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Old 06-04-2007, 07:47   #16
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OK, Coot. It's not a free license--it's the license to operate for free without one.<G>

Same deal, one class of user pays nothing, the other pays beaucoup bucks and except for the week or three that they go across the border, they still don't need it.

I'd venture to say that for the typical US boater who ventures across into Canada or Mexico once in a while, the FCC's "extra" cost and burden is ZERO. Making it awful hard to justify the price tag.

Gord-
Yes, last time I looked all our federal forms still had the "paperwork reduction notice" on them. The best laugh is the one that says you can complete your taxes in less time than it takes to read them all. (sigh)
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Old 06-04-2007, 18:41   #17
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Originally Posted by hellosailor
OK, Coot. It's not a free license--it's the license to operate for free without one.<G>
That's a significant difference. The FCC did not need to do any additional work when you installed a radio on your boat. You fall under an existing rule.

The FCC is only able to make that rule apply inside the US. In spite of what many may think about the US, our government has a rather limited ability to overrule the laws of other countries.

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I'd venture to say that for the typical US boater who ventures across into Canada or Mexico once in a while, the FCC's "extra" cost and burden is ZERO. Making it awful hard to justify the price tag.
They charge for the act of issuing the license, not for crossing the border. When you send in the license application, somebody has to be there to open the envelope and read it, do whatever processing and recordkeeping they do, and mail you the actual license document. Do you expect that guy to work for free? Of course, it costs money. Does it really cost $200? I don't know.
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Old 06-04-2007, 18:57   #18
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Coot, we know it doesn't cost $200 since there are many other radio services where licenses are also pro forma (i.e. just fill it in and send money, no exam, etc. required) and they are all uniformly cheaper.

Ham radio? $14 for the same ten years.
GMRS radio? $80 ?
VHS ten years ago? $75 for the same ten years, no difference in the "administrative burden" since then.

All the FCC has to do is input the data to a database, cash the check, and keep the database running. The cost of that is really, really, trivial. There are plenty of states that do it with drivers' licenses, etc. for a whole lot less. And they are also constantly using that data for other purposes, i.e. checking to see if drivers are licensed.<G>

International compliance? AFAIK the only "international" burden on the FCC is to make the database available when and if needed for law enforcement reasons. And we all know it costs next to nothing (relatively) to put a database on a web site and make it accessible to everyone--which is how the FCC makes all of its data accessible for all purposes.

Sorry, Coot, but if you compare the price of other fee-based licenses and past rates, the "new" VHF rates are simply another case of "Well if they have money for boats, they must have too much money let's take some of theirs."
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Old 06-04-2007, 20:51   #19
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Coot, we know it doesn't cost $200 since there are many other radio services where licenses are also pro forma
My total cost was $160. You can pay it or not. If you want a license you have to pay. Maybe everything should be free - but it's not. Maybe you could get a better deal in some other country. Most countries are reciprocal.
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Old 06-04-2007, 21:42   #20
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Paul, when did you pay $160? IIRC it is $200 now, at least it was last time I had to renew.

I don't think everything should be free. Nor do I think radio licensing should all be free. I'm quite happy with Congress' mandate to set the pricing for licenses based on the cost of providing the licensing service. I just think the FCC has done something illegal and improper, by grossly exceeding that mandated price.
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Old 07-04-2007, 05:15   #21
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Paul, when did you pay $160? IIRC it is $200 now, at least it was last time I had to renew.
Last week on line. It includes everything except HAM.
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Old 07-04-2007, 21:57   #22
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Originally Posted by hellosailor
Coot, we know it doesn't cost $200 since there are many other radio services where licenses are also pro forma (i.e. just fill it in and send money, no exam, etc. required) and they are all uniformly cheaper.
I guess your point is a little unclear to me. Is it that you think the cost of the license should be "ZERO" or "free" as you wrote above, or just that you think $200 (what I paid a few years ago) or $160 (what Paul paid just recently) is too much?
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Old 07-04-2007, 22:20   #23
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Hellosailer said,
[snipped]"which is how the FCC makes all of its data accessible for all purposes."[snipped]


Which is exactly why I never post my HAM call letters.

Steve B.
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Old 08-04-2007, 12:30   #24
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Coot, I think that since the FCC "licenses" VHF as a free service (i.e. no individual license or fee) to recreational sailors, they obviously CAN extend that same price to all recreational sailors--regardless of where we sail.

Now, do I think that's right to be free? I don't know. Free is good, and free is good if it encourages public safety use of the radios. If one SAR is wasted, or one boat goes down unassisted and four people die because someone didn't want to spend $25 on a radio license...Isn't it more profitable for the government to make the licenses "free" rather than spending money on SAR missions? Isn't it more profitable for society to encourage the deployment of safety equipment, than to allow deaths?

