individuals of regular (not vanity) licenses wishing to renew their license.

You can check your callsign at the FCC's ULS Lookup Page: http://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/searchLicense.jsp

You can verify that your callsign is indeed due to expire soon (or has expired) and verify that you have an FRN (FCC Registration Number). You can't do business directly with the FCC any more without an FRN. Depending on how you renew your license, you may need to obtain an FRN before you can file any other forms with the FCC.

You have several options to renew your license:

  1. Renew Online - You can do it online through the FCC. This is the fastest and is zero cost.

  2. Through the ARRL - If you are an ARRL member, you can use the NCVEC 605 form and mail your renewal to the ARRL.

  3. Through the FCC - You can mail the official FCC forms directly to the FCC.

  4. At a VE Test Session - You can upgrade your license at any ARRL VE test session and at the same time renew your license (even if you don't actually earn an upgrade) for no additional cost.

  5. You can pay someone at one of the VECs to file the renewal for you. You will get notices in the mail soliciting this type of offer. I personally think this is a mean trick to get you to pay money to someone to do what should be free. I strongly suggest you avoid this route.

Renewing Online

Now that I've actually done it I can easily say this is the BEST way to do it. It's quick and easy - if you have your ULS password.

  1. Go to the main ULS page at: http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls
  2. Click on "Log In" under "Online Filing"
  3. Enter your FRN and password
  4. Once you are logged in you can renew your license. You can do a variety of other things here too like change your address and request a duplicate license.

Renewing Through the ARRL

If you are an ARRL member this is free and easy. Fill out the special NCVEC 605 form online at: http://www.arrl.org/files/file/ncvec605-3.pdf and print it out. Mail it to:

ARRL/VEC
225 Main Street
Newington, CT 06111

Note: You do not need to have an FRN to use this method. The ARRL will automatically obtain an FRN for you if you do not already have one.

Renewing through the FCC

If you are not an ARRL member, this is the best way to renew through the mail. There are some specific requirements though. First, you must have an FCC Registration Number (or FRN) to file a form 605. You can check to see if you have one with the callsign look above. If your license listing does NOT show an FRN then you must obtain one first by filing an FCC form 160. You will have to file this form and wait for the FCC to mail you back your FRN. Click here for the instructions for this form.

If you do have an FRN you can proceed to download and fill out the FCC form 605. There are two parts to the form, a main part and Schedule D. You should not need Schedule D but you can come back here to print it if you want to.

http://www.fcc.gov/Forms/Form605/605main.pdf

http://www.fcc.gov/Forms/Form605/605d.pdf

There are several pages to the main form. All but the last two are instructions and are not needed (unless you really like to read federal government written instructions). The actual form is on the last two pages. Print them out so you can fill them out as described in my simplified instructions:

FCC_605_Instructions.pdf

Note that these instructions apply to the June 2011 version of the FCC 605 form.

If you find you need Schedule D you will only need to print the last page.

Renewing at an ARRL VE Test Session

This can be one of the easiest ways to renew your license. If you are upgrading your license you get an opportunity to also renew.

If you are NOT upgrading but are an ARRL member you can also file an NCVEC 605 form with the examiners for free. Simply fill out the NCVEC 605 form (as described above) and bring it to any ARRL VE test session. The VE team can also provide you with a copy of the NCVEC 605 form at the test session for you to fill out. You will need proof of membership - a recent QST label or a copy of your membership card.

Contacting Me

If you still need help or have found a problem with this web page please contact me by email at:


Copyright 2012 Bruce Ferry. All rights reserved. No part of this web site may be reproduced or copied without express written permission.