Thursday, October 24, 2013

Government Shutdown Impacts Widespread But Short-Lived

The two-and-a-half week shutdown of the U.S. federal government had widespread effects on hams, but most were temporary and resolved quickly once the government re-opened.

The FCC was effectively closed from October 1-16, and no applications for new licenses, license renewals or vanity call signs were processed. After the shutdown ended, the Commission said any filings due between October 1 and 6 would be extended to October 22, and due dates on filings due between October 7 and 16 would be extended by 16 days. 

Amateurs who filed renewal applications before the shutdown for licenses expiring during the above time period were permitted to continue operating, and the Universal Licensing System (ULS) began processing applications immediately after the government re-opened. Vanity call applications filed or received during the shutdown, as well as those filed between October 17 and 22, were treated as though all had been filed on October 22. Finally, the deadline for reply comments on the FCC's reassessment of RF exposure limits (ET Docket #s 03-137 & 13-84) was extended to November 18.

 The government shutdown also forced postponement of the long-planned K9W DXpedition to Wake Island. At press time, expedition leaders said they were working with the U.S. Air Force (which controls the island) to set new dates. 

In addition, organizers of the annual National Wildlife Refuge Week amateur radio special event from October 12-20 suspended the rule requiring that operations be conducted from the grounds of a national wildlife refuge.