Vanities Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Questions

  1. Does this duplicate AE7Q.com?
  2. Chance of assignment? What does that mean?
  3. What is your data source? Why do you show applications newer than other sources?
  4. What cases are handled that other sites don't handle?
  5. What are all the possible outcomes predicted, and their meanings?
  6. There's a 5-way competition for this callsign, and some applicants have 20.2% chances, while others have 19.7% chances. Sometimes it changes when I refresh the page. Why?
  7. There's multi-way competition for this callsign, but not everyone has the same chances. Why?
  8. Are there any known problems with the predictions?
  9. What do I do with this data? How is this useful?
  10. The page footer says "applications as of" today but I don't see my application. Is the data complete?
  11. The page footer says "applications as of" a couple days ago. What is the latency of this data?
  12. Why does my application show that it is Awaiting payment, when I've already paid it?

Answers

  1. Does this duplicate AE7Q.com?

    There is some overlap, but my intention is to expand on what AE7Q offers for predictions. This site doesn't display the full history of the call or FRN like AE7Q does, so please go there for that data. This site just does predictions of pending applications. The prediction handles a few more cases than AE7Q, and produces chance of assignment, which is not something that AE7Q offers.

  2. Chance of assignment? What does that mean?

    The site simulates the randomized process of FCC assignments, running tens of thousands of times, and adding up the result. That is used to produce chances of assignment. It takes into account all outstanding applications at the time of running the simulation.

    Each application is not processed independently. The outcome of an application depends on the results of previous applications. The simulation handles that, producing the predicted chances for all valid applications and vanity requests.

  3. What is your data source? Why do you show applications newer than other sources?

    The site gets data from two sources: 1) the weekly and daily FCC data exports published on their website and ftp site; 2) reading (scraping) the FCC ULS website and gathering information about new and outstanding applications.

    The FCC data export is what most sites use to populate their data. Most sites don't attempt to gather additional data by reading the ULS website itself. Getting data directly from ULS allows us to get the following bits that we would otherwise not be able to access in a timely manner:

    1. Application entry timestamps, which are needed for correct application duplication predictions.
    2. Application payment status
    3. New applications in the "2 - Pending" state that are searchable on ULS but not yet in the FCC data export
    4. Fresh applications in the "1 - Submitted" state that are not even searchable on ULS

    However, scraping ULS data does have some limitations. It is possible that the site may miss some data due to performance issues with ULS responsivity and structure of ULS state changes. Scraping is limited to run outside of business hours in order to avoid bogging down. One should not rely on brand new data as canonical. See the below questions on data completeness and data latency.

  4. What cases are handled that other sites don't handle?

  5. What are all the possible outcomes predicted, and their meanings?

  6. There's a 5-way competition for this callsign, and some applicants have 20.2% chances, while others have 19.7% chances. Sometimes it changes when I refresh the page. Why?

    The simulation runs use random ordering and produce small shifts in the numerical output. If you refresh the page after a little while, you'll also see the numbers shift from a new simulation of the chances. Current output is accurate to approximately ±0.4%.

    Higher precision output is possible, but computation time would be prohibitive, as accuracy scales with the square of the number of iterations.

  7. There's multi-way competition for this callsign, but not everyone has the same chances. Why?

    The chances of prior assignments affect later assignments. So if an applicant had requested a callsign with two other competitors and each had no prior requests, the chances of assignment would be 33.3%. However, if the applicant had prior requests, either in the form of a previous application, or higher priority callsigns on the relevant application, the chances of assignment would be reduced, perhaps to a very low chance of 5% or less. How much the chances of assignment would be reduced could be figured by probability computations, but the simulation that is being run derives an approximation of the value using probabilistic methods.

    Try clicking on the applicant callsign with reduced chances to see what other applications or vanity requests they have that are also pending.

  8. Are there any known problems with the predictions?
    1. There may initially be missing data when scraping the FCC ULS website for application data. This should be resolved when the FCC data export catches up. See the questions about data completeness and data latency.

    2. The FCC has a rule about duplicate applications: it will not honor multiple paid applications from the same applicant with the same receipt date. FCC procedure is described by the rule in §97.19(d)(1):

      In the event that the Commission receives more than one application requesting a vanity call sign from an applicant on the same receipt day, the Commission will process only the first such application entered into the Universal Licensing System. Subsequent vanity call sign applications from that applicant with the same receipt date will not be accepted.

      The predictions for Duplicate applications follow this rule. However, the FCC does not always apply it consistently. There are a minority of cases where the prior application is dismissed, and the latter application is granted.

