FCC License Info

SARA FCC License Info ~ last update: 14 Nov 2022

FCC Universal Licensing System [ULS]

The ULS is a database of the Federal Communications Commission [FCC] to track information on all radio licensing. In general, you will probably be interested in the 'Amateur Radio Service', but all the commercial stations are there as well. You can take some time and search till you find whatever you desire.

To get an 'Official Copy' of your Ham Radio License, follow these steps:

The FCC stopped sending paper copies of licenses for radio amateurs. However many wish to have a 'proper' copy to display. You can also use this database to check on your new license or upgrade status or to just 'search around' the database! The following is the process to get a copy of your license.

  1. Go to FCC ULS system.

  2. In the box on their form just type in your hamcall and hit 'enter'. Make sure you are searching "By Call Sign".

  3. When it finds your call it will be a form containing your call displayed as a 'hyperllink', then click the hyperlink for your call.

  4. At the top of the next form {near the top in small print}, click on the "Reference Copy" link.

  5. The ULS will then send your browser a PDF file that contains a reference copy of your license. Download and save that to your computer. Write down the downloaded file name and path.

  6. Find the file that was downloaded and print, email, etc. as you please.
    Hint: Rename the file so you can later locate and use it on your computer easily.

Hint: You an look for "any call sign" in the US system (not just amateur call). Also, change what you are searching on (say a "name"). Look at commercial AM and FM radio station information.

FCC Federal Registration Number System [FRN]

You MUST register with the FCC to obtain or change an amateur radio license. FRN systems were deployed into the Amateur Service on August 16, 1999. To conduct business with the FCC, you must register through the FCC COmission REgistration System [CORES]. You will be assigned a Federal Registration Number (FRN). This number will be used to uniquely identify you in all transactions with the FCC. This is required before you sit for any exam. This is to ensure your license is processed quickly and accurately through the FCC's ULS (Universal Licensing System). To do this you register through FCC CORES and be assigned a specific FRN. If you are already licensed, you have already registered ~ Check your license on the FCC database to obtain your current FRN.

View the FCC web page New Users guide to ULS for step by step instructions on the registration process. [GO to this guide to get a new FRN.] The FCC has taken great strides to make the ULS/FRN and the CORES easy to use and has devoted a section of their website to the Amateur Radio Service. A "valid e-mail" address is now a requirement (from 2021) to interface with the FCC on any issue. You should establish your method to meet this new requirement, we would suggest using a 'Gmail' or 'ARRL' based address (if already licensed) as these email reflectors can establish a long-term 'common' address at the FCC. The FCC is going 'Green' which means interfacing with them will become 'all electronic' and if your e-mail goes invalid then your license will be terminated. It is important that you keep this address updated, thus the hint to use a stable email reflector for this process. No need to change each possible email address you may have, just keep the reflector notified if/when a change is required.

You MUST bring your FRN and your registered email address with you to a test site before you are allowed to test or retest!

Vanity Callsign

The FCC allows you to request a 'vanity' callsign. If you wish to pursue a different call sign, you need to understand the rules required to apply. You can link to these sites for further information: