The ARRL reports that
The Anchorage VEC — one of 14 Volunteer Examiner Coordinators in the US — asked the Commission to give permanent credit to radio amateurs for examination elements they have successfully passed. This would, in effect, create a license exam credit that would be valid throughout an amateurs’ lifetime, never expiring.
I’m not exactly sure of the reasoning behind this, but it seems to me that instead of granting a lifetime credit, we should be going the other direction and asking for re-examination.
Now, I know that the logistics of doing this might be too cumbersome, so I’m not seriously proposing this, but the lifetime credit just doesn’t make sense to me. Just because someone passed a test at some point doesn’t mean that he or she could pass it again. That’s especially true for those who have been out of the hobby for some time (which they would have to be if they’d let their license expire and then not even renew during the two-year grace period).
I’m not sure when they changed the rule, or if they ever enforced the rule, but back in the old days, to renew your license you had to provide proof that you were active by producing your station log if asked. Showing that you’re active doesn’t necessarily prove that you could still pass a test, but it does show continuing involvement. I kind of like having that as a requirement for license renewal.
Perhaps that’s another responsibility that could be given to VECs. In addition to administering the tests, they could be tasked with ensuring that an amateur has been active before allowing a license renewal. And those that don’t qualify for a renewal based on activity would be required to take an examination.
I know this is still a partly-baked idea, but what do you think?