Effort to reinstate Ham Plates
Maine is the only state without legislation for a motor vehicle ham radio callsign plate. It used to, and now efforts are afoot to reintroduce the measure in 2024.
This effort is to create legislation to treat the ham radio service similarly to other volunteer services whereas the plate fee is minimal. Currently a callsign plate as standard vanity plate is possible, but the vanity fee is $25+ per year on top of regular fees. This initiative proposes a one-time fee of $5.00 when initially obtaining the plates in addition to standard annual registration fees.
Considering the Maine House and Senate has repeatedly issued joint resolutions "on behalf of the people [they] represent, [for the] opportunity to recognize and acknowledge the accomplishments and public service provided by amateur radio operators," it seems a reasonable time to join every other state with this recognition.
[last page update N1LJK 20230907]
How Can I help?
Please sign the form so we may contact you when legislation is introduced. We will need your support, namely in reaching out to your representatives for their support.
If you have something to contribute, particularly data to support the creation of the proposal, or otherwise relevant information for this page, please contact us using the form below.
One time fee on top of regular DMV Fees
Must Provide Valid FCC Amateur Radio License
Uses Existing License Plate Template
In 2020 the Maine Amateur Radio Foundation (MARF) proposed a ham radio vanity plate as a fundraiser. The effort was abandoned for two reasons. Currently Maine has a moratorium on new specialty plates, and secondly it requires 4,000 active registrations. With less than 4,500 amateur operators in Maine it would have been a challenge. MARF has sanctioned this effort.
2021-2022 There were several places where this topic came up on various nets, and on social media.. It was noted that at least one representative in the Senate was an amateur radio operator.
March 2023, Senator Tipping (N1YIQ) from District 8 was contacted for assistance in determining what happened to the original legislation on Maine ham plates (see old legislation below). The Secretary of State's office responded with "It used to be a regular plate with their call numbers on them but it was eventually folded into the vanity plate law."
April 2023, Senator Tipping liked the idea of this initiative and indicated that "We're well past the deadline for submitting new legislation for this session," and that the " most likely timeline would be submitting it for the next Legislature, so in December of 2024"
[path of legislation in Maine]
July 2024, Publicity effort begins and Senator Tipping is reaching out to determine exact timeline and whether presiding officers support the bill for 2024.
Current efforts are to gather community support, and data to support the program.
In fall of 2023 it is hoped a bill can be drafted to submit for the next legislative session
October 2023 - Legislative Council meet to see what bills get in for upcoming session
- MVR-17 Emergency Medical Services Plates Application,example of EMS plate application
Who is behind this effort? Why K1LX?
Short Answer: You hopefully!
Long Answer: In 2020 N1LJK considered putting their callsign on their license plate and was surprised to find out Maine had no such program. Out of frustration this effort was born. After hearing of MARFs (abandoned) effort and some other chatter on plates on nets, social media, and in person, N1LJK reached out to Senator Tipping who is also and amateur radio operator to ask what happened to the previous legislation (notes above) and consequentially gained their support for this proposal.
So why K1LX? On the ARRL list of plates, Maine had a (old/bad) link to the MARF effort which was reposted on the K1LX website. As a director/member of the club and with their permission N1LJK utilized this website as a place to host this information, rather than just removing the link which has since been updated.
I am a Veteran, will I be able to get my callsign on my plate?
Hopefully. This is all dependent on support in the legislature, but it appears that it could go two routes. One is that in simplest form your vanity fee would be waived when imprinting the callsign on existing license plate styles. This wouldn't exclude other fees for specialty vanity plates to support various causes such as Breast Cancer Awareness. The other direction it could go would be to create a new plate style which could be as simple as the current passenger plate with "Amateur Radio" replacing "Vacation Land." It could also be an entire new graphical radio style of vanity plate which would depend completely on how much support this gets in the house. In the second case we'd propose it to encompass the simpler form for veterans or any other public service such as fire/EMS. Senator Tipping is aware of the dilemma.