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Old 07-18-2012, 05:08 PM   #1
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Angry Ham Radio License Plates

Back in the old days, a ham radio plate in Georgia was "free", there was no "tag fee" in addition to the ad valorem tax applied to the vehicle. Everyone else paid a tag free of about $10 - what it costs to make the plate.

Then times got tough and politicians greedy, and somebody stuck up a 5 element yagi in some rich senators neighborhood so now instead of just a regular tag fee, we have to pay a "vanity plate fee" of $35 dollars, in addition to the regular plate fee of $20. $55 total.

And this is per year, not just the year the metal plate is made.

I would think it fair to pay a fee to make the plate, and then the regular tag fee there after. Perhaps the goverment doesn't think we hams are as valuable as we used to be.

I was wondering where all the ham radio tags had gone. Gone the way of the real QSL post card, I guess.

It just costs so much nobody wants to go there anymore. Do you still carry a ham radio plate?
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Old 07-18-2012, 09:43 PM   #2
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In Texas, a "Texas Radio Operator" plate is $2. Just enough to cover the cost of the plate. You can put the same number on all of your vehicles.
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Old 07-18-2012, 09:56 PM   #3
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For me it was a case of more negatives than positives with the call plates. Mainly, too many people seem to know where to go to get a home address and other information by use of the call sign. There just didn't seem any benefits to offset the decrease in home security or privacy, especially while on the road. I now use a simple 146.52 placard in the rear window and still manage to make some contacts on the road.
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Old 07-19-2012, 06:58 AM   #4
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Same deal in Maine "the gift that keeps on giving" (to the state) Two of the legislators were hams and I tried to get them to sponsor a bill for ham plates years ago guess they wanted the money more then the plates. I do see the point of security but they can get all the info they want on facebook!
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Old 07-19-2012, 07:31 AM   #5
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In Michigan I think there is a small fee (Like a few dollars or so, cost of stamping out the plate) for the years where we get new steel, if all we get is a renewal sticker we pay the standard registration fee, same as if w had a "Generic" plate, no extra charge.

But we only pay when we get new plates, and that's not often. Otherwise it is a standard reneway.

The folks who get vanity plates pay every year.

That ALMOST happened here when they passed the vanity plate law, but a sharp ham on a congrress critter's staff put the word out and the postmaster had to call U-Haul for an extra truck to delever a couple of days latter (not really but you get the idea) and the exception for callsign plates was quickly added to the bill.
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Old 07-19-2012, 01:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wa8yxm View Post
In Michigan I think there is a small fee (Like a few dollars or so, cost of stamping out the plate) for the years where we get new steel, if all we get is a renewal sticker we pay the standard registration fee, same as if w had a "Generic" plate, no extra charge.

But we only pay when we get new plates, and that's not often. Otherwise it is a standard reneway.

The folks who get vanity plates pay every year.

That ALMOST happened here when they passed the vanity plate law, but a sharp ham on a congrress critter's staff put the word out and the postmaster had to call U-Haul for an extra truck to delever a couple of days latter (not really but you get the idea) and the exception for callsign plates was quickly added to the bill.
Pretty much the same in Indiana !
My Son (WA9DDK) lives in Macon,Ga. and switched to straight plates when the extra fee came into play as did many others in the area.
He did however find a sign maker that doe's work for several of the "professional" agency's who made him some 4" reflective letter's which he applied to the lift gate of his Durango, they look pretty good and show up at a good distance.
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:24 AM   #7
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Me I'd have just displayed a slightly modified old plate (I'd use something to block the state name on the plate and other things so it's just the call that shows)

What you need to do is mount a letter writing campaign.

Now. one other thing.. The states are REQUIRED under the homeland security act to provide for an emergency communactions plan that includes Amateur radio.. Many may not know this but both the ARRL and some professional newsletters I've read (I am a retired police dispatcher, Yup, get paid for telling cops where to go, Does it even get better than that?) did cover that requirement.

When I applied for call sign plates I had to sign an agreement which said that if the county sheriff, or director of the state police (my ex-boss) ever calls upon me to assist in a communications emergency I will respond.. Has happened.. Once.

If nobody signs up for call sign plates.. Then the state can't require we hams respond, and thus can't generate such a plan and thus may loose millions in federal funds.. All over a relative small amount of fee income on the plates.