      If you have applications pending that have a predicted Duplicate outcome, consider withdrawing unneeded applications in order to have a more predictable result.

      Examples of this bogus duplicate ordering occurring:

      Receipt date Earlier application
      (dismissed)
      Later application
      (granted)
      Dismissal reason
      2022-02-28 0009930747 0009931092 Callsign requested not available
      2022-02-28 0009930088 0009931224 Callsign not active
      2022-02-14 0009910762,
      0009910110
      0009910887 Duplicate
      2021-11-22 0009804743 0009805322 Duplicate
      2021-10-14 0009753667 0009753669 Callsign not active
      2021-07-19 0009625713 0009626098 Duplicate
      2021-06-21 0009591664 0009592168 Duplicate
      2021-04-26 0009515839 0009516825 Duplicate
      2021-04-19 0009500806,
      0009501260
      0009501612 Duplicate
      2021-02-22 0009423554,
      0009423895
      0009424021 Duplicate
      2021-02-16 0009415206 0009415999 Duplicate

  9. What do I do with this data? How is this useful?

    Firstly, it's interesting to see if the chances are in your favor. By looking at many applications, you can see patterns and plan a more successful application. Second, if you have multiple applications pending, you can consider whether to withdraw some applications to improve your chances or to be certain of receiving a preferred callsign. Also you can add up the chances of assignment for each of your applications and if they reach 100%, you can choose to stop making further applications. You can also use it to look for callsigns that have a less than 100% chance of being assigned, and consider putting in an application for that callsign. Lastly, if your application shows no chance of success, you can choose to amend your application to re-file without paying a second application fee.

    In short, this tool can provide you more information to help you make an informed decision about your applications.

  10. The page footer says "applications as of" today but I don't see my application. Is the data complete?

    Periodically this site will scrape the FCC ULS data for amateur applications. To do this, the site makes requests for many ULS records seeking valid vanity applications that have been submitted to the FCC.

    This process can be very slow during business hours due to the load on the ULS website and it's design and bugs. Because of that, the site will only attempt to scrape the data outside of business hours. Please check back after business hours.

    Although care is taken to try to make scraped data complete, it is possible that records are missed. As such, consider data that has not yet made it into the FCC data export as preliminary. After several days, we should have the canonical data and predictions. See the data export schedule in the below answer.

  11. The page footer says "applications as of" a couple days ago. What is the latency of this data?

    This site uses the FCC data published on their website and ftp site. Unfortunately, the FCC doesn't publish data very quickly, and so there are times when this site is not able to calculate predictions for applications. This has to do with how the FCC batch jobs are scheduled. Additionally, due to federal holidays and the occasional operational SNAFU, the data may be even more out of date. This site checks for updates every two hours, so if the FCC does publish the data, it should be a couple hours at most before the site reflects it.

    The following table describes FCC exported data latency for typical weeks without federal holidays or FCC processing errors.

    Current
    calendar day (ET)
    Application receipts
    as of
    Application grants
    as of
    Application
    Latency
    Licenses
    as of
    License
    Latency
    Sunday* prior Friday prior Saturday 1 day prior Friday 2 days
    Sunday 5pm prior Friday prior Saturday 1 day prior Saturday 1 day
    Monday prior Friday prior Saturday 2 days prior Saturday 2 days
    Tuesday prior Friday prior Saturday 3 days Monday 1 day
    Wednesday Monday Tuesday 2 days Tuesday 1 day
    Thursday Tuesday Tuesday 2 days Wednesday 1 day
    Friday Wednesday Tuesday 2 days Thursday 1 day
    Saturday 5am Thursday Friday 2 days Friday 1 day
    Saturday 9am* Friday Saturday 0 days Friday 1 day

    * Not valid for predictions, since application grants are newer than license grants. This data will not be used for prediction runs. The previous run with valid data will continue to be shown.

    While this site does try to scrape FCC ULS to try to get the latest available data, it relies on the FCC data exports for the bulk of the data. Some of the data such as application grants, only comes from the FCC data export. During times that application grant records are newer than license grants, the data is in an inconsistent state and we are unable to perform valid prediction runs.

    Please remember to check the dates listed on page footers.

  12. Why does my application show that it is Awaiting payment, when I've already paid it?

    The FCC posts payments to applications after the close of the business day, weekdays between 5pm and 8pm Eastern time. Subsequent runs of the ULS scraping should pick up those payments.

    To manually verify these in ULS, see the application's "Admin" tab and look for "Payment Confirmed" under "History".

    Please note that payments in the FCC system on a weekend or holiday don't get reflected in the application history of ULS immediately, but usually show up by the end of the next business day.


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