Every other ham in America probably knew this but me, but here goes, anyway:
My Ham Radio license will expire in February. I had not been paying much attention as this is a once a decade event. This week I got two nice letters, one from the ARRL and the other from W5YI VEC.
I get stuff from ARRL all the time so I set that one aside. The W5YI letter was in one of those offical looking brown envelopes that had "renew your license today" written all over it. So I opened it up and for $7.00 the nice folks at W5YI VEC will renew your (non-vanity)license for you. Thought that was a cool deal.
Then I got around to opening the "junk mail" from the ARRL. One letter was about "spectrum defense funding" and the other was a letter informing me my license was about to expire. Well, I aready knew that. So being the wise consumer that I am, I started looking for the fee the ARRL charges. Turns out the ARRL charges no fee for it's members to renew their licenses. Free. (sort of)
Then the letter went on to try to explain how to renew on the FCC web site. The last time I was there, it seemed the folks who invented the IRS-1040 form also worked on the FCC web site, which makes dealing with that about as much fun as paying taxes.
So I choose the ARRL route. For the cost of a stamp I get my ticket punched with no hassle.
Cool. Way to go ARRL. Just look for your letter, guys.