The number of applications for new amateur radio licenses in the first three months of 2012 was 30% higher than for the same period last year, according to the ARRL. There were over 7500 new FCC licenses issued between January 1 and March 31, 2012, according to the League, significantly outpacing the 5800 new licenses issued in the first quarter of 2011. However, this is still below the first-quarter total for 2010, which was just over 8200. Nonetheless, the ranks of amateur radio licensees in the U.S. remains at an all-time high, with the total now exceeding 704,000. ARRL/VEC Manager Maria Sommer, AB1FM, also noted in the ARRL Letter that the number of license upgrades was also up this year versus last year, although not so dramatically, rising 6% from 2011. Technicians, Generals and Extras all are at all-time highs.