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I have a technician class license, and my license expires in March 2014. How do I renew my license?

I received a notification in the mail from W5YI-VEC informing me that I could renew my license through them. They included a form that I can fill out and mail to them, along with a $7.00 fee.

Is there a way to renew directly with the FCC? What are the advantages and disadvantages to renewing with a service like W5YI-VEC?

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    $\begingroup$ If you've worked with the online ULS system before, I'd recommend just using it. It's free and pretty straightforward - just log into ULS up to 90 days before your license expires and go through the renewal process. $\endgroup$ – Amber Nov 19 '13 at 8:23
  • $\begingroup$ The W5YI Group is a publishing/training company that markets Gordon West's license manuals (which are pretty good, if a little goofy). They are just trying to support people from "soup to nuts" and make a couple of bucks along the way. I would consider the ULS to be the simplest web site, but as @Amber mentioned, the ULS is pretty straightforward and IMO I'd save the 8USD and muddle through it. $\endgroup$ – WPrecht Dec 6 '13 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ If you've got your password, ULS is very easy. Once you forget the password though... Well, I've been jumping through hoops to reset it and failing, so I'll be filing via mailed paper this time around. $\endgroup$ – Brian Knoblauch Oct 19 '15 at 1:07
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The ARRL renewals page (http://www.arrl.org/renewals) says:

Amateur applications can be filed manually using paper forms or electronically over the Internet. Amateurs may electronically renew their FCC-issued licenses "on line" via the FCC web using FCC ULS . FCC permits on-line renewals at 90 days or less before a license will expire, and when the license has expired but is still within the two-year grace period for renewal. Licenses that have been expired for more than two years are not eligible for renewal or reinstatement. If you have a Vanity License renewal, remember to have your credit card accessible to pay the FCC Regulatory Fee.

Amateurs may also renew their licenses within 90 days before the license expiration date, or within the two-year license grace period after expiration, by using FCC Form 605 by mail to: FCC, 1270 Fairfield Rd, Gettysburg PA 17325-7245. Vanity Renewals will also need to submit FCC Payment Form 159 and the required FCC Regulatory Fee, along with the FCC Form 605. After completing both forms, you can mail your FCC Form 605, FCC Form 159 and your payment to: FCC, Wireless Bureau Applications, PO Box 358130, Pittsburgh, PA 15251-5130. Licenses that have been expired for more than two years are not eligible for renewal or reinstatement.

For a complete list of FCC filing instructions and filing fees go to the ARRL page Instructions for License Renewals or Changes.

Basically you can either use ULS online at http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/index.htm?job=home Or download form 605 (http://www.fcc.gov/forms#605) and file manually.

From what I can tell, the W5YI site just makes it easier to fill out the forms, and they file it for you. I can not determine any specific advantage to using their site. The only disadvantage I can discern is the additional fee for their service.

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Last time, almost ten years ago, I used W5YI's service to renew my license. I hate most computerized data base systems and the endless hoops you have to jump through to get them to work. The small fee I paid to W5YI back then was worth every penny to me in terms of avoided aggravation and frustration. You can bet that I will be using their services again in a few more months!

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