That's why I say free VHF licenses could be reasonable, but on the other hand, I wouldn't say that SOME fee to cover actual expenses was UNreasonable either. I don't think a $20 fee would stop a lot of folks. I know a $75 fee *did* stop a lot of folks, and a $200 or $160 fee, whatever it is now, stops even more. (And if it was $200 but dropped to $160 now, why did it drop, if it was really based on costs??)

I'm saying that the COST itself is not a point, the REASONABLENESS of the cost is. To me, "$20 or free" are essentially the same, and "$160 or $200" are essentially the same. The question is, how can the FCC present that entire spectrum of prices and claim they are all reasonable and proper? The answer is, they can't. And, our goverment agencies, including the FCC are expressly prohibited from "arbitrary and capricious" actions. Like, setting a license fee all over the scale just to see what might happen.

What's it cost of process my application and keep it on file for ten years? Or, for "lifetime" as the Brits do with amateur radio license these days? Ten bucks, twenty? Fifty? Fine, figure out what it costs down to the cost of having someone sign the secretary's paycheck every month, and then tell me "this is what it costs, here's how many users we expect, so here's the fee".

Just don't hold me upside down and shake out all my lunch money and then come back to say "that's enough". You know?<G>
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Old 08-04-2007, 13:03   #25
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Hellosailor,
The last line of your last post says it exactly. I've had that scam tried on me nearly every time I drove across the USA/Mexico border, at least going South.
The first time it worked so well, I almost didn't have enough gas money to get to my boat about 300 miles away! I learned a valuable lesson that day and now can see it coming a mile away. This FCC "fee" smells just like it.

Steve B.
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Old 08-04-2007, 13:39   #26
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Steve, it all goes back to Ronald Ray Gun, as he was called by some.

His idea was that those oddball citizens who needed special services, like the USCG, marine charts, radio licenses and all that stuff, should pay for them without burdening the other taxpayers. So he cut funding to the UCSG, hiked up FCC fees, started them selling spectrum allocations as "job number one" ahead of everything else, and ordered out the subcontracting or electronic charting, which was just getting started. (Which is why the folks at the Defense Hydrographic Agency ultimately jobbed it out ot MapTech and we all had to buy proprietary digital charts for so long.)

Or as the MC at one famous concert said "Ronald Raaayyy Gun, ZAP!"

Same b-grade washed up movie actor who gave us 55mph, which saved gas, but cost us way more in labor hours lost and highway fatalities (which actually increased when the speed limit went down from 65-70 to 55.)

Which is not to blame either party in particular--they're both good at convincing the public to do as Esau did, trade everything for the porridge.
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Old 09-04-2007, 17:23   #27
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"Same b-grade washed up movie actor who gave us 55mph"

Uhh, that was jimmy (the sweater) carter.

Steve (recently got a warning for 78 in a 50 at 4 AM) B.
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Old 09-04-2007, 19:27   #28
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Peanut farmer, b-grade actor...It's so hard to tell them apart. And kinda scary that the Navy would let guys run submarine reactors, who couldn't pronounce the word "NEW-KLEE-ERGH".<G>

Last week I was trapped on an airplane with an audiobook where the reader thought there was a space agency called "Nassaw". And that one made it past multiple editors into public sales, too. UGH.
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Old 10-04-2007, 03:11   #29
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Please; letís steer clear of political opinions & character assassinations.
State the facts, when/if they apply, and leave the mudslinging spin to other forums.
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Old 10-04-2007, 23:17   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor
Coot, I think that since the FCC "licenses" VHF as a free service (i.e. no individual license or fee) to recreational sailors, they obviously CAN extend that same price to all recreational sailors--regardless of where we sail.
That is not strictly accurate. Within the US, the FCC can make a rule that you don't need a radio license for your boat. They can't make that rule for Canada or Mexico because US law doesn't apply there.

The best FCC can do is issue you a license. Other countries accept those licenses under some treaty that is related to the ITU. Obviously, issuing a license to each boat costs more than saying "hey everybody, don't worry about it".

Of course, there are creative possibilities that probably nobody has thought of yet. For example, the federal documentation paper for the boat (issued by the coast guard) could automatically include a ship's station license and radiotelephone operators license for the owners. It's just a matter of getting congress to pass the right laws.

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Fine, figure out what it costs down to the cost of having someone sign the secretary's paycheck every month, and then tell me "this is what it costs, here's how many users we expect, so here's the fee".
My understanding is that the law requires exactly that analysis to set the fees.

Apparently, the fees were changed late last year. You could look up the date that the new fees went into effect, then look for the announcement in the federal register that preceeded the change. From the announcement in the federal register, you should be able to track down the original FCC document that set the new fees. The analysis you describe should be in that document. If it isn't, the document is still a good lead to track back to the analysis.

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Just don't hold me upside down and shake out all my lunch money and then come back to say "that's enough". You know?<G>
Yes, that makes sense. Actually, I wish the amount involved was on the order of lunch money -- I don't think I have ever spent $160 for lunch.
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