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ARALB Ham University

How to get a Paper License

Bill Bradley (WD6FON)



I am sometimes asked by our ARALB Ham University students how to get a paper license.  As you are aware, the FCC has suspended mailing out paper licenses for amateur radio operators.  So, I wrote to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.  I explained that the FCC requires us to post our license at our station and requires us to show our license to the FCC on demand.  Yet, since they stopped printing licenses, we cannot use a screen print of the information to use as proof.  We can print a ‘reference copy’ of our license, but that states that we cannot use that as proof of a license.  We are in a ‘Catch 22’ situation.

I received a reply from Mr. Wheeler’s office.  In typical government run around, I was directed to their webpage.  Needless to say, the information was utterly useless. However, I do have an ‘official copy’.  The paperwork I received with my paper license has instructions with it.  Here is what those instructions state.  Below is a direct quote:


How to Obtain an Official FCC License Copy


Download and Print License:  The licensee can log onto the FCC ULS License Manager System http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/ with their FRN and password to ‘Download the Electronic Authorization; of the official license.  On the ‘Download Authorizations’ page the license holder will add their call sign to the ‘Authorizations to Download’ and then click download.  The PDF of the license can be saved to a computer and printed later or the file can be opened and printed immediately.


Login and Set Paper Preferences:  The licensee can log into the FCC ULS License Manager System http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/ with their FRN and password and set their own paper authorization preferences for future mailings.  This option determines whether a user will receive paper authorizations (printed license and FRN information) from the FCC.  The license holder would select either YES or NO and then click SAVE.  By selecting YES, you will continue to receive paper authorizations printed and mailed by the FCC.  By selecting NO, you will not receive authorizations printed and mailed from the FCC.  This preference will affect all granted authorizations on this FRN.


Receive License via email:  When modifying, renewing or requesting a duplicate copy of the license, a licensee who already has an FCC Registration Number (FRN) and provides a valid e-mail address under “Applicant Information” while logged in to the ULS system will receive and official ULS-generated electronic authorization via e-mail. The action of adding a valid e-mail address into the FCC system can also be performed by a VEC filing new, upgraded, modified or renewed licenses on behalf of applicants.


Contact FCC:  Licensees may contact FCC Support via the web, by telephone (1-877-480-3201) or by mail to request paper licenses.  Please note that FCC recently stopped using distinctive paper stock to produce hard copy licenses and has been printing these on “standard, white recycled paper.”  The Bureau noted that the distinctive paper stock it had used was six times more expensive than the plain recycled paper it now uses.