The FCC remains closed, as the Federal Government shutdown continues. All FCC websites, including the Universal Licensing System (ULS), are offline until further notice. The Commission’s Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, facility, which handles all Amateur Radio licensing transactions, is shuttered as well. Here’s how the FCC shutdown will affect Amateur Radio licensing application transactions and VE-administered examination sessions. We will update this list as new information becomes available.
- The ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) is open and conducting business as usual, within the constraints of the FCC shutdown (tel 860-594-0300).
- No VECs are able to file any applications with the FCC, nor can they research anything on an FCC online database.
- The FCC CORES registration system to obtain an FCC Registration Number (FRN) is unavailable during the shutdown.
- During the period that Commission’s electronic filing systems are unavailable, electronic filing requirements cannot be satisfied through manual filing, with or without a request for waiver of filing requirements.
- The ARRL does not expect the FCC to resume granting any Amateur Radio-related applications until it is again open for business (in other words, the FCC likely will not reopen immediately after shutdown ends; it will take some time to ramp up operations). If the FCC is unable to restore electronic filing systems on the day the government reopens, it may issue a Public Notice further extending filing deadlines.
- Volunteer Examination sessions may proceed as scheduled, at the discretion of the VEC and session sponsors; examination applicants should be made aware that application processing will be delayed.
- The ARRL VEC will receive and hold for filing any exam session applications and paperwork. VE session paperwork requires batch filing and an FCC filing number, but no VECs can file any applications or paperwork until the FCC reopens.
- Radio amateurs whose licenses expire between October 1 and the day after normal FCC operations resume may continue to operate until then, even if they have not yet filed a renewal application. Pending an official FCC announcement that states otherwise, applicants should apply for renewal no later than one day after the FCC reopens, if they want to continue to operate.
- Amateur Radio applicants who passed an upgrade examination may still operate with their new privileges, even if their applications have not been accepted for filing by the FCC. Applicants must have a Certificate of Completion of Examination (CSCE), issued by the VE team. Follow the identification instructions on the back of the CSCE.
- If the closing date for comments on an open FCC proceeding falls during the shutdown, comments will be considered timely filed on the day after the Commission reopens for business.
- The FCC’s filing window, mail room, and all electronic filing systems will be unavailable until normal government operations resume. This unavailability of systems will impact the work of any entities requiring access to such systems/information, such as VECs and individual filers.
- Materials sent to the Commission by private delivery services may be returned to the sender. In this event, any materials will be due on the business day following the day of return to normal operations. (For example, if the shutdown stalemate ends on a Monday, the FCC would resume normal operations on Tuesday morning, and filings would be due on Wednesday.)
- The ARRL VEC is still processing International Amateur Radio Permit (IARP) applications.
- It is still possible to reserve a 1 × 1 special event call sign, since that is not an FCC function.
- Only one “senior management official” in the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau — which oversees Amateur Radio — was scheduled to be on duty for the extent of the shutdown.
- The FCC refers anyone calling regarding an emergency “affecting the safety of life or the protection of property” to a Washington, DC, number, 202-418-1122, or an e-mail address.