There is a common misunderstanding of the FCC rules for expired licenses where the FCC Universal Licensing System (ULS) shows an amateur radio license expiration date as “expired” but the ULS “Status” line shows a status of “Active”.
The Status line in the ULS has no bearing on the status of your license, but refers to the status of your FCC internal record.
There are two scenarios where your license can show expired by date, but shows a status of “Active” in the ULS. In both scenarios the FCC has made their position clear. Your license is expired and you may not legally transmit on any amateur band/frequency.
Scenario #1 is where your license expiration date came, and went, and you have not filed for a renewal at all. The ULS will show you as “expired” by date, but the ULS internal FCC record is still active. The internal status will remain “Active” for a period of 2 years (the grace period) waiting for you to file a renewal, while holding your expired callsign in reserve for you so no one else can claim it during the 2 year grace period for renewals. If you file no renewal, after the 2 year grace period the ULS internal record status will change to “Expired” and your callsign will be released back to the pool for re-issue should someone else request it.
Scenario #2 is where your license expiration date came and went, and you did file for a renewal, but it has not yet been approved by the FCC. In this scenario, like above, the ULS will show you as “expired” by date, but the ULS internal FCC record is still active. In addition to that, your ULS record will also show a small box with “PA” just above your callsign, and the phrase “This license has pending applications:” will also appear.
Pending applications are just that… “Pending”. They are not approval from the FCC to continue to transmit on the amateur bands. Your license is still considered expired and transmitting on amateur bands is illegal.
Note: There have been reported cases where the FCC has held a license renewal application in a “Pending Application” status for over 4 years.
The FCC has made it clear that once your license expiration date is reached, and you have not been approved (yet) for a renewal, you are expired and transmissions on the amateur bands are prohibited.
FCC part 97
§ 97.21 (b)
A person whose amateur station license grant has expired may apply to the FCC for renewal of the license grant for another term during a 2 year filing grace period. The application must be received at the address specified above prior to the end of the grace period. Unless and until the license grant is renewed, no privileges in this part are conferred.
In other words, if the FCC has not actually finalized and approved your renewal, your license is expired if the expiration date has passed.
Please know that because of this, if HH detects your license is expired, we will be forced to temporarily suspend your HH extension(s). If your license becomes expired for more than 2 weeks, HH will be forced to terminate your extension and reclaim it.
This is not being done because we want to. It is being done because as an HH user, you have access to RF transmitters via the HH global system, and we are required to do our “due diligence” in making sure unlicensed users (including expired licensees) can not access those systems via our services.
Thank you for your understanding.