January 5, 2016–The Mobility Division of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau today dismissed two petitions for rulemaking concerning the agency’s amateur service rules. “We have before us petitions for rulemakings filed by James Edwin Whedbee and Jeffrey H. Siegell. Mr. Whedbee requests that the Commission amend part 97 of the Commission’s rules ‘to reduce the number of amateur radio operator classes to Technician, General, and Amateur Extra, to merge into the Technician class all Novice class operators, to merge into the Amateur Extra class all Advanced class operators, to establish the procedures governing such mergers, and for related purposes.’ Mr. Siegell requests that the Commission amend part 97 to grant Advanced Class license holders Morse code operating privileges equal to those of Amateur Extra Class licensees,” the division noted in a letter ruling. “Thus, Mr. Siegell’s proposed rule change is subsumed within the changes Mr. Whedbee requests, so our analysis is the same for both proposals. For the reasons discussed below, we dismiss both petitions.”
“Your petitions essentially urge the Commission to afford Novice and Advanced class operator licenses the operating privileges of, respectively, General and Amateur Extra Class operator licenses. Holders of discontinued licenses would thereby achieve an upgrade to the next higher class without having to pass the requisite examination element for the higher class. The Commission has rejected this idea, and your petitions do not demonstrate or even suggest that any relevant circumstances have changed that would merit reconsideration of those decisions,” the division said.
“Based on our review of the record, we are not persuaded that your petitions disclose sufficient grounds for the requested rule changes,” it added. “Mr. Whedbee argues that automatically upgrading licensees in the discontinued classes would simplify the rules and reduce the Commission’s administrative burdens and costs, but he provides no evidence to suggest that an administrative problem even exists. Moreover, such benefits would not outweigh the public interest in ensuring that amateur operators have the requisite incentive to advance their skill and technical knowledge in order to contribute to the advancement of the radio art and improvement of the amateur radio service.”
“The Commission has already concluded that it will not automatically grant additional privileges to the discontinued license classes,” the division added. “Consequently, we conclude that the above-referenced petitions for rulemaking do not warrant further consideration at this time.” – Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org