This might be a talking point (After full research of course) in the letters to your congress critters.
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:46 PM   #8
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I have old NN5I plates from Texas. The front one never had yearly stickers, and I have typically displayed a stickerless TX call plate above my current Florida plate. I'm assured this is legal, even though it says "Texas Radio Operator" on it. No cop has ever so much as mentioned it, so I'm comfortable with it.
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Old 07-21-2012, 12:14 PM   #9
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As to the line above about home security "It is too easy to get your address from the call" (QRZ, Ham Call Lookup, FCC, and many more web sites)

The address on my call is a shoebox at a strip mall (OK< so it's a Post office box but you get the idea). Not my house, At least most of the time (If I stop into the mall to pick up mail, visit Kroger, dollar store, auto parts place, THEN it's my house, otherwise,, House is .. Pictured on QRZ)
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W9WLS View Post
Pretty much the same in Indiana !
My Son (WA9DDK) lives in Macon,Ga. and switched to straight plates when the extra fee came into play as did many others in the area.
He did however find a sign maker that doe's work for several of the "professional" agency's who made him some 4" reflective letter's which he applied to the lift gate of his Durango, they look pretty good and show up at a good distance.
In Michigan for college plates "Renewal fee: $25 ($10 donation fee plus $15 personalized service fee) in addition to the annual
plate fee". For veterans and others it is "$15 personalized service fee, in addition to the annual plate fees".

Amatuer is $2 initial and free thereafter plus regular plate fees

--Novice operators not eligible for ham plates.
--The Michigan state law itself authorizes amateur radio operators to receive police frequencies in their vehicles.
A ham plate is NOT required, or even mentioned in the law.
The amateur radio license plate is purely optional.
-- For the application, see http://www.michigan.gov/documents/or...ro_24944_7.pdf
--For $7.00 you can get a graphic plate with a picture of the Mackinac Bridge (instead of the plain white lettering on blue background for $2.00)

I hope this helps.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:18 AM   #11
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My pickup looks a bit like a trawler I guess if some one can't figure out I'm a ham there not. I would not mind a ham tag but I'm not going to pay for it forever.
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:55 PM   #12
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In Michigan I think we pay $2.00 extra when we get a metal plate made special.. Others pay like 25 for a vanity plate.. The Vanity plate law, as written originally, would have done that to us as well.. However some senator had a ham radio operator for a secretary and as a result the lansing postmaster had to make a phone call.....

Something like this: Hello, U-haul.. Uh,, Somebody on the hill screwed up again, we'll need a couple of rental trucks for the day".

Do the same to your capitol city postmaster,, Both E-mail and paper mail, and burn up a few phone lines, and perhas an amendment can be drafted and passed.
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:19 AM   #13
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If I thought that would work I would gladly use my truck! I could not even get the two ham legislators in Maine to sponsor a bill and one was an old friend.
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:02 AM   #14
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I've got a ham radio license plate, as do most of the members of my club (the LaGrange Amateur Radio Club). LARC is a pretty active organization, and I guess it's part of the local culture that we all (mostly all) carry call-sign tags.

I'm also not as distressed by the surcharge (which, as noted, is pretty steep in Georgia). Over the years, I've grown generally weary of public funding for everyone's special interests and have moved more in favor of user fees -- if you want something from the government, fine, pay for it. I realize that the concept isn't a perfect match for ham radio license plates, but it's close enough that I don't get real worked up about paying the fee.

As to people knowing how to find me: my identity, location, interests, and general bio are so splattered over the internet that my ham radio license plate is the least of my problems. So, I don't get worked up about that either.

YMMV.
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:47 AM   #15
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Shoot with a street address one can find your house and your cars parked in the drive way on Google Earth! It's really hard to be anonymous any more.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:17 AM   #16
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And if you Google ham radio operators in your county, you get all the info that's on file with the FCC. It's impossible to keep your private info private anymore.
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:33 PM   #17
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Skip from LaGrange GA.

Hmmm? Why does that seem so familiar, me being right up the road in Fayetteville?
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:43 AM   #18
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BUD,, I carry a copy of that Michigan Law wrapped around my "Ticket" (Extra class licene for non ham-speakers on the forum). I've met law enforcement officers who did not understand that paragraph, and what's more I had ham plates on the car. (It's the license (HAM) not the Registration plate, that grants the privileged.

Knowledge of the law came in handy a time or two on the job. (Police dispatcher) when I'm sorry to say the supect was a ham, and yes, he had a scanner. so we had to use other means to direct our cars to where we suspected he was going.. Worked well too, he pulled in the drive right in front of the Blue Goose that pulled in behind him, Neatly out flanked, he surrendered.
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:58 PM   #19
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Indiana went from $4 to $8 over a few years THEN - dropped the whole fee. Apparently they are making enough off of vanity plates. Formally there was paper work to file at least six months in advance. Now it is just a simple matter of renewing the plate annually.
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:25 AM   #20
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Quote:
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Skip from LaGrange GA. Hmmm? Why does that seem so familiar, me being right up the road in Fayetteville?
Wade -- you're right, we're almost neighbors (50 miles or so). I'm not at the hamshack, so I can't check the the log, but maybe we've bumped into each other on the air? Also, I've worked from time to time on various small aspects of the Georgia QSO Party, and my club administers the "Worked All Georgia" Award. (Further information here: WAG.)

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