FCC to allow expired General, Extra class operators to relicense by taking the Tech

Good news for anyone who previously held a General or Amateur Extra class license and allowed it to lapse! The ARRL has just announced that the FCC has approved a change to the rules for obtaining an Amateur Radio license allowing those who previously held a General or Amateur Extra class license but allowed it to lapse (2 years past the expiration date) to regain that level after only taking the Element 2 (Technician) license exam.

Previously if you allowed the two-year grace period to expire you would need to retake all exams and no free credit was given for the expired license.

The good

We see a lot of people who have been out of the hobby for awhile and decide they want to get back in.  This will make it a lot easier for those interested in HF or otherwise wanting to regain their higher license privileges! I’m sure there will be a lot of people who take advantage of this new ruling.

The bad

There is a possibly small but very vocal movement of people in the Amateur communities that feel strongly that the changes made to Amateur Radio licensing in the United States in the last ten to twenty years has lowered the overall technical competence of ham radio operators in the nation.

While I’m not sure that I agree with that (or perhaps I don’t see it as the same level of problem that they do) I certainly expect that this will fuel that perspective.

Time frame

While we don’t know the exact day that this will take place yet, the ARRL article states that “The new rules become effective 30 days after their publication in The Federal Register, which is expected to happen this week.